OT New Rules a Problem in Waiting

Submitted by wildbackdunesman on October 2nd, 2012 at 5:53 PM

The automatic 10 second run off if a helmet pops off an offensive player late in the game is a horrible rule.


Imagine this scenario...

National Title Game, Alabama trails Florida State by 4 points, but gets a huge play down to the 1 yard line...First and Goal with 9 seconds left.

The clock will stop, but they have to be ready to run a play or spike the ball as they have no time outs....oh wait what is this, an offensive player had a helmet pop off -- automatic 10 second run off.... 

Game over...Florida State wins the National Title!


Horrible rule, that any down to the wire game can end based on a helmet coming off on accident and causing a 10 second run off.  Any other opinions on this?  Maybe it isn't a big deal, but it bothers me.



October 2nd, 2012 at 6:20 PM ^

I hope you are right.  When I heard them describe it on TV they didn't mention it and read this article that also didn't mention it.

Yet, even if you are right, is it still not a good rule.  The player must come out and 10 seconds run off in most scenarios under a minute if there are no time outs left.

But even if it didn't result in a 1st down, in the scenario shouldn't Alabama have the chance to spike the ball and run a final play?

What if we were playing MSU and we got a 10 second run off and Denard had to come out on the final play against MSU, because Gholston deliberately targeted his helmet somehow pushing off the helmet as Denard fought for extra yardage in a pile.  If the ref doesn't see a defender deliberately rip it off it will be a 10 second run off with Denard on the sideline.  It isn't beyond reason to think that a defensive player out there would target a helmet in a game at some point this year at the end of a half.

Mr Miggle

October 2nd, 2012 at 6:40 PM ^

How long do you think it takes to line up and snap the ball? Ten seconds sounds pretty close to me. The alternative is much worse. A player could deliberately make sure his own helmet comes off when his team doesn't have enough time to get set for another play. At least in the example you gave the defender would be risking a penalty.


October 2nd, 2012 at 6:54 PM ^

Even if the offensive player doesn't purposely try to make his helmet come off - it would be worse if the player was trying to get out of bounds and was stopped short by a defensive player causing the off. player's helmet to come off, stopping the clock and allowing offense an extra play. Then you just penalized the defense after they made a game changing play.


October 2nd, 2012 at 6:19 PM ^

I'm pretty sure you're right. Granted, helmets probably shouldn't come off very frequently, but I'm pretty sure that it's a safety feature that they pop off sometimes. The fear being that if they are tight and difficult to take off, it would be easy to sustain a really nasty neck injury from things like facemasks. Basically, it's better to have it pop off relatively easy than have the helmet get caught or pulled without coming off.


October 2nd, 2012 at 9:48 PM ^

No... the modern helmets are designed with various angles, contours, and variable shell thicknesses to deflect the impact of the blow rather than dissipate energy through disengaging... the latter is what happens with car crumple zones for example -- NOT football helmets


October 2nd, 2012 at 6:49 PM ^

It might be a boring way to lose a game, but you're talking about one play.  In your scenario, they team has <10 seconds left, and is hurrying to spike the ball, which will take a couple seconds.  That team should have used those couple seconds to make sure everyone is set, because those are the rules.  If they don't have time to do that and spike the ball, then they lose. 

If that wasn't the rule, then no one would spike the ball, they would just get a penalty since it takes less time and you can even do it on fourth down.  Usually in those scenarios, 5 yards is no big deal.


October 2nd, 2012 at 7:22 PM ^

I agree that it makes it less fun to watch, but more important than "fun to watch" is whether or not it's fair play.  

As I posted below this, I'd be OK with the rules changing in a different way in the last couple minutes to keep offenses from committing a 5 yard penalty every time they wanted to stop the clock, but it has to be something.  

But honestly, games don't end this way often enough to make a stink about it.  I think I've seen it once, and it was very unlikely that the offending team was going to win anyway.  But again, I'd rather see a boring ending than a controversial one.


October 2nd, 2012 at 7:32 PM ^

I've never seen it happen either, but I'd say no reason to have a flawed rule when you can have a better one--should the unthinkable happen. I also don't know what you are referring to in your last sentence, as I'd say a game that ends in the scenario I talked about would be both more boring and more controversial than...whatever alternative it is being compared against.

In regards to this helmet rule, the runoff makes no sense to me. Making the player miss a play seems punishment enough, and has no relevance to clock management. I do agree with what you said below, i.e. that players trying to rip off players helmets and not got caught is unlikely. But again, why have a rule in place that would be stupid should the unthinkable happe?


October 2nd, 2012 at 7:37 PM ^

The rule is so offensive players don't intentionally let their helmets come off, or help it happen, when their team needs the clock to stop.  Without the run-off, I could see coaches telling their easily-substitutable players (backs, receivers, TEs) to unstrap their helmets during the two minute drill for a free time out.  

Now that there's a rule saying that the clock stops when a players helmet comes off, there needs to be a complimentary rule keeping teams from using that to their advantage.  

Again, I'm not saying it needs to be a run off, maybe any helmet coming off with under 2 minutes left is a 15 yard penalty.  I don't know, but there needs to be something.

Mr Miggle

October 2nd, 2012 at 8:39 PM ^

It seems that in trying to tinker with a rule that's pretty damn logical, you've shown why it's proper.

Losing your helmet with less than 2 minutes less becomes the equivalent of a personal foul. What does that do to a team trying to get into field goal range? The helmet rule was put iinto place to protect players, not to punish them. The 10 second runoff isn't a penalty either. It's meant to compensate for the clock stoppage, while not allowing teams to take advantage of the helmet rule. I would imagine that in some cases it may even save teams a little time.


October 2nd, 2012 at 8:56 PM ^

Yeah, I agree with this.  That's like saying that a seat belt law wasn't meant to punish citizens with tickets. 

You make a relatively small punishment to the player and the team if the helmet comes off, which motivates the players to keep themselves strapped up.  

Mr Miggle

October 2nd, 2012 at 9:25 PM ^

I understand your point. You've got to sit out a play, next time make sure your helmet is strapped on.

But the plays that lead to a player's helmet getting knocked off will sometimes be ones where the player should be evaluated by medical personnel. Taking the decision whether to do that or leave the player in the game out of the coaches' hands strikes me as a very good idea. It's certainly consistent with the concern for players' safety. Rather than your seat-belt law example, I think a better analogy is their concussion rule. Forcing a player with a concussion to sit out the remainder of the game isn't meant to penalize the player, but to protect him.


October 2nd, 2012 at 11:37 PM ^

But that's just not right.  Very rarely do players get injured when their helmet comes off, but since they're obviously more prone to injury when it's off, there is a penalty assessed if your helmet comes off during a play.  This encourages players to strap up their helmets, and their coaches to make sure they do as well. 

This is separate from the need for a player to come off the field when he is injured.  


October 2nd, 2012 at 6:53 PM ^

I can understand that, but see the example someone used above.  If you're gunning for the end zone, every time you wanted to stop the clock you could have a guy false start to stop the clock instead of spiking it.  In that case, you don't need to get your guys set, and you don't waste a down.  That would be pretty cheap if teams did that every time.  

In a final minute drive down the field, time and downs are more important than 5 yards, so you'd see teams do that all the time.  If you don't like the clock, you'd have to think of another way to handle penalties at the end like that, maybe loss of down or make them all 15 yarders or something.

EZ Bud

October 2nd, 2012 at 6:52 PM ^

I've seen a similar scenario already play out in college football this season. If the play results in a first down and stops the clock, then there is no 10 second runoff. The same is true for an incomplete pass, or a play run out of bounds. However, I do think this rule will give defenders incentive to try to pop a player's helmet off in the last minute of games.


October 2nd, 2012 at 9:42 PM ^

Not so fast...

[quote] Horrible rule, that any down to the wire game can end based on a helmet coming off on accident and causing a 10 second run off. [/quote]

Put some fucking air in the helmet then.  Problem solved.


October 2nd, 2012 at 9:48 PM ^

i raised a similar issue about the helmet issue.  say a defense is going up against a no huddle offense.  what is there to stop a defender from taking off his helmet after a play in an effort to get appropriate subs in the game, depending on down on and distance.

i was wondering if the helmet rule addressed this situation.