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intercepting the snap to become illegal in Fed!

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Bob Goodman
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You may not ordinarily think of the defense as having a shot at intercepting the snap, but this is definitely a consider'n against the type of snap where the ball is slung wide and shallow to a player well off to one side.  It always made sense to position a defender on the line midway between the snapper and the wide player threatening to receive the snap, and go for the interception.  To counter the possibility that the defense might even deflect the snap, either the player receiving the snap has to be deep enough, or the snap has to be thrown hard enough, that the defender can't reach it, or to lob the snap enough to get over such a defender.  Lining up deeper and lobbing the snap have the defect of making the play hit slower, while throwing the snap harder increases the chance of its not being fielded cleanly.

However, Federation rules define the snap as not ending until it touches a player or the ground.  The press release on Fed rule changes says it's going to be called encroachment if a player on defense touches the ball before the snap ends; obviously that must mean before it would otherwise end, because it does end if he touches it, and it would be silly to say you're making a rule change that would never apply.  So this method of defending against a wide-thrown snap becomes illegal.  Now the snap becomes a free pass, and all the above considerations that would otherwise constrain how you might want to line up for such a play on either offense or defense go out the window.

Not only that, but suppose the snap goes to a naked flanker just barely in the backfield.  If he's looking the snap into his hands, is a defending player allowed to hit him with anything but a hands technique, or is the receiver a defenseless or blind-sided opponent until he has possession?


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bignose
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I believe that the intent of this rule was to prevent a quick handed nose from slapping at the ball as it was being snapped.

Just another example of not thinking things all the way thru and leaving way too much leeway for the officials to misinterpret the rule.

You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles!


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PSLCOACHROB
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We had a kid do that a bunch of years back. We got flagged but nobody could find anything saying it was illegal.


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Bob Goodman
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I believe that the intent of this rule was to prevent a quick handed nose from slapping at the ball as it was being snapped.

I'm pretty sure you're right about that.  But someone might think, yeah, maybe they do want it to be a free pass.  That's kind of like the situation with American 7s, where they abolished the snap entirely, allowing a free start of scrimmage plays.

Just another example of not thinking things all the way thru and leaving way too much leeway for the officials to misinterpret the rule.

In this case I'm afraid, if the wording is as it would appear from the press release, that officials who would turn the snap into a free pass, they would not be misinterpreting it, but simply calling it as the rule clearly reads.  It's not unclear -- just hasty, short-sighted, half-baked.  NCAA's rules & interpret'ns handle this situation the way Fed's rules committee probably want to -- in NCAA, the snap ends when the ball leaves the snapper's hands -- but Fed's football rules committee lately seems to want to appear to not be copying NCAA.  So they adopt stooopid language & provisions and make for difficult rulings.  The Baltimore chop free kick -- why not adopt NCAA's rule or something very close to it?  Same when Fed tried to get cute by adopting an NCAA-like rule regarding the kicking team's formation, but not NCAA's language, so instead officials would theoretically have to keep track of complicated movement of teammates left & right of the kicker.


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jrk5150
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We had a kid do that a bunch of years back. We got flagged but nobody could find anything saying it was illegal.

I think the issue is that it is pretty much physically impossible to react to the snap legally and still get to it.  Humans don't react that quickly.

My guess is it was influenced by a game this past year that got a lot of attention, I saw it on Huey's.  Team lost a big game when the other team batted a snap out of the center's hands, refs let it stand.  Was pretty obvious on film that the N was across the ball before it moved.


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davecisar
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We had a kid do that a bunch of years back. We got flagged but nobody could find anything saying it was illegal.

We had this happen to us WAY back at a tourney in Kansas City about 1988
We talked to the refs- there was no rule against it
We were I option back then and our Center got schooled- all flustered- we were the better team fundamentally and lost

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.Winston Churchill


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Bob Goodman
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The Baltimore chop free kick -- why not adopt NCAA's rule or something very close to it?

I thought of another problem with Fed's announced change on this subject: There are going to be a lot of unclear cases.  Someone attempts an onside kick, doesn't try to drive the ball immediately into the ground to pop it up, but say it does take its 1st bounce close to where it was teed up, and does produce a high bounce.  Officials have to rule immediately whether it's illegal procedure (ball remaining dead); once they start following the ball's subsequent trajectory, it's too late to kill the play.  How are officials to see whether that ball is kicked in the manner that was outlawed?  Chalk-fill a small circle around where the ball was teed up, and see if chalk is kicked up?

The kinds of plays where the kicking team interfered with the receiving team before the ball crossed their line had already been made illegal recently, but apparently the knock was that on a Baltimore chop coming down close to R's line, such interference was often a bang-bang play such that the officials couldn't see whether a touch on the ball occurred 1st.  So Fed is subbing one tough call -- including a judgment component on the style of kick -- for another.

It's be a lot easier to rule on this, and less of a risk to the kicking team, if Fed amended the definition of "catch" to include recovery of an opponent's kick that bounced no more than once and only in the neutral zone.  That way they wouldn't need to concern the officials with how close to the spot of the kick the ball bounced, or whether it was popping up enough.  They'd probably (though I'm not sure) want to take away the choice of a free kick if a fair catch were made off one of those 1-bounce jobs.

Or -- but this is getting farther away from the way it seems the American code-keepers want to go -- they could apply Canadian rules to free kicks.  The receiving team would not have to be given opp'ty to catch the ball, but the kicking team could only play the ball until it's touched.  There could still be collisions incidentally between opposing players making a bona fide play for the ball, and the receiving team could still block while the ball was loose.


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Bob Goodman
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I think the issue is that it is pretty much physically impossible to react to the snap legally and still get to it.  Humans don't react that quickly.

They don't have to if the snapper has a "tell" & doesn't know it.


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jrk5150
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Doesn't matter if there's a tell or not.  You really can't get to the snap without your hand crossing BEFORE the snap starts.  Realistically can't be done without the center snapping extremely slowly.


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PSLCOACHROB
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Doesn't matter if there's a tell or not.  You really can't get to the snap without your hand crossing BEFORE the snap starts.  Realistically can't be done without the center snapping extremely slowly.

We got flagged for trying. We didn't teach it as that is not something we would do.


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jrk5150
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This is an unfortunate unintended consequence of the Fed not trusting/training its referees.  It's just as easy to issue a decision that it is always a flag for the snap to be interfered with, but no, they have to write a rule to avoid refs going rogue with it and insisting some kid had ninja like reflexes or some such nonsense.

Dumb.


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PSLCOACHROB
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This is an unfortunate unintended consequence of the Fed not trusting/training its referees.  It's just as easy to issue a decision that it is always a flag for the snap to be interfered with, but no, they have to write a rule to avoid refs going rogue with it and insisting some kid had ninja like reflexes or some such nonsense.

Dumb.

Had a ref tell that it said nowhere in the rules that a center can't bend down, spin the ball and stand straight back up again(releasing the ball). Showing him the snap infraction rules did not help my cause. Not even a little. The kid in question had ninja like reflexes. SUPER quick. He might of been able to do it but he was much better just firing off the ball and disrupting the play. If the center was not a good athlete this kid would ruin him.


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Bob Goodman
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Doesn't matter if there's a tell or not.  You really can't get to the snap without your hand crossing BEFORE the snap starts.  Realistically can't be done without the center snapping extremely slowly.

I don't think that's true.  If your hand is very close to the ball to begin with, your jab has to be only a little faster than the snapper's pulling or swinging motion, especially if the snapper's form is using only shoulder motion and trying to keep the elbow & wrist at the same angle they started at.  Even less so if the snapper's stepping forward with the snap, because that reduces the net backward speed of the ball.

Not only that, but if there's a really good tell, you can start your motion toward the ball before the snapper starts moving the ball.  You're timing your approach to the neutral zone the same way a kicking team player times his run-up to the kick.

Try it in the hallway if you don't believe it.  Get a countdown from a timer so you both know exactly when the ball's to be snapped.  Switch off to find out which of you is faster than the other.  But have someone taking the snap so the snapper can't just count any backward movement of the ball as a good snap.


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Bob Goodman
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We got flagged for trying. We didn't teach it as that is not something we would do.

Any particular reason why not?


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Bob Goodman
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This is an unfortunate unintended consequence of the Fed not trusting/training its referees.  It's just as easy to issue a decision that it is always a flag for the snap to be interfered with, but no, they have to write a rule to avoid refs going rogue with it and insisting some kid had ninja like reflexes or some such nonsense.

Dumb.

It's dumb, but I don't see what it has to do with not trusting officials.  NCAA instituted such a rule some time ago.  Seems NCAA's rule makes for one less thing officials have to look for.


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