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  #51  
Old 10-15-2018, 07:49 PM
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I agree that there should be a rule change to fix this. It's exploiting a rule designed to increase safety and reasonable attempts to counter such trick plays are going to result in flattened receivers.

The play exploits the fact that there's a lag between the fair catch signal and the catch, and it's sometimes hard to tell at the time of the catch whether it was a fair catch or not. Maybe you missed the receiver wave?

The solution is to make a fair catch easily distinguishable at the time of the catch.

I'd suggest: Fair catch is not actually caught. After signaling the fair catch, the receiver must be within n yards (2?) of the spot the ball comes down at, but does not catch it. The ball is marked where it hits the ground.

Can't run a fake play if you don't have the ball. Any incoming defense can easily see the difference and not tackle the player who doesn't have the ball.

This does mean that there's no longer a case where a fair catch is waved and the receiver drops the ball in attempting to catch it, but that seems uncommon enough and the gains in safety enough that it's worth giving up.

Another option: a fair catcher must immediately take a knee after making the catch.
  #52  
Old 10-15-2018, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
Another option: a fair catcher must immediately take a knee after making the catch.
How does requiring a person to kneel after the catch help? Youíd have situations where a person expecting to make a fair catch gets blasted immediately after catching the ball before getting a chance to kneel. The kicking team can legitimately argue that they had no idea that the player was intending to kneel. And if you expect the kicking team to stand around waiting ďjust in caseĒ the returner might kneel, youíre going to have a lot of punt returned for huge gains. Youíll probably have teams going for it on almost every 4th down because punting is too risky.

No, that idea canít work.
  #53  
Old 10-16-2018, 06:39 AM
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I’m with the OP on this one.

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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Fake out and a TD
FUCKING AWESOME!
Brilliant. A little Fumblerooski-like in its creativity. Creative, like FSU’s Terrell Buckley, or the Music City Miracle. I originally saw that one as it happened on TV, not on any replay.

Don’t change the rules. I never saw the returner wave for a fair catch.

Punt squads are trained to track the ball in the air and not merely key off of the returner and possibly some of his blockers.

Fucking awesome!
  #54  
Old 10-16-2018, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
How does requiring a person to kneel after the catch help? Youíd have situations where a person expecting to make a fair catch gets blasted immediately after catching the ball before getting a chance to kneel. The kicking team can legitimately argue that they had no idea that the player was intending to kneel. And if you expect the kicking team to stand around waiting ďjust in caseĒ the returner might kneel, youíre going to have a lot of punt returned for huge gains. Youíll probably have teams going for it on almost every 4th down because punting is too risky.

No, that idea canít work.
It would work fine in the case of the video the OP shared. If that guy had tried to run right away, he'd have been tackled. The reason he makes it is that he just walks away like the play is over and the other team follows his lead. The kneel means that he can't do that. He either immediately takes a knee or they know the play is still live.

To make sure I'm being clear, the kneel is in addition to the existing fair catch wave, not a replacement.

If someone waved a fair catch, then got smashed before they could kneel, then, well, that's already against the rules, right? And not the issue we're talking about here.

The fake fair catch works in cases where it's crazy for the returner to not call a fair catch because the defense is going to get to him by the time he makes the catch. In those cases, you have several defenders right next to him at the time of the catch. If he didn't wave them off and tries to run there, they get him pretty easy.

The knee-after-fair-catch might not be a perfect solution, but I bet it solves the vast majority of the problem.

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Originally Posted by Bullitt
I never saw the returner wave for a fair catch.
The problem with this reasoning is: it's too easy to miss the fair catch wave. How many injured returners are we willing to accept because the fair catch might be missed, and you don't want to give the benefit of the doubt?
  #55  
Old 10-16-2018, 04:19 PM
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It would work fine in the case of the video the OP shared. If that guy had tried to run right away, he'd have been tackled. The reason he makes it is that he just walks away like the play is over and the other team follows his lead. The kneel means that he can't do that. He either immediately takes a knee or they know the play is still live.

To make sure I'm being clear, the kneel is in addition to the existing fair catch wave, not a replacement.

If someone waved a fair catch, then got smashed before they could kneel, then, well, that's already against the rules, right? And not the issue we're talking about here.

The fake fair catch works in cases where it's crazy for the returner to not call a fair catch because the defense is going to get to him by the time he makes the catch. In those cases, you have several defenders right next to him at the time of the catch. If he didn't wave them off and tries to run there, they get him pretty easy.

The knee-after-fair-catch might not be a perfect solution, but I bet it solves the vast majority of the problem.
No. It makes it worse exactly for the reason I stated. If you require that it be kneed in addition to being waved then youíll have guys getting pancaked before they can kneel. Youíve pretty much ignored and failed to address anything I said.
  #56  
Old 10-16-2018, 05:52 PM
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No. It makes it worse exactly for the reason I stated. If you require that it be kneed in addition to being waved then you’ll have guys getting pancaked before they can kneel. You’ve pretty much ignored and failed to address anything I said.
I'm not trying to ignore what you said, but I think we're maybe talking past each other? I tried rephrasing my suggestion to help. Maybe you could rephrase your issue with it to help me understand?

Here are the scenarios as I see them under my proposed rule.

1. Returner waves for fair catch, catches ball, is tackled before he could take a knee. Same penalty for other team as there has always been for tackling someone who has signaled a fair catch.

2. Returner waves for fair catch, catches ball, takes a knee. Fair catch completed successfully. Ball dead where caught.

3. Returner waves for fair catch, catches ball, doesn't take a knee as he is supposed to. Play is dead and a returning team has a (small) penalty for failing to do the fair catch thing right. Assuming he's had time to take a knee and gets tackled, no penalty for tackling team.

4. Returner doesn't wave for a fair catch, catches ball, doesn't take a knee, stands around hoping the other team won't notice. Ah ha! The other team knows that he was supposed to take a knee, so he must not have really signaled a fair catch, and the three defenders who are standing right by him because they got there at the same time as the ball tackle him rather than wandering off like in the video.

The trick play above (and the danger inherent in it) is that right now it's really hard to distinguish between cases 3 and 4. Adding taking a knee makes it easier to distinguish and less likely to have this sort of confusion result in injuries to the returner.

Maybe I'm missing something. But I think I've directly addressed the issue you raised (it's scenario #1 above) and it's unchanged with my new rule.

Last edited by iamthewalrus(:3=; 10-16-2018 at 05:53 PM.
  #57  
Old 10-16-2018, 07:16 PM
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Your scenario #4 contrasts scenario #1. The defenders are not going to tackle the guy if they think he might have signaled for a fair catch in scenario #4 because of the consequences of scenario #1 (tackling a guy who signaled for a fair catch but didnít yet take a knee). Your scenario #4 would never happen. Nothing has been fixed or prevented. This trick play would work the same way under your system as it did under the current system. If the kicking team thinks you called a fair catch signal and know theyíll be penalized if they tackle you, theyíre going to leave you alone and you have a chance to run it in. They think you forgot to kneel and theyíre happy to let you get penalized because they think theyíre in scenario #3.

Again, nothing has changed. If the defenders didnít realize you didnít signal for a fair catch and didnít realize that the play wasnít blown dead then the same ruse will still work in the same way. All youíve done is added an extra formality to the fair catch procedure that doesnít really correct the issue or prevent the trick.
  #58  
Old 10-16-2018, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
Your scenario #4 would never happen.
I appreciate your rephrasing, because now I understand where we disagree. One or both of us is pretty confused.

Did you watch the video that started this thread? Scenario #4 is literally the thing that happens in the video of the trick play that this thread is about.

Here's the link again.

The text on the page says: "Brewer simply pretended he called for a fair catch and did not try to return the ball at first. Everybody on the Arkansas side went along with it, and then Brewer took off untouched for a 90-yard touchdown."
  #59  
Old 10-16-2018, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
I appreciate your rephrasing, because now I understand where we disagree. One or both of us is pretty confused.

Did you watch the video that started this thread? Scenario #4 is literally the thing that happens in the video of the trick play that this thread is about.

Here's the link again.

The text on the page says: "Brewer simply pretended he called for a fair catch and did not try to return the ball at first. Everybody on the Arkansas side went along with it, and then Brewer took off untouched for a 90-yard touchdown."
Oh Iím well aware of the play. Iím not saying what you describe the returner doing would never happen (of course it would, thatís the point of this thread). Iím saying what you described the defenders doing would never happen. I thought I was pretty explicit in drawing that distinction.

Again, as long as the following conditions exist:

1) Tackling a returner who calls a fair catch results in a penalty.

2) Defenders think the returner called a fair catch (though he didnít).

That returner isnít going to get tackled and the trick will work. You can tack on an extra rule about the returner needing to kneel but it wonít matter. Theyíre still not going to tackle him. All you added in your rule is that the defenders assume the returner is also getting a flag for neglecting to kneel.

Again, Iíve gone over all this before. Your rule is ineffective.
  #60  
Old 10-16-2018, 09:14 PM
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By the way, I’m not meaning to imply your idea is nonsense or stupid, it’s just that if you think it through it wouldn’t change the result.
  #61  
Old 10-17-2018, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
The problem with this reasoning is: it's too easy to miss the fair catch wave. How many injured returners are we willing to accept because the fair catch might be missed, and you don't want to give the benefit of the doubt?
That hardly happens any more. The receiver must clearly and obviously wave his hand. So that reasoning doesnít, or rarely, applies. The fair catch signal is rarely missed. It might be blatantly ignored on occasion, but thatís another problem.
  #62  
Old 10-17-2018, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
Oh Iím well aware of the play. Iím not saying what you describe the returner doing would never happen (of course it would, thatís the point of this thread). Iím saying what you described the defenders doing would never happen. I thought I was pretty explicit in drawing that distinction.

Again, as long as the following conditions exist:

1) Tackling a returner who calls a fair catch results in a penalty.

2) Defenders think the returner called a fair catch (though he didnít).

That returner isnít going to get tackled and the trick will work. You can tack on an extra rule about the returner needing to kneel but it wonít matter. Theyíre still not going to tackle him. All you added in your rule is that the defenders assume the returner is also getting a flag for neglecting to kneel.

Again, Iíve gone over all this before. Your rule is ineffective.
The rule changes things so that part of calling for a fair catch is the kneel.

Tackling a returner who has waved his arms and not kneeled in a reasonable amount of time would not be a penalty, since that returner has not fully signaled a fair catch.

Tackling a returner who has waved his arms and did not have sufficient time to kneel after the catch would still be a penalty.

I'm not sure why you think it wouldn't have mattered in the play in the video.

The guy catches the ball and bounces for a moment, then slowly walks, and the defenders turn to walk off the field. They would not have done that if my rule had been in place. He'd either take a knee with them all watching, or they'd tackle him. They would not turn away from him and walk off the field.
  #63  
Old 10-17-2018, 01:56 PM
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You might get some problems with interpretation of "after a reasonable time". And you'd have to have the kicking-team's players stop at some moment and wait to see if the receiver is going to kneel or not, thus breaking up their momentum.
  #64  
Old 10-17-2018, 02:22 PM
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You might get some problems with interpretation of "after a reasonable time". And you'd have to have the kicking-team's players stop at some moment and wait to see if the receiver is going to kneel or not, thus breaking up their momentum.
I'm ok with that. The only reason they'd stop is if they didn't know if he'd waved a fair catch, or they assume he has. If they're sure he has not waved a fair catch, then they're not going to stop, they're going to plow into him as soon as they can.

Again, if he actually waved a fair catch, it doesn't matter if they tackle him. He either takes a knee and the fair catch is completed or he doesn't and takes a penalty.

If he didn't wave a fair catch, then it's easy for them to see that the play is still live because he's still standing up.

The only thing that my suggested rule changes is that after the rule defenders who are approaching the returner and think that he has, or might have, waved a fair catch will not wander away from him until he's put a knee to the ground.

The trick play requires exploiting the ambiguity where the defenders think the play is over but it isn't really. By adding a very obvious signal that the play really is over (a knee), the ambiguity goes away, the trick play goes away, and the adjusted incentives to sometimes tackle the returner if you're not sure that he's waved a fair catch are reduced, which reduces injuries.

The reason the new rule fixes things is that it will change the standard way that returners act in a fair catch. Right now, they get close, then stop, then walk away. With the new rule, they will get close, then stop, then wait for the returner to kneel, then the play is 100% for sure over. If instead he stands there and doesn't kneel, they are going to be on guard because something is not right.

Ok, that's a lot of text. I think I've made a pretty good case for why this will work. If you still think it won't, I guess we'll agree to disagree.
  #65  
Old 10-17-2018, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
The only thing that my suggested rule changes is that after the rule defenders who are approaching the returner and think that he has, or might have, waved a fair catch will not wander away from him until he's put a knee to the ground.
Which is irrelevant, because thatís not what happened in the trick play this thread is about. There was no ambiguity. They thought heíd waved. Thatís why the trick worked and why your idea wonít. Youíre working under a mistaken assumption that doesnít fit the video.

Quote:
The trick play requires exploiting the ambiguity where the defenders think the play is over but it isn't really. By adding a very obvious signal that the play really is over (a knee), the ambiguity goes away, the trick play goes away, and the adjusted incentives to sometimes tackle the returner if you're not sure that he's waved a fair catch are reduced, which reduces injuries.
No it doesnít. Nothing has changed. Youíre really not thinking this through. Yes, taking a knee is a ďsignalĒ that itís over but so what? Again, according to your rules proposal that kneeing is still only a formality because just like now the ďrealĒ signal is the same fair catch wave. In your proposal, the returner still has to make the signal and the defenders have to see it. The kneeing is superfluous and the only change is that if the returner forgets or doesnít do it ďfast enoughĒ (which you still havenít defined though I brought that up already) thereís a penalty.

Quote:
The reason the new rule fixes things is that it will change the standard way that returners act in a fair catch. Right now, they get close, then stop, then walk away. With the new rule, they will get close, then stop, then wait for the returner to kneel, then the play is 100% for sure over. If instead he stands there and doesn't kneel, they are going to be on guard because something is not right.
In a football game where everything happens with lightning speed and a split second hesitation can be the difference between a tackle for loss or a huge gain, nobody is going to do that. How often do you see players hovering around for a while ďjust in caseĒ on any play after the snap? Never. This wonít ever happen in a real game of football.

Quote:
Ok, that's a lot of text. I think I've made a pretty good case for why this will work. If you still think it won't, I guess we'll agree to disagree.
Weíll agree to disagree because again, you havenít thought this through. Watch how punt returns actually work. Youíre going to need more than an ambiguous rule about kneeling to change anything.
  #66  
Old 10-17-2018, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
Which is irrelevant, because thatís not what happened in the trick play this thread is about. There was no ambiguity. They thought heíd waved. Thatís why the trick worked and why your idea wonít. Youíre working under a mistaken assumption that doesnít fit the video.
I don't think they thought he waved. Watch it again. There's no wave at all. I think the reason they were fooled is because they just blanked. To me, they're used to seeing a live runner trying to get away. Without that action, the defenders did not react; they saw someone pretending to have made a fair catch, lackadaisically standing around, even for a second. That's why they didn't go for him. But again, there was no wave.

And, to require a kneel in addition to a fair catch wave is actually going to make things worse. If the kneel is even slightly delayed, then there isn't (yet) a fair catch, and the receiver can be tackled. Now, think of that receiver starting to go down to a knee, but isn't quite down yet. The defenders, running at high rates of speed, can tackle him because he hasn't knelt yet.

That is a very exposed and dangerous position to be tackled in. I see knee injuries likely in this scenario.

Maybe this is what you were getting at, Atamasma. Agree, the kneeling is superfluous.

I'd hate to see any rule changes to try and prevent this trickery from happening. I enjoy the trickery (including the fumblerooski) because it shows creativity and a solid, technical knowledge of the rules.
  #67  
Old 10-17-2018, 07:23 PM
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Which is irrelevant, because that’s not what happened in the trick play this thread is about. There was no ambiguity. They thought he’d waved.
They thought he'd waved when he hadn't waved and you don't think that's an ambiguity?

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We’ll agree to disagree because again, you haven’t thought this through.
Again, agree to disagree. I have thought it through, and I've attempted to explain my reasoning but we still don't agree. So be it. It has been an interesting discussion.

I am curious to see what others think. Obviously one of us is wrong, and we both think it's the other. Looks like Bullitt agrees that I'm wrong and this rule won't work, but doesn't 100% agree on the details.

So, anyone else still interested, maybe you can convince either Atamasama or I how to think about it differently.

Last edited by iamthewalrus(:3=; 10-17-2018 at 07:23 PM.
  #68  
Old 10-17-2018, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
They thought he'd waved when he hadn't waved and you don't think that's an ambiguity?
I don't understand, where's the ambiguity? It's not an ambiguous situation, it's merely a mistaken assumption on the defenders' parts.

Last edited by Bullitt; 10-17-2018 at 07:32 PM.
  #69  
Old 10-17-2018, 08:12 PM
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I don't understand, where's the ambiguity? It's not an ambiguous situation, it's merely a mistaken assumption on the defenders' parts.
That is the ambiguity. Mistaken assumptions create ambiguity. The defenders obviously didn't know his intention or meaning. They thought he intended to make a fair catch and have the play stop. But he did not. But he kind of acted like he did. There's uncertainty here. A guy catching a football and not running is ambiguous. Resolving the ambiguity requires knowing that he waved for a fair catch, which you might have missed. Or it requires some other way to resolve the uncertainty.

Let's step away from the "kneel after catch" suggestion for a moment.

Let's imagine that we have a magic technology where, upon signaling for a fair catch, the returner's entire uniform turns bright pink.

Would you agree that such a technology would result in more clarity for the defenders? They would be much less likely to be mistaken about whether a fair catch was waved? At the time they arrive at the returner, there would be no ambiguity about whether he signaled for a fair catch, since, well, he'd either be bright pink or he wouldn't?

If that change makes things more clear, then it has to have been at least somewhat not-clear to start with. There's some amount of ambiguity.

There is ambiguity in the non-bright-pink situation because it's possible for people to disagree on the state of reality. There is confusion because it's easier to be wrong. Did he actually wave a fair catch and I missed it because I was looking down? Did he not wave for it but is acting like he did? There are several different possible states of reality that you can't obviously and easily tell apart.
  #70  
Old 10-17-2018, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
That is the ambiguity. Mistaken assumptions create ambiguity. The defenders obviously didn't know his intention or meaning. They thought he intended to make a fair catch and have the play stop. But he did not. But he kind of acted like he did. There's uncertainty here. A guy catching a football and not running is ambiguous. Resolving the ambiguity requires knowing that he waved for a fair catch, which you might have missed. Or it requires some other way to resolve the uncertainty.
The ambiguity is resolved, if I'm the defender running towards the receiver, by plowing him over, tackling him. No ambiguity there!

Quote:
Resolving the ambiguity requires knowing that he waved for a fair catch, which you might have missed.
Okay, I think I'm beginning to get your point. Yes if I'm the defender then I may have missed that fair catch sign. Okay, maybe this has been yours' and others' point all along in this thread. The defender may miss the fair catch sign. Sorry if I missed reading that above. But okay, I do agree that that is a problem! I have a suggested solution (and rule change, per se), but I'll mention that later.

Quote:
Let's step away from the "kneel after catch" suggestion for a moment.

Let's imagine that we have a magic technology where, upon signaling for a fair catch, the returner's entire uniform turns bright pink.

Would you agree that such a technology would result in more clarity for the defenders? They would be much less likely to be mistaken about whether a fair catch was waved? At the time they arrive at the returner, there would be no ambiguity about whether he signaled for a fair catch, since, well, he'd either be bright pink or he wouldn't?

If that change makes things more clear, then it has to have been at least somewhat not-clear to start with. There's some amount of ambiguity.

There is ambiguity in the non-bright-pink situation because it's possible for people to disagree on the state of reality. There is confusion because it's easier to be wrong. Did he actually wave a fair catch and I missed it because I was looking down? Did he not wave for it but is acting like he did? There are several different possible states of reality that you can't obviously and easily tell apart.
I do get it. Now. Thanks for your patience and explanation. Sometimes I can be not-quick.

Agree with your scenario about the pink jersey. My suggestion here is, when a fair catch is called by the returner in the usual hand waving way, that the referees do not blow a whistle while the ball is in the air but the back judge (or whoever is back there with the returner) waves his hands in the air continuously while the ball is still in the air {ADDED: in some fashion that is quite obvious}. Without blowing a whistle.

That ref would have to be near to, and behind, the receiver so that he is in the field of view of the defenders.

With the hand waving returner and the ref doing that, then I think it is much more clear. Minor rule change.

I must admit that I did not read the entire thread when you guys were focusing on a rule change, because I did not think any was needed (because I missed the, uhh, "ambiguity"). Apologies for missing that!

So yes, a rule change would improve things. But what change? I guess that's been the discussion that I haven't been following. :shakes head:

Last edited by Bullitt; 10-17-2018 at 08:27 PM.
  #71  
Old 10-17-2018, 10:41 PM
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Again, agree to disagree. I have thought it through, and I've attempted to explain my reasoning but we still don't agree. So be it. It has been an interesting discussion.
Thatís why I love the SDMB. We can disagree and be civil. It was an interesting discussion, I agree.
  #72  
Old 10-17-2018, 10:46 PM
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By the way I was thinking about this today and I was thinking the returner should have some device he could activate that lights up his pads or something. Something a defender canít miss. Maybe it requires putting the palms of your gloves together to activate so you canít do it by accident. Itís easy to miss a hardwave or a whistle.

Itís not different from the ďpink jerseyĒ idea except Iím not sure how thatíd work, technologically...

(Plus it prevents a future pink jersey Color Rush for breast cancer awareness or whatever.)
  #73  
Old 10-18-2018, 08:40 AM
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Thatís why I love the SDMB. We can disagree and be civil. It was an interesting discussion, I agree.
I, too, like that we do that.
  #74  
Old 10-18-2018, 12:16 PM
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Huzzah for polite and reasoned debate.

I realize that taking a knee is far from a perfect solution. It doesn't solve all the problems. But it doesn't require new technology (like light-up/bright pink uniforms). And I think it does help.

Another option would be a signal in the stadium itself. There could be bright "fair catch" lights that light up? The returner wouldn't have to do anything different; some official who sees him wave could press the button to light them up.
  #75  
Old 10-18-2018, 12:18 PM
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Posts: 11,382
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt View Post
My suggestion here is, when a fair catch is called by the returner in the usual hand waving way, that the referees do not blow a whistle while the ball is in the air but the back judge (or whoever is back there with the returner) waves his hands in the air continuously while the ball is still in the air {ADDED: in some fashion that is quite obvious}. Without blowing a whistle.

That ref would have to be near to, and behind, the receiver so that he is in the field of view of the defenders.

With the hand waving returner and the ref doing that, then I think it is much more clear. Minor rule change.
Also a good idea, and better than taking a knee after. Possibly the best idea suggested, since it doesn't require new technology.
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