Daffy NFL and Judo questions

I do Judo and like to watch football, and recently had two ideas relating the two.

First is probably easier to handle, as it may be answerable by someone with a copy of NFL rules. (It seems that the NFL rulebook is not online, true?) The question concerns the actions of a defensive player (most likely a cornerback). As I understand the rules, a defensive player may not hold and offensive player. I want to know if "holding " is defined to mean with one’s hand . Also, tripping is illegal. Does the leg that is accused of doing the tripping have to be on the ground, or does any action of a defensive player’s leg that impedes an offensive constitue tripping?

What I had in mind is this: There is a throw in judo called kani basami. Here is a diagram of the throw, and here is a picture of throw
If a defensive player were to do this to a wide receiver, would it be a penalty? Whether or not it would be possible or practicable is not the question.

I will ask about the practicality of the second item: a “leg-grip” tackle. One often sees missed tackles where a player attempts to grab an opponent, and his grip comes off, or is pushed off by the offensive player. In Judo, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu there is a position known as “the guard” in BJJ and ??? in Judo (I can’t find it’s name right now in my Judo books. It is less important in Judo… for reasons I won’t go into now). It involves grabbing around your opponents waist with your legs when you are lying on your back. In regards to football my question is this: Could it ever be a good move to attempt to tackle the ball carrier by grabbing on to him with your hands and then jumping to scissor his waist with your legs and hang on with them also. I believe this is contrary to usual tackling theory which would indicate to keep your legs on the ground to power a drive into the opponent and just wrap with the arms. I believe that this “Judo tackle” might be called for when a tackler has no teamates near enough to help and he must stop a touchdown. There are probably a lot of players that could continue to run with a (< 200 lb.) defensive back clinging to them, but it would slow them down, perhaps enough for a teammate to make a complete tackle. By grabbing with both hands and legs, there might be a lesser possibilty of missing the tackle, or being straight-armed off by the ball carrier, and thus it might be useful in cases where a “higher-probablility tackle that results in more yardage gained” is called for.

What think ye?

Um, I don’t have a NFL rulebook sitting in front of me, but I’m pretty damn sure that would be a penalty. If they don’t have a name for it exactly, they’d call it a illegal block or personal foul.

The NFL is pretty careful about what kind of contact it allows.

But thats just a WAG.

  1. Any contact with an eligible receiver more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage, that is not incidental to the common pursuit of the ball, is pass interference. It’s got nothing to do with hands.

There is also a rule against holding opposing linemen (usually called on the offensive team), and I’m pretty sure that this breaks that, too.

  1. I can’t really comment on this, but I suspect it’s impossible to get a decent scissor on a runner you can’t even get a grip on.

I’m very sure the first item is not in the spirit of football, so if it were possible by the rules, the rules would be changed as soon as possible, perhaps by some “emergency ruling of the commisioner” the week after it was done. I just want to know if as the rules now stand, it is illegal.

I should have said this explicitly: The defender scissors right at the snap, when the receiver is within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.

  1. Your legs are longer than your arms and have more reach.
  2. As a defender is stiff-armed in his upper body, he may pivot around his center of mass bringing his lower extremities closer to the ball-carrier

Well, you have good luck doing that.

NFL’s “Digest of Rules” (http://ww2.nfl.com/fans/rules/penaltysummaries.html) has

(10 yard penalties)

  1. Tripping by a member of either team.

(15 yard penalties)

  1. Clipping below the waist.
  2. Unnecessary roughness.
  3. Unsportsmanlike conduct.
  4. Illegal low block.
  5. Leverage.

(and 15 years with possible ejection from game)

  1. Kicking or kneeing opponent.
  2. Malicious unnecessary roughness.
  3. Unsportsmanlike conduct.
  4. Palpably unfair act. (Distance penalty determined by the Referee after consultation with other officials.)

Er, 15 years = 15 yards. But still no possibility of probation. :-p

The defense can only hold on to an offensive player if he is trying to get to the ballcarrier.

If he is holding an offensive player who is trying to run a pattern to catch or pass or to allow a teammate to run through a gap, then it’s a penalty.

As for what is “holding”, it’s one of those things that officials know when they see it. It varies widely. Being thrown to the ground is usually a tipoff.

I found an on-line listing of NFL rules: http://www.sultans.boun.edu.tr/rules/rules.htm

Interesting, I don’t often surf around to find the homepages of American football teams that play in Turkey.

One thing to watch out for is that this rule book is from 2000 and the NFL tinkers with its rules quite a bit.

With that caveat, well done djbdjb

I didn’t even know there was a leverage penalty. How does that work?

“Leverage” is using the body of one player to push off to get higher in the air in an attempt to block a kick.

Er, yea, that shouldn’t be on there. :slight_smile:

<-- Putz

It seems to that action #1 may not be tripping, as defined, as it could happen entirely above the knee, nor holding, since I thought I saw a definition of it that specified holding must be with the hand (I can’t seem to find that now)


Tripping is the use of the leg or foot in obstructing any opponent (including a runner) below the knee (12-1-3).

Rule 12, Article 3 No player on offense may push or throw his body against a teammate either: © to trip an opponent;
However, this article seems to provide a catch-all that would stop
kani basami:

Article 4 A defensive player may not tackle or hold any opponent other than a runner. Otherwise, he may use his hands, arms, or body only to defend or protect himself against an obstructing opponent in an attempt to reach a runner
What about wrapping legs around the ball carrier?

Here’s an excerpt from Rule 12 section 2 article 8:

Unnecessary roughness includes:

While the Judo tackle may not technically involve touching with the foot, I’d bet most refs would consider it close enough to throw the flag.

Because the rulebook contains this note:

Another point is that a tackle like this would probably be pretty ineffective, as it requires the defender to leave their feet, which is something you never want to do, as it leaves you unable to react to any move the runner might make.

I suggest you try and find someone who can run fairly fast and is reasonably strong, I realize you probably don’t have access to NFL caliber folks, but get as close as possible. Then try this manuever, the one about using your legs as well as your arms in a tackle.

Let us know what you discover.

My guess: it happens REALLY fast and while you’re doing it, you’re really a lot more worried about surviving and your legs kinda fend for themselves.

One thing people who haven’t played football never seem to grasp about tackling. You have two men who are both standing (running) and by the end, they’re both on the ground. There’s usually an impact and you both fall from your full standing height. This hurts and is not a lot of fun, even when you’ve done it thousands of time. I’ve had martial arts training and I know how to fall correctly and minimize damage, but I still don’t like it very much. And that’s a controlled fall. Football tackles are an extremely uncontrolled fall.

I think A) you would definitely get called for a penalty. It might take them a while to figure out which one to hit you with, but I don’t think there’s any doubt you’d get penalized. And, B) you’d probably break one or both legs if you had them wrapped around someone else when he fell on them. Maybe you’d be lucky, and just dislocate both knees, though.

I think you’d be hard-pressed to execute a kani basami on a player who is running. Generally, kani basami is executed when your opponent is either standing still, changing directions, or otherwise moving fairly slowly. If you were to attempt it on a person who is just starting run full tilt AT YOU, I think you’d get run over.

Football is also a game where a single ill-advised action can greatly affect the outcome of the game. Even if there were not several applicable rules against such a maneuver, it would only have to fail once for the intended receiver to become quite alone in the section of the field that the defender was assigned to. I’m guessing it would fail a large percentage of the time at that.

IMO as a life-long football fan, djbdjb, the refs would probably call you for defensive holding. 5 yards and automatic first down.
As for grabbing onto a running player and scissors-locking him, I suspect just about all NFL backs are strong enough to keep running – hell, I’ve seen some guys gain 3-4 yards with 3-4 players hanging on – and I imaging your coach is going to chew out your ass for not preventing a big gain. I admit you might slow down the back, but that might give a speedy receiver time to dash by and get a lateral and then it’s six points.

I do like your imaginative approach to the game, though.