From: "Rich Kollen" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thursday, October 20, 2011
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
2011 WEEKLY BULLETIN #8
Over the past few years, the rules committee has continued to address issues of player safety. With the current speed of the game, dangerous hits need to be reduced. Targeting, helmet-to-helmet hits and hits on defenseless players are the new buzzwords in football. These principles were all designed to make the game safer. I have been repeatedly asked questions on our philosophy with these rules. I thought I would make sure we all know the terms, so we know how to officiate these types of dangerous hits.
Defenseless player: Generally, a defenseless player is one who has NOT had the opportunity to prepare himself to receive the hit. Some examples are: a passer in the act of or just after throwing a pass, a receiver whose focus is on catching a pass, a kicker in the act of or just after kicking a ball, a kick returner whose focus is on catching or recovering a kick in the air, a player on the ground after a play, and a player obviously out of the play. Remember that defenseless players need extra protection, so any hit is suspect. (See Rule 2-27-14)
Targeting: If a player hits an opponent anywhere with the crown of his helmet, it is considered Òtargeting.Ó (See Rule 9-1-3) Further it is also targeting if a player hits a defenseless opponent in the head or neck area with an arm, elbow, shoulder or any part of his helmet.
Unnecessary roughness: Any action beyond normal football acts, such as picking up a runner and slamming him to the ground. Most hits against defenseless players are considered to be unnecessary roughness.
Getting consistency among officials from one week to the next is our ultimate goal.
On a kickoff, the Head Linesman had a flag for the formation of a wedge. The Referee should be primary on this call. The Line Judge and Head Linesman should be backups to the Referee. More importantly, please review Rule 6-1-10. Formation of a wedge is not illegal when the kick is from an obvious onside kick formation. In addition, there is no foul if the play results in a touchback. A crew incorrectly enforced a wedge formation penalty from the 20-yard line after a touchback. The offense took over 1st and 10 on their own 10.
Due to the 10-second runoff rule, we have to make a change to our philosophy on illegal substitution on the defense. If the defense (NOT the offense) is attempting to get the 12th player off of the field, but his next step doesnÕt take him out of bounds at the snap, enforce as a live ball foul. If the defense has 12 men in formation at a time that the snap is imminent, please continue to enforce this as a dead-ball foul. Remember, whether live ball or dead ball, it is just a 5-yard penalty this year.
Please discuss in your pregame about covering the end line on a free kick. During a recent Division I game, the receivers muffed a free kick going into the end zone. On the play, the ball was alive in the end zone and a member of the kicking team stepped on the end line before returning inbounds, recovering the kick, and being awarded a touchdown. The Referee, Head Linesman or Line Judge need to see this type of play and react to it. Remember that a kicker cannot leave the field on his own, and return inbounds.
There have been a couple of ejections for helmet-to-helmet contact. Remember, if a runner lowers his head to take on a defender, that is football. When you are considering ejecting any individual, please remember the following: a defender leaving his feet to deliver a hit or any action intended to injure an opponent calls for an ejection.
I reviewed video of a few calls by the Umpires for hands-to-the-face. I support the calls; however, I urge Referees and Umpires to make these fouls BIG. A quick rub of the facemask does not call for a penalty. Remember to note whether the hands to the face was either dangerous, or created an advantage for the offender. If not, no foul.
I watched a video in which both the Umpire and Referee signaled to each other that they had 11 in the formation. However, the video clearly showed 12 players. Please only signal after youÕve made an actual count of your team. Don't signal without counting. We must count on each play. With the hurry-up offenses, substitution fouls are becoming more common.
In the old days, we were taught to sell a TD signal on tight plays at the goal line. I understand that we have been moving toward a more relaxed signal in general. However, we still must pinch in and sell the tight calls with an emphatic touchdown signal.
More and more teams are huddling on the sideline before the start of a new series. I understand that this may be a "huddle" with more than 11 players. LetÕs use common sense. This activity is not a problem. That said, donÕt hold up the ready for them. In addition, last week, we had a defensive player attempt to enter the huddle. This needs to be stopped. Use common sense and good preventive officiating. Move the defensive player away from the area.
I understand that we like to get the ball on a line for a new series. However, many coaches and fans do not understand that. So, when youÕre in a heated game, and a coach demands a measurement (even though you know it is either short or beyond the line to gain because it is short or beyond the yard line), letÕs have a PR measurement. This is simply managing the game.
The following is from a Referee's report from last week: (Eric, Jeremee and Robert, all younger) make me optimistic about the future of officiating in SCCFOA. These types of comments really help to emphasize the effectiveness of our training programs.
When a difficult situation develops for which you are not prepared, two thoughts will pass through your mind: "This is a chance to screw this up" or "this is a chance to step up and do my best" Choose the right approach.
Director of Football Operations
Southern California Football Association