Some rules have become silly

mlough@macon.comSeptember 12, 2012 

Decision-makers tend to befuddle us more often than not.

And our pals in football are at it again.

We’re a few weeks into the high school, college and pro football seasons, and we’ve already seen the latest silliness way, way too much.

A player’s helmet comes off during a play, through the simple physicality of a physical sport, and he must sit a play.

Did people walk out of a meeting high-fiving and thinking that was a health-saving move?

The play is dead, the player puts his helmet back on, and let’s go play. If the ref wants to take a quick equipment check and finds a problem that can’t be fixed in five seconds, fine.

And yank off the helmet because they’re a self-involved dingbat? Flag them and make those clowns sit for five plays. But otherwise, this is silly.

When the right team loses a game from it, we’ll see a change.

The kickoff rules are no good. Go back and see how many of the “controversial” hits come on kickoffs. It seems like almost none, compared to scrimmage plays.

Breaking up the wedge blocking is fine. But the kickoff is a huge part of the game that amazingly seems to have few injuries. Isn’t the returner looking straight ahead at what’s approaching him?

Why they dumped the halo around punt returners instead is what baffles me. The returner is much more wide open for a beatdown.

I still can’t figure out why the 5-yard facemask was eliminated.

A players fingertip grazing a bolted-in-the-helmet part of the facemask is as bad as if another player is the recipient of a Nick Fairley? That makes no sense.

The helmet-to-helmet rule is well-intentioned and certainly worthy of focus from officials, but it also needs reworking. Badly and soon. A defender can do the right thing and still get the flag.

A receiver goes up for a pass and a safety lowers his body a little bit for the proper form to drive a shoulder into a midsection, but the receiver curls up as he comes down and the helmets crash into each other.

Who gets the flag?

Facemasks will meet facemasks. Helmets will meet helmets. Innocently.

It sure seems as if about 90 percent of the these flags we see don’t seem justified, and maybe 40 percent are downright ridiculous.

If you leave your feet to clock a quarterback or flip a receiver? Boom, 15 yards. Few would have any problem with that, when the defender goes out of his way to inflict and getting called on it. Other than that, it’s silly.

I’ve watched enough of the James Harrison and Dunta Robinson hits, to name a few, that have gotten them flagged and fined, and, again, about 60 percent of those calls seem way off.

The celebration rule still reigns supreme among annoying changes.

It should be simple: showboating, choreographed showboating or some massive thing that lasts more than 10 or 15 seconds before players start moving to the sideline, sure, a flag.

But when it’s simple and clear enthusiasm and joy? Come on, give the players a few seconds and then start suggesting that they go celebrate with the rest of their teammates.

Take out the garbage, not the pure emotion.

And let’s take out some of the silliness, enforce the logical, keep an eye out on the questionable and not get too cute with almost everything.

Contact Michael A. Lough at 744-4626 or

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