Coupla football Qs

Suppose Grumbling State punts to the Weevil Hawkeyes. The punt is caught on the one yard line by a Grumbling player, downing it at that point. But a Weevil player has a brain fart and tackles the Grumbling player with the ball. How do you penalize the Weevel team? Half the distance to the goal is 1/2 yard, hardly a fitting penalty. Do you penalize with loss of down, forcing the play to start on 2nd down. Do you move the first down marker to the 25 yard line, or what?

This might be more IMHOish, but why don’t they pad the OUTSIDE of football helmets, as well as the inside? This would further protect the player’s head and also protect other players from injury. Seems eminently plausible to me.

If the tackle occurs after the whistle has blown, it’s an Unnecessary Roughness penalty (15 yards or half the distance to the goal.) In your case, half a yard.

Nevertheless, that’s the rule in all forms of gridiron football I know.

The disadvantage teams suffer as a result of a penalty/foul/whatever are not always fair, ya know. My favorite example is rugby. Commit a “major” infraction like offsides, and the opposing team is awarded a direct free kick. You can score 3 points with one, so for a minor lapse your team goes 3 points down! It wouldn’t be that bad except that modern rugby kickers can score these things from 40 yards away.

I am not an authority on this, but my guess is that they don’t because outer padding would catch on things. You don’t want someone’s head torqued that way. I’ve seen warnings on bike and ski helmets not to attach anything to the outside.

I thought about this a little more, and it might be because helmets simply aren’t that dangerous. Most football injuries you see are twists, sprains, and pulls (to varying degrees of severity.) Every so often you see a helmet injure someone’s knee, or a helmet-to-helmet (illegal) hit, but it’s fairly rare.

633squadron’s explanation also makes sense to me. You’d probably want helmets to be as frictionless as possible.

Hardly seems like much of a deterrent. I’d just cream the guy as a matter of course under such circumstances.

Good point. What if you just glued a layer of foam to the outside? Hard for it to catch on anything. Granted, guys might grabe onto it and use it in the same way they used to use face masks, incurring all those penalties, but I guess you could penalize that, too.

Hardly reassuring. Most of the guys I know of who played football in high school and college (as part of of an official team) have bad knee problems which they ascribe to their football days.

You know they don’t use it as much as they do in baseball, but refs can eject somebody for a particularly egregious violation. Also, this would be a great way to get the refs on your badside. There’s almost always a hold or a PI or some other infraction that could be called against you.

Reminds me on the referee who tells the cocky team that’s winning by 50 points, “hey I might not can make you lose - but I can make it close.”

The OP likely wouldn’t result in a penalty unless the whistle had already blown or the player does something like hit somebody in the head.

Former football ref here.

This would be an illegal contact penalty, Grumbing State retains possession and Weevil is penalized 10 yards from the previous line of scrimmage. Plus Grumbing State gets an automatic first down.

It would actually be a dead ball personal foul, 15 yards or half the distance and the player committing the foul would be automatically ejected.

Why would it be illegal contact? Once Grumbling State touches the punt, they are committing an illegal touch.

It’s not illegal for the Grumbling State player to touch the ball. If I was a referee and saw this happen, my first concern would be if the G State player interfered with the Weevil player’s protection zone, all punt returners are afforded a 2 yard buffer to catch the ball. If the Weevil player signals for a fair catch, G State players can’t touch the punt receiver. If there are no Weevil players in the area, G State players can catch the ball, causing it to be downed at that point or let the ball hit the ground then down it or let it roll dead. When I refereed some junior high level games, I saw instances where the coach of a team receiving a punt had no confidence in a player to return punt and would instead let the other team down the punts. Many times I saw a player from the punting team actually catch the punt, especially if this would down the ball deep in the opponents territory.

Ok - but here’s Evil Captor’s question: G state punts to Weevil. The Weevil return man stays away from the punt, and the G state player catches the ball on the 1 yard line. THEN the Weevil state return man (for inexplicable reasons) tackles / flattens the G State guy who downed the ball.

It’s a deadball foul, since the ball was downed when the G State player touched it. Since possession has been transferred to Weevil - the penalty would be 1/2 the distance to the goal. Which would be 1/2 a yard. Maybe the offending player would be ejected, maybe not.


First of all, the 2-yard buffer rule was removed from college football this year. And it didn’t exist in high school or the pros. The rule is you just can’t hit the receiver before the ball gets there.

The ball isn’t necessarily dead when the G state player touches it. The official would still have to blow the whistle.

There is evidence (I don’t have a cite, I forget where I read this) that the more padding you have the harder you hit resulting in more injuries.

Modern helmets, football and otherwise, aren’t based on the principle of absorbing an impact. If they were, then obviously the more padding you have the better they’d be. Rather, the principle involved is distributing and dispersing the force of impact.

The helmets used at most levels today (from the Pros down to kids at Pop Warner) have changed dramatically in the past three or four years. Research has shown that the majority of concussions are caused by blows to the jaw, so helmets like Riddell’s Revolution model come much lower on the jaw, almost down to the chin. Face masks have also been redesigned, specifically the number and location of contact points.

One of the other issues in helmet design is keeping the weight of the helmet as low as possible. If the helmets is too heavy it causes neck fatigue and can limit visibility and range of motion.

That’s the way I conceived it. I just thought 1/2 yard was a measelly penalty for tackling a guy when the ball isn’t it play. Apparently it is, but it doesn’t matter. It’s gotta be a very rare thing, so maybe it just isn’t worth worrying about, though I’ve noticed that when it comes to rules and stats, sports are always up for the game.

OK, so there’s other design considerations. Fair enough. I just figured that those hard shell helmets have to be responsible for a fair amount of knee injuries – would nailing someone on the knees with the helmet be considered spearing?

OK, those penalties sound reasonable.

Since we’re asking college football queations, can I ask the world’s dumbest?

What are red shirt freshmen? Did they attend Star Fleet Academy?