Author Topic: Helmet to helmet  (Read 284 times)

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Offline southarkumpire

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Helmet to helmet
« on: November 01, 2021, 01:32:10 PM »
Video is too large to attach.  However....tackler and ball carrier BOTH lower their heads and SIMULTANEOUSLY make helmet to helmet contact with top of the helmets.  Is it a foul?  And what is the difference in NFHS and NCAA in interpretation of "helmet to helmet"?

Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Helmet to helmet
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2021, 02:22:44 PM »
Video is too large to attach.  However....tackler and ball carrier BOTH lower their heads and SIMULTANEOUSLY make helmet to helmet contact with top of the helmets.  Is it a foul?  And what is the difference in NFHS and NCAA in interpretation of "helmet to helmet"?

Since you specifically ask about NCAA, there is no strict prohibition against contact made "helmet-to-helmet." Players often make contact with an opponent's helmet with their own helmets, i.e., facemask to facemask, side of helmet to opponent's helmet, etc. Such contact is being made constantly by opponents of both teams. Helmet-to-helmet contact is not, inherently, a foul.
The two fouls of note in NCAA are the two types of targeting, one of which - 9-1-3 - requires that a player 'attack' an opponent with 'forcible contact' with the crown of his own helmet, into any - ANY - part of the opponent's person, and that there must be an 'indicator' (a launch; upward thrust; lowering of the head; leading with the head). This is what we always used to call "spearing." And this rule applies to any opponent - not just the ball carrier (BC).
The other is 9-1-4, in which a player makes forcible contact to the head/neck area of a 'defenseless' opponent, with an indicator (as previously described). There is a long list of what makes a player 'defenseless.' A BC is NOT defenseless. So, just because a tackler makes hard contact with his own helmet, to the helmet of the BC (even the star QB), if that contact is NOT with the crown of the helmet, the contact is legal. However, a player attempting to catch a pass or a punt, for example, is 'defenseless,' and that same forcible contact to the head-neck area of that receiver, with an indicator, would be targeting. Note that 9-1-4 targeting does not require that contact by the attacking player be with the head/helmet. It could be with any part of the attacker's body - hand(s), arms(s), shoulder, knee(s), leg(s), foot/feet.
Yes, we roll our eyes every time we hear coaches/fans screaming about "helmet-to-helmet." Not necessarily a problem, Coach. When it IS a problem, Coach, we'll get it.

Offline ncwingman

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Re: Helmet to helmet
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2021, 04:05:19 PM »
NFHS rules on the matter are not that dissimilar to the NCAA rules. "Helmet to helmet" contact is not itself a foul, however lowering the helmet to initiate contact with the crown of the helmet is spearing which is a foul. If you spear somebody in the helmet, that can also be targeting. Unlike the NCAA, targeting is not an automatic ejection in NFHS (and obviously no video review) -- but either spearing or targeting can be flagrant and worthy of ejection on their own (spearing does not have to be targeting to warrant an ejection as you could spear somebody in the chest, for instance).

Obviously without the video, I can't make any definitive claims as to a specific play, but you could call illegal helmet contact on either or both players for spearing, and possibly eject one or both players for the action as well. If player A lowers his head and spears an opponent, it shouldn't be cancelled out by the fact that player B committed the same foul simultaneously against player A.

Offline bama_stripes

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Re: Helmet to helmet
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2021, 04:13:53 PM »
Video is too large to attach.  However....tackler and ball carrier BOTH lower their heads and SIMULTANEOUSLY make helmet to helmet contact with top of the helmets.  Is it a foul?  And what is the difference in NFHS and NCAA in interpretation of "helmet to helmet"?

There has been an ongoing effort for the last decade or so to encourage players and coaches to get the head out of the game.  If the contact was truly simultaneous, Id probably have double PFs, replay the down.

Its unlikely in this scenario that either player was intending to injure the other, so probably no EJ.