Happy Sunday Friends –
You most likely picked up from my profile picture that I follow football. Actually, I am more like a football fanatic with special attention to College Football (CFB). What is interesting about my football obsession is that it did not start until my junior and senior year of college when I would go to my now Alma Mater’s Football games at Marshall University. Furthermore, my extended family on my dad’s side is from Michigan which is why I am also a Michigan fan. I was fortunate enough to grow up in the era of Dernard Robinson with Rich Rodriguez’s spread style offense. For you football historians, this was the downfall of Michigan Football as we know it. However, it sure was fun to watch “Shoelace” run the entire football field with those quarterback designed run play calls.
Anyways, back to present day CFB and my issues and concerns with the refereeing. Is it me or are there more penalties and plays “under further review” in recent years than in past? The amount of yellow flags being thrown is starting to ruin the flow of the game, at least for me. Fortunately, we have data (facts) to help us determine if this is the case or not.
- In October 2015, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert reported in the first three weeks of NFL play that officials called more penalties (730 to be exact) than any other period in time within the league’s history. This figure did not include the additional 154 that were declined or offset.
- Coaches threw 43 percent more challenge flags in Week 3 of the 2015 season than in Week 3 of 2014.
- In 2017, the Associated Press (AP) reported that the CFB’s Bowl Subdivision saw a 73 percent increase in the number of targeting penalties enforced through the first three weeks of the season compared with the 2016 season
- This season (2018), Michigan has been penalized 46 times through five games, for an average of 84.20 yards per game (the most in the B1G)
WTF! Readers should note, ‘F” does not stand for “football.” It does appear that there are more penalties, right? We have the statistics to support my hypothesis. Well that is the funny thing about numbers and data, they only tell half of the story. A few things we must consider before we get too wound up over another holding call.
- We just completed the first month of football. The first few weeks of play, mistakes will be made. Players are making physical contact for the first time in months after a long off season.
- The Rules change. While I am not as up to speed on the NFL like I am with CFB, both leagues continue to work towards a safer game. The targeting statistic that I mentioned above is a positive change in the right direction. Helmet to helmet contact, especially for a defenseless player, should result in an ejection of the game. Tackling with with your shoulder is a fundamental step in learning to play football.
- Technology. As technology becomes more advanced, it WILL change the game. 30 years ago instant replay and video booth reviews were not even part of our vocabulary. This not only affects football, but other sports as well.
- I love Michigan football, but we are not a disciplined team at the moment. It feels like every touchdown, first down, or defensive tackle is accompanied with a yellow flag. I have come to expect it and I do not celebrate until the extra point is kicked. This is a result of bad coaching and poor preparation which is unacceptable, especially as the schedule gets tougher. We CANNOT continue to make these mistakes when we play Wisconsin, Penn State, Ohio later this fall.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Are there too many penalties or should we just let ’em play? Let me know in the comments section. In meantime enjoy your football, it really is the best time of the year.