Yesterday the NCAA Football Rules Committee proposed a change that would penalize the offense for snapping the ball within the first ten seconds of the play clock, allowing the defense time to substitute on every play.
Leatherheads: Concerned that fancy-pants spread offenses were going to ruin college football, the NCAA rules committee proposed to put restrictor plates on the speed of play.
Teams that violate the new rule would be hit with a "delay of game" penalty, which seems counterintuitive. Moronic even.
The new edict is being made in the interest of "player safety" after loud and persistent protests by hidebound traditional coaches like Nick Saban and Brett Bielema of the SEC, who have long contended that hurry-up, no-huddle offenses propose a danger to the game.
Having trouble stopping Auburn, Texas A&M, and Missouri on the field, they've been lobbying for a rules change to make the college game safer for smashmouth-style football.
It doesn't seem right to try and legislate a strategy out of the game merely because you can't beat it. 320-lb. offensive tackles and 5-star linebackers cause injuries, but Saban isn't proposing to outlaw them. Nor is he proposing to curtail out-of-conference games with Georgia State and Furman, one-sided slugfests that decimate the roster of the undermanned visitors.
The new rule sounds like slowdown teams in college basketball trying to outlaw the fast break, or baseball teams with no speed trying to ban the stolen base.
Using numbers from 2012, Dave Bartoo of the College Football Matrix researched injuries of 15 fast-paced teams (Baylor, Oregon, Oklahoma) versus the ones with ball control, deliberate offenses (Alabama, Michigan, USC) and he concluded the fast-paced teams suffered significantly lower rates of injury, but his study didn't test the injury rates of their opponents, which is closer to the intent of the new proposed rule.
Still, if the change goes through, the new rule seems anti-competitive and detrimental to the health of the game, in that it singles out one style of offense and discourages speed, explosiveness and innovation. The spread era has made college football more entertaining and exciting. Scoring is up everywhere, including the SEC.
The hurry-up spread has been a great equalizer that's allowed teams like Oregon to employ fast, speedy players like LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas, befuddle the big guys with misdirection and a furious pace.
The chairman of the Rules Committee is Air Force Coach Troy Calhoun, a Mountain West school that still runs the Wishbone.
What's the story, Troy? In a prepared statement he said, "As the average number of plays per game has increased, this issue has been discussed with greater frequency by the committee in recent years, and we felt like it was time to act in the interests of protecting our student-athletes."
That makes sense, if protecting student-athletes means keeping fat, slow guys from getting tired having to chase Brett Hundley and Marcus Mariota.
A slowdown rule seems like a step backward in the evolution of the game.
If Saban and his cohorts had been around in the 1920s, they would have clamored to outlaw the forward pass and instituted rules to preserve the flying wedge.
Player safety? Since when is getting gassed a safety issue? I suppose we should ban most track events and basketball altogether.
Common sense tells you that by slowing down the game you give the defense time to dig in their heels and get ready to smash someone. The hurry-up lessens the chance of that. When the defense is out of position you have less chance of contact and thereby less chance of injury.
I agree with most people here that it's just a move by Nick Saban and the SEC to protect their dominance with their 320lb fat boys. I also agree with the others that watching RBs slamming into 1,200lb walls all game for a 6-3 win is boring. Give me the speed game with a 49-45 score.
Plain and simple; the hurry-up is safer and much more fun to watch. Save this stupid rule for the NFL.
"The new rule sounds like slowdown teams in college basketball trying to outlaw the fast break, or baseball teams with no speed trying to ban the stolen base". Perfect!!! I was prepared for a long winded tirade, however, everyone else has said it for me and with a higher degree of eloquence. Speechless........Go Ducks WTD
I guess I don't understand. How are players getting injured? There are plenty of sports where teams run a lot more than football. In most football games, a team runs a play for 4-5 seconds, then stand and walk around, huddle up, waddle to the LOS and wait for a long snap count, then off they go for 5 seconds again. Does having to jog constantly injure these players against the uptempo? If you are hurt, just fall down and wait for the trainers to show up.
If they are arguing that teams run too many plays during the game, just eliminate stopping the clock after first downs, problem solved, easy fix.
Former Eugene Register-Guard columnist George Schroeder wrote a column for USA Today online this afternoon and interviewed several coaches, including Rich Rodriguez, Art Briles and Kevin Sumlin.
"The proposal has been forwarded to the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to consider it March 6. If approved, the change would take effect for the 2014 season. Under NCAA rules, it is an off year for rules changes, meaning proposals can only be made if player safety is the issue."
Good ol' Troy doing God's work (Saban). The third biggest proponent of this farce is Bielema of Arkansas who got his ass waxed by Satan (Chip Kelly) himself. All three of these coaches have plays per game in somewhere from the 120Th lowest to the 140 th lowest in the NCAA. Why doesn't Saban just get his guys in shape. Might help him against Auburn. Actually it wouldn't have helped this year at all. It was Saban's brain fart that allowed him to try an uber field goal that was returned for a touchdown for the loss of the SEC and probably NCAA championship. It would be better to put in a new NCAA rule that the Saban's of the world learn the rules to football before trying to inflict new ones on the people who have created the most exciting game in America and are filling stadiums across America with an exciting brand of football.
The worst consequence of this is that, say your team is down 2 touchdowns with 3 min to go. It would now be a penalty to play fast enough to win the game - i.e., you couldn't run the no huddle offense and strategically try to save time by playing fast. I appreciate that the proposed rule wouldn't apply under 2 minutes, but that's so stupid and arbitrary it makes me sick. So if there's 2:04 on the clock, we have to wait 10 seconds to snap the damn ball? Ridiculous.
If this passes, I hope beyond hope that it comes back to bite Saban and Bielema in the ass. I hope they are down a score with little time left, and this rule either forces them to run out of wasted time, or they get a damning "delay of game" penalty that costs them the game. I hope they choke on their own bullshit.
Pardon my language, but this is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Player safety has nothing to do with this rule.
Thank you Stewart Mandel:
Yeah, heaven forbid that Saban and his cronies should have to rely on real live conditioning of their DTs, instead of just making sure they eat 2lbs of raw beef and 3lbs of pasta at the evening meal, and that they can run for 10 strides at a time.
A very telling moment took place during the replay of Auburn's FG runback against the tide when the announcer said that Saban's "fat guys" on the field had NO CHANCE to catch Chris Davis on the return.
"There's no athletes on the field for Alabama, they got all fat guys."
I was stunned when he said it, because we all know they're "fat guys" that do nothing but become immovable objects on the line, but to hear an SEC announcer say it on National TV was gratifying.
@5:28 of this video:
Buck up Nicky-boy. Getcha some athletes, and dump the fat guys. It will be better for the game AND the players.
If you aren't allowed to use those first 10 seconds how could they still be counted as part of the "play clock?" There would have to be a ten second "no play clock"
"Delay of game" IS moronic for playing fast. "Substitution interference" makes more sense. 40 seconds is long enough for 3 different motions and sets which would probably be more confusing. Everyone standing up and looking at the sideline for a new call is disconcerting to a defense, too. They won't change the rule, but there would still be plenty the O could do to confuse the D into blown coverage.
Hidebound - perfect word. "...to make the college game safer for smashmouth-style football." Oxymoronic.
The ole ball coach can't change, I guess. He has The Process to preserve, after all. Thing is, even the SEC is uptempo-ing.
As for uptempo opponents' injuries, there is evidence that fake injuries are on the rise.
Sabin and Bielema perceive a potential threat to SEC supremacy so they extinguish it. Simple as that.
This really will be a litmus test to just how m uch power Nick Saban wields. It is blatantly tilted towards his vision of how the game should be played, and cloaking it under the guise of "player safety" is ridiculous. It really makes me see Saban as a little kid out riding bikes with his older brother and crying, "wait up" when his bro gets going too fast. Embarrassment aside though, Saban doesn't care how the rule reflects on his 5 star athletes; can't stay up with the Oregon kids, he wants the game his way.
This is so aggravating. Not just because it targets teams like Oregon and tilts the playing field to the lumbering giants, but it's truly anti-competitive. Of COURSE if it benefits the powers that be then it will be implemented.
@Coastal Duck The blatant, cynical manipulation of the rules committee by Saban and Bielema (who were both represented at the meeting) is so anti-competitive and unsportsmanlike that petitions are circulating and up-tempo coaches are uniting in opposition, speaking out in the press. There's still hope that the Oversight panel would put an end to it on March 6.
@RodWirtz Agree, Rod. I'd argue that the up-tempo teams have significantly improved players safety by forcing teams to get in better condition.
@hoboduck Great discussion here on the proposed rule change, and the opposition to it has gathered a lot momentum over the last few days. Scott Frost sent a satirical Tweet, stating that the PGA was considering reducing rounds to 14 holes to reduce the potential of fans being injured by errant golf balls.
@Glenn_H Glenn, it's strictly a pretext, in my opinion. Saban, Beilema don't like the no-huddle style because it lessens the competitive advantage of the traditional pro-style, defensive-oriented teams they like to build.
@Dale Newton I found it curious that Oregon or Mark Helfrich isn't mentioned once in the article. The most successful high speed offense around seems to be irrelevant. Why isn't MH speaking out about this atrocity?
@sozeduck College football is more popular than ever, and one reason is the variety of entertaining offenses. This proposed change makes those SEC coaches look like whiny cowards, particularly because they're hiding behind "player safety" as a justification.
@Greenbaaron Excellent point.
@Greenbaaron It won't make players safer, it just gives Saban and Bielema the opportunity to rotate in a fresh set of 300-pound defensive linemen.
@Raygun383 Sounds like Tammany Hall politics at its finest.
@Raygun383 If the rules are tilted to favor one style of football, it's becomes a less interesting, less innovative and less entertaining game.
@Ilovemyducks And a special horn that heralds "you may now snap and start the play!"
@DrakeMallard The proposed change still has to be reviewed by the oversight panel, so there's time for fans and a greater variety of coaches to be heard from. Offense sells tickets, jerseys, posters and boosts television ratings.
@rgyle Can you imagine the lobbying and ref-working Saban would resort to if this rule doesn't pass and he has to face a no-huddle spread team in the playoffs?
@duckified Df, the weird part is, hurry-up offenses have been around for 50 years. The huddle didn't come to football until 1892, when quarterback Paul Hubbard of Gallaudet University, a school for the deaf, used one to signal plays in sign language to the rest of his team.
@Ducko30 It's the deceitful, disingenuous way this proposal came about that really makes it distasteful. It smacks of a backroom deal.
@goducks58 Lots of coaches are lining up to oppose the change, so it may be averted. I'd postulate that no-huddle teams REDUCE injuries, because their prevalence demands that players be better conditioned.