UTTLEY: Plays that belong in a museum

In an era where safety has been made the priority, we no longer see defenceless players on either side of the ball being hit and/or blindsided. The days of the tourist shots are over. We’ve also seen considerable efforts being made by defensive coaches to lower the target zone. Players are no longer using their helmet as the primary point of contact or aiming for the opponent’s head. We see this spirit of safety to the point where defensive players in the NFL can no longer land on quarterbacks – a technique that was taught for decades. I’m sure this same philosophy will carry over to the NCAA and CFL in the upcoming years.

This commitment to safety has also pushed into the special teams area as the rules for kickoffs have changed dramatically. The ability to (in the 4-down game) fair catch any sort of kick has aided in the safety of kickoff returners. They have even gone so far as to modify how a team would carry out an onside kick in an effort to stem the number of high intensity collisions.

However, in my four years as a high school football coach, which were preceded by 15 years as a university coach, some of the most dangerous plays that I have witnessed both in university and now more often in high school, also deserve that same level of attention and evaluation. I honestly think there should be a specific penalty for all variations of the three plays I am going to discuss in this article; crack screens, defensive linemen cutting offensive lineman on every play, and blindside shots on return teams.


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