Football - Rules & Regulations | Football | Sports | Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association
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Coaches and game officials should understand, teach and apply these rules in a manner promoting player safety and minimizing the risk of player injury. Defenseless Player — A defenseless player is one who, because of his physical position and focus of concentration, is especially vulnerable to injury.
The most common types of defenseless players include passers, receivers, sliding runners, runners whose forward progress is stopped, players out of the play and players who are blindside blocked.
For example, a player passing or attempting to catch a ball is completely exposed to opponents. A player obviously out of the play has no reason to think an opponent will charge into him. A downed runner or a runner giving himself up and sliding feet first cannot protect himself against unnecessary contact. A player receiving a blindside block is unaware of the opponent charging him. What is common among all these situations is that the player cannot defend himself or avoid potential contact, leaving himself vulnerable to injury.
Special attention must be given to contact against these players to determine if it is legal. Although defenseless players who are involved in the play may be contacted by an opponent, the player initiating contact must do so in a legal manner. For several years, the rules have penalized roughing the passer, kick catching interference, illegal helmet contact, unnecessary roughness and late hits.
Classifying players as defenseless reinforces the prohibition against illegal contact and emphasizes the need to protect the most vulnerable players.
Excessive and unnecessary contact, including forceful contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless player, has long been illegal, and it has no part in the game. Coaches must exercise leadership in eliminating illegal contact, and game officials must act decisively to penalize illegal contact to minimize the risk of player injury. Blindside Blocks — A blindside block is an effective blocking technique. There is nothing improper in executing blindside blocks generally, and the rules do not preclude their use altogether.
Instead, to enhance player safety and minimize the risk of injury, the rules prohibit a specific type of blindside block: A blindside block is a foul if: If all three of these factors are present, the blindside block is illegal.
Game officials must first determine whether a block is a blindside block. The player being blocked will be looking away from the blocker while being blocked from the side by an opponent. Such contact is still considered a blindside block. Though the player may have seen the blocker approach, he did not do so in sufficient time to have a reasonable opportunity to react, adjust and defend himself. In most situations, the blocker is running at full speed, increasing his momentum and focusing on one player.
The player being blocked, however, is focused elsewhere and completely unaware of the charging blocker. Such a player who turns his head at the last second and sees his opponent just before contact cannot realistically protect himself.
He is just as defenseless and vulnerable to injury as if he had not turned his head at all. Game officials should not be overly technical with this requirement and should always err on the side of player safety. The intent of this rule is to protect the player being blocked. It is not intended to create a legal way of throwing a shoulder or body block. When in question, the block is a blindside block.
If a blindside block occurs in the free-blocking zone, it is legal even if the contact is forceful and even if it is not initiated with open hands. Of course, the contact must otherwise be legal—a player cannot clip or target an opponent, for example. However, the free-blocking zone exists only during scrimmage plays, and it disintegrates as soon as the ball leaves the zone. When the zone is gone, any blindside block by rule occurs outside of the free-blocking zone and, if forceful, must be initiated with open hands to be legal.
Any forceful blindside block outside the free-blocking zone must be initiated with open hands. Blocks initiated with the shoulder or body are dangerous because of the amount of force they generate. Blocks initiated with open hands are significantly less dangerous because they do not typically generate that same amount of force.
The open-hands requirement is intended to reduce the force associated with blindside blocks. As a result, game officials should consider two things in determining whether a blocker has complied with the open-hand requirement.
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However, a player who makes first contact with open hands but nonetheless forcefully drives his shoulder or body into his opponent has not complied with the rule. Instead, he has thrown a shoulder or body block with all the force that his shoulder and body carry. The open-hand requirement is meant to reduce that type of force.
It is not intended to allow an otherwise illegal shoulder or body block simply by placing open hands on the opponent at the last second. If the block is forceful, it is a foul; if not forceful, it is not. The contact should be significant enough to notice, but it does not have to be violent or otherwise unnecessary to be forceful. As an aid to judging whether a block is forceful, the covering official should consider whether the blocker was only attempting to take his opponent out of the play, or whether the block was intended to take the opponent out of the game.
The former is legal, while the latter is illegal. Game officials should take the entire block into consideration.
Luton Town v Millwall 1985 – the night football died a slow death
The focus should be on the block itself and the blocker, because he is the player generating the force behind the block. The reaction of the player being blocked may help, but it is not the determining factor. Game officials should never base their decision on forceful contact solely on whether the player goes to the ground.
However, where the blocker makes contact with some obvious degree of force behind the block, contact is forceful regardless of the effect on the opponent. Finally, game officials should be diligent in observing these blocks and penalizing infractions.
Although the rule applies throughout the game, blindside blocks are most likely to be made by the offense on returns following interceptions, free kicks and punts. They may also occur when the offense reverses direction on the field. Game officials must use proper mechanics on these plays and be in position to observe players throwing blindside blocks. The most likely offenders will be those doing something different from others. For example, if most players are moving north, these players will be moving south or east and west.
Through good position and technique, a player initiating an open-handed blindside block can effectively obstruct his opponent with sufficient forceful contact while minimizing the risk of player injury. By teaching these techniques and consistently penalizing infractions, coaches and game officials will have continued taking positive steps toward reinforcing player safety, minimizing injury, and removing unnecessary and excessive contact from the game.
Consistent Pace of Play Throughout the Game The time difference in marking the ball ready-for-play from referee to referee has incorrectly varied and often very significantly. The time period between downs is supposed to be dictated by the offensive team and not the game officials. The rules afford teams the option of running their offense as fast or as slow as they choose. Length of Periods can be shortened: When weather conditions are construed to be hazardous to life or limb of the participants, the crew of game officials is authorized to delay or suspend the game.
If a lightning or thunder disturbance occurs near halftime intermission, this delay cannot be treated as halftime intermission. After a weather delay, by rule the second period must be completed and halftime intermission shall be declared.
The following day England, who had been favourites to host the European Championship, lost out to West Germany. The Football Association chairman, Bert Millichip, blamed the violence, adding: It was completely out of control. The match is all-ticket, and the police - including reinforcements from Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Thames Valley - will be out in force.
But even now some Luton fans revisit that night of frenzied violence with trepidation. Martin Wells, then a year-old who was sat in the Junior Hatters stand with his dad, says he was "utterly terrified" when the fists started flying.
But no one expected such carnage. The match was not all-ticket, even though Millwall's fans had a reputation established over generations. But a vital piece of intelligence had been missed: Their intentions carried little stealth or subtlety.
Speaking in the House of Commons, the Wigan MP Roger Stott said he had seen "at least two or three hundred Millwall supporters" at St Pancras nearly four hours before kick-off "behaving in a loutish, hooligan fashion and terrorising most people standing on the platform" — adding: Yvonne Fletcher, who has supported Luton for 41 years, recalls: An hour before kick-off the gates at the Kenilworth Road end — which was supposed to hold 5, Millwall fans — were stormed and the stand was soon holding nearly twice that number.
Hundreds climbed out and started throwing bottles, nails and coins at Luton fans in the Oak Road end before violently appropriating the Bobbers stand, ripping up seats and attacking home supporters. We were told afterwards that a third of season-ticket holders stopped coming to home games.
Whether they later returned, I don't know. But after 14 minutes, with Millwall fans rioting and encroaching on to the pitch again, the referee, David Hutchinson, was forced to halt the game for 25 minutes. Eventually, after Millwall's manager, George Graham, talked to supporters and Hutchinson pleaded with fans "to co-operate, enjoy yourselves and let us entertain you", the game resumed.
But the fear and the fighting were never far away. Brian Swain, who reported on more than 2, matches for the Luton News across four decades, says that no part of the ground was safe.