Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
#BBN

Targeting

Recommended Posts

All you referees on the board and those who are Friday night bleacher referees, my question, is it possible to be called for targeting as you are running the football, and a defensive player is approaching you to make a tackle? 

I’ve seen it called, and then I’ve talked with other people that sees the other side of it too. As a running back, on contact most are taught to lower their head and shoulder pads and make the defensive player pay for trying to tackle you.

I would like to hear other people’s thoughts and comments on this.

I understand the rule and don’t have anything against it because I know it is mainly for safety, but I believe it needs to be looked at more, into if it was on purpose or if it was a bang bang play and someone turned/lowered at the last second and it could not be avoided!! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My opinion is this. The way to get rid of these kind of hits is to give everyone a single bar facemask, a mouthpiece and a pair of eye goggles.  Most of us grew up playing tackle football in our yard or the local field. We played without any pads or helmet at all. We would sometimes get a busted lip and cuts and scratches. That doesn't make us tougher but we did learn to tackle without lowering our head and exposing our face and head. Players today rarely play pick up football with friends in their yard or the local field. It is all organized with pads and helmets thus they never learn how to play the game without a helmet on and therefore the helmet becomes part of their tackling habit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to the NFHS, targeting is defined as the act of taking aim and INTIATING contact to an opponent ABOVE the shoulders with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow, or shoulders. If it fits in this box IT IS TARGETING.

That is the guideline we are given. Personally as an official, since there is no ejection rule in HS, I would rather err on the side of caution and make a targeting call on a bang bang play than keep it in my pocket. I am trying to recall if we are instructed as an association at the high school level to do this as a mechanic, but in my college association, if you're not sure, call it anyway and the video will sort it out before next Saturday.19 times out of 20, if it's a targeting call, we get it right. These actions are not football moves but, attempts to injure and maim. You, me or anybody else out there does not know a player intent when making a hit, so whether it was on purpose or not is irrelevant. I am all for a player overpowering another one and showing his ability, but not at the expense of another player's long term health and wellness if we can prevent it. It is football and things do happen that we will never be able to ultimately prevent. As officials, we are charged with protecting the players and managing a very fast paced, physical and emotional game while and upholding the rules provided to us, in that order.

Now for your specific example, I have seen ball carriers lower their head and shoulders my entire life. I have seen the running styles also evolve over the years to avoid contact instead of "running through someone". Here is my philosophy though, if I can identify the main ball carriers for a team and watch how they run, I can see their tendencies. Do they avoid contact? If they initiate, are they trying to extend the play, or punish the defender? What part of their body are they leading with? All of those draw my eye to keep a closer eye on a particular player. Some plays are more obvious than others, and will happen right in your lap. I like many other officials I have spoken with are having a tough time reprogramming our brains and eyes on what would have been just a hard nosed play 10 years ago to what is now a foul. If I see a kid running with his head down and not commit a foul on that particular play, I do some preventive officiating and speak with the kid and the coach during the dead ball period to try to avoid him even risking injury, much less the foul itself.

It is going to take years and cycles of kids to adapt to the new rules by players, coaches teaching the game and officials who are in a position to teach and apply the rules correctly. The game of football is under attack by the United States of the Offended to change our ways and make the game safer by removing the types of hits that lead to long term head trauma, and we must do it to preserve the game we all love so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have admitted on here before some of these calls are the hardest for me to make in todays game.  That being said, yes it can be called on a ball carrier.  I played with one who could have been flagged a few times for this type of foul when he ran the ball because he would use his helmet to punish a DB who wanted to take him on from time to time.   It is still a very uncommon foul though by a ball carrier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×