Bush's non-targeting call

Submitted by Da Fino on September 3rd, 2017 at 1:35 PM

Bush had a moster game yesterday, but that second play could've sent him walking and could've (though not necessarily would've) changed the tone of the game.  For our sake, I'm glad they let it go (as well as Florida's non-targeting call because they were so similar).  But we've seen lesser hits get called for targeting so I'm curious if the energy of opening the season and the fact that it was play#2 factored into the refs' decision-making.  Of if it really was not targeting even though it was helmet-to-helmet.



September 3rd, 2017 at 1:38 PM ^

i remember when both the play of Bush's and the forida player , i wondered what the call was going to be after they said  there were penalty flags . Neither play was egregious and they both happened along the sideline .


September 3rd, 2017 at 1:41 PM ^

That was a stupid play by bush and he shoulda been kicked out. I was happy that thy didn't kick out the Florida player since they kept bush in even tho both shoulda been ejected. With that said bush is a beast played the greatest game I've ever seen a linebacker play in a long time. Just gotta stop with these stupid penalties no need for it man


September 3rd, 2017 at 1:54 PM ^

Should've been kicked out? I don't know about that. It was a personal foul for a late hit, I don't argue that, but I didn't see any intent or indication of targeting. We agree that lesser hits have been misidentified as targeting, but that was called accurately to my interpretation of the rule. The review corrected the targeting call.

If I understand the rule, it is supposed to be to prevent forceable contact in the head and neck area when a player tackles too high and leads with the crown of his helmet or intentionally aims their upper body at the head and neck of the player being tackled. I'm not sure I saw the level of intent or the crown of the helmet leading in the contact. In addition, and I know this isn't part of the rule, when the ballcarrier has been hit by another player and is in the process of going to the ground then some sort of allowance should be given to what is defined as a "high hit" to the head and neck area. Bush was high, but it was not blatant in my opinion. The judgement aspect by the official is way too large in this rule for my comfort. I think there needs to be more criteria for what is an actual targeting call.

From a fans perspective, second play of the game, throwing him out for a borderline play would have been tough to swallow. Emotions are running high. I don't think the ref thought about that aspect when making either of the targeting calls.

As hard as this is for me to say, I think the officials got both potential targeting calls correct yesterday. We know they couldn't get an "ineligible player downfield" penalty correct though.


September 3rd, 2017 at 3:19 PM ^

I don't even think it was a late hit...he hit him literally a fraction of a second and less than a half of a stride after he went out of bounds. It appears like he ran in front of the player and he didn't lounge. Looked bad, and I would have understood if he was ejected, however, I thought the penalty was borderline. 

The targeting rule should simply be that if you can't call it as targeting in a five second window of review, then it isn't targeting. It should be so obvious that you don't need a second look. So rediculous how they disect htese plays now.


September 3rd, 2017 at 5:58 PM ^

^ Exactly.  Bush committed while he was still in bounds. 

There's no way he could have backed off at that point. 

I disagreed with announcers that 'Clearly' he hit him out of bounds' They have to give tackler a half step.  Next time runner fakes and goes down the field and coaches bitching at him for not hitting him.

It was closer to being 'targeting' than 'hit out of bounds' in my opinion. 

Bush whacked 'what's his face' in the Sparty game last year.  He has to watch it a little bit. Frye?

Chuck Norris

September 3rd, 2017 at 6:29 PM ^

By rule, it was targeting. Bush hit him helmet-to-helmet while he was "defenseless". A player becomes defenseless the instant they step out of bounds.

My hope is that this shows that the refs are taking intent into account, and only ejecting players for egregious acts. Although that does add another layer of subjectivity.

Woodstock Wolverine

September 3rd, 2017 at 1:42 PM ^

Are we talking about targeting bush? Giggity.

In all seriousness though, very lucky he didn't get ejected. He was all over the field and we would have missed him. Maybe best defensive player yesterday.


September 3rd, 2017 at 1:43 PM ^

There needs to be a two tier system for targeting.

Neither play in question yesterday was egregious but both were worse than 75% of the plays that do get called as targeting.

There should be targeting as a result of incidental tackling motion - 15 yards

And targeting with intent (i.e. Launching or obvious cheap shot). 15 yards plus ejection


September 3rd, 2017 at 1:56 PM ^

This seems like a good place to adapt the yellow card/red card idea from soccer.

Incidental contact with the helmet of the kind we saw yesterday/reckless conduct = yellow card. Two of them in a game merits an ejection. Violent conduct/leading with the crown of the helmet//intent to injure = red card and immediate ejection.

Could even do some kind of accumulation thing where four yellows in a season means a player has to sit the following game.


September 3rd, 2017 at 3:00 PM ^

Targeting should only be called only if a player is killed. This shit is getting rediculous. Bush grazed the guy with his shoulder pad for christ sake. I think they should put roll cages in all vehicles and post the legal speed limit to 25 mph. I also think that anything that is remotely dangerous should be banned also. Just ban football and we can watch fuckin soccer at the big house. Well my day is ruined. How the hell am I going to finish cutting my wood without using a chainsaw because it is just to dangerous. That handsaw is going to take forever. Oh well I should be safe. When I played hockey as a kid we threw fists and now they have girls playing and your kicked out of the game for a fight. I am sorry but this Targeting shit and defenseless player nonsense is rediculous. What is a defenseless player.......He didn't bring his gack to the huddle. I don't want to watch ballerina's out there. I watch football to watch guys flat out smash the other team. The rules were fine thirty years ago but that was before the wussification started.

The whole idea of the game is targeting. You target the guy to tackle him. You target the guy to pass the ball to him. I really don't get it. Well yes I do. This shit all started because people did'nt really understand that getting concussions are bad for you. Really. If your afraid of getting hurt playing football it is real simple.......DONT PLAY. DON"T sue afterward. You don't see the family's of nascar drivers suing because someone got hurt or killed. Sorry but people don't watch nascar because they like watching the cars go around in a circle and they don't watch football because they like the pretty passes to the wide out where there not even touched. If you really want to make the game safer....set the weight limit at 150 lbs. and no one can run faster than a 6.8 forty time. I will gaurantee you there will be a lot less injuries. Just my pissed off opinion, but the game is being ruined and helmets hit helmets on every fuckin play. Please stop playing it before someone gets hurt. 

Oh Ya, going to Ontario Bear hunting this weekend. Only carrying my bow so maybe one of the big boys will maul me to death and I won't have to hear about targeting anymore.   Someone better call P.E.T.A. and the targeting police.


September 3rd, 2017 at 1:45 PM ^

I completely agree with the two non-calls. There's a difference between the targeting that we consistently saw 3-5 years ago where guys would intentionally launch themselves at another guy's head like a missle. I think by and large that problem has been solved. Not to say it doesn't happen, but it's not the norm anymore.

Nowadays we're often seeing guys get tossed out for incidental head to head contact where an offensive "defenseless" player slides/ducks/crouches/falls while the tackle is in process. These calls - and their lengthy reviews - are making the game harder and harder to watch.

I get that the players need to be protected and I'm all for that, but tossing guys out for indicental contact is not the right answer.

ed: SugarShane's proposal is a great solution IMO


September 3rd, 2017 at 1:44 PM ^

I said before the year that bush would get kicked out of one game this year lol u could see it coming by the way he hit on special teams last year..hopefully this was the one and we dodged a bullet


September 3rd, 2017 at 1:44 PM ^

I think the announcers made it sound a lot worse than what it was. One of them kept saying how the Florida player was considered a defenseless player once he stepped out of bounds. Bush was already committed to the tackle before the guy stepped out of bounds. I don't think they take in to account the speed of the game. Thankfully the refs were making the call and not the ESPN announcers.


September 3rd, 2017 at 3:13 PM ^

The announcers made it sound like the play had been dead for seconds. The whistle had barely blown and I thought he just followed through with his motion. In the end, I can live with the late hit. As far as the targeting call, I thought the announcers were getting awfully worked up. Every hit looks worse in slow motion.


September 3rd, 2017 at 1:46 PM ^

 refs have trouble with the rules because they forget the real point to begin with. bush led with his pads. he did not lead with his helmet, thats what would make it targeting. the refs  were not real good this game. michigans td was taken away for no reason, and then wasn`t even reviewed. and then on their first drive of the 2nd half the play clock was set wrong twice in a row. once michigan got a delay of game, and the next play they barely got the play off. at the end of the previous play both times the play clock skips from 40 secounds to 25 secounds immediatly.


September 3rd, 2017 at 4:58 PM ^

You could tell right away that they were Big XII refs when they seemed unfamiliar with calls that would typically be on the defense in games. Then again, they could also have been standing in silent awe of teams that actually value defense. 

carolina blue

September 3rd, 2017 at 1:46 PM ^

The rule is stupid and terrible and far too subjective. I am all for the obvious ones, for example, on crossing routes where the receiver gets lit up and smashed in the head. That's dangerous and needs to be called as such. Plays like this I would consider incidental contact to the head. If that had been targeting then they'd have to change the name of it because he didn't target anything.

Goggles Paisano

September 3rd, 2017 at 3:20 PM ^

This is exactly it and this is where the rule originated.  DB's were launching themselves like missles and hitting receivers with the crown of their helmets.  I get that. 

It morphed somehow into the worst rule in the sport.  It needs to be thrown out because the powers that be and the officials can't seem to make it more objective or even call it right when it happens.  I saw a cheap one last night on a Purdue LB against Lamar Jackson.  He made a nice play, didn't lower his head or anything. Dude gets tossed.  I saw far too many targeting reviews yesterday - they were all ridiculous and do nothing but slow down the game.  


September 3rd, 2017 at 1:47 PM ^

Bush is the type of player, who five years ago, would have stuck the crown of his helmet in that dudes earhole. Instead he hustled to reach a player on an Out of bounds play and grazed across his face with the shoulder pad.

People can call defenseless player on that...but I dunno. The speed of the game. The emotion. You have to really see helmet to helmet to call it. I didn't see that there.