California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Targeting Safety

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Football League (NFL) implemented a rule about four to five years ago that will both make the game of football safe and limit the likelihood of sustaining a concussion during the course of a game. The rule was introduced as the “targeting rule.”

The rule states that no player should target or initiate contact onto another player leading with the crown of his helmet, forearm, fist, elbow, or even shoulder of a defenseless player in the head or neck area. Everything below chest area is legal.

Since the rule has been in effect, it’s affected the game in somewhat of a negative way according to players and coaches of the defensive side of the ball.

NFL defenders will argue that the rule is too stiff because they receive a 15-yard penalty for violating the rule during the course of the game and the next day they are sent a hefty fine by the commissioner of the NFL.

College players will argue that not only do they get ejected from the game for violating the rule, but they are also subjected to being suspended for the following game.

“I understand where they are coming from because they want everyone to stay healthy and be able to play, but in the same sense there’s a lot of grey areas and a lot of times it’s out of the defensive player’s control if they hit him high. I feel that they shouldn’t be thrown out of a game or penalized too much because of that,” said Anthony Lugo, special teams coordinator and linebackers coach for the California Lutheran University football team.

The targeting rule also seems to slow down the players, especially defensive backs, and it also changes the game plans of the coaches leading up to the game.

“Nowadays coaches have to plan for that I feel and that’s something we have to roll with because at the end of the day you want to keep players safe,” Lugo said.

“The targeting rule is beneficial to the offensive side of the ball but not us. It slows the game down somewhat, especially for me since I play defensive back, and when you see a receiver coming down the middle the first thing running through your mind is the knockout shot, but at the same time I have to keep in mind of the rule because I can be ejected and suspended for the next game. I have to play smart but at the same time fast and with the same intensity,” said Roderick Adams, a defensive back for Troy University.

“I understand that they are trying to keep players safe during the course of the game, but in the same sense it’s causing defensive players to almost think before they hit an opposing player sometimes because they don’t want to be penalized and it’s never good to be thinking while a play is going on since it can have a negative impact on the game, being that you miss the tackle while thinking how your’e going to hit the opposing player and he runs in for a touchdown,” said Edward Davis, a former football player at Cal Lutheran.

NFL and NCAA football is played at a very fast pace and is never meant to be played a step slower. But with all the concussion complaints from ex-college and NFL players the rule is built around keeping both offensive and defensive players safe. Some defensive players lead with their head to make a tackle and that’s what each respective league is trying to eliminate to make it safer.

This rule seems like it will be in place for years to come.


Randall Shumpert

Staff Writer

Published on September 17, 2014

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