Author Topic: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation  (Read 2929 times)

Offline bawags06

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Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« on: October 04, 2017, 01:37:47 PM »
This was brought up at our association meeting last night. One of our WHs informed the group that a local coach told him that they always run out of a shotgun. In time-saving situations, the quarterback will stay in the shotgun, but a back lines up immediately behind the guard. On the snap, the quarterback throws the ball at the feet of the back, ostensibly throwing toward an area with an eligible receiver.

I argued that this is intentional grounding, as Rule 7-5-2(d) defines a pass intentionally thrown to save loss of yardage or to conserve time is an illegal forward pass, with the hand-to-hand snap exception.

The counterpoint was that it puts officials in the position of judging intent--to which I replied that we must, as there is a foul specifically called "intentional grounding." We determine that a quarterback dumped a ball out of bounds on purpose to avoid a sack, and this is substantially no different.

The play has not appeared on the field yet, just as a hypothetical so far. The issue is being sent up the chain for interpretation.

What say you?

Offline bossman72

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2017, 01:54:18 PM »
Things would be a lot easier if they just let the QB spike from shotgun...

Offline CalhounLJ

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Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2017, 01:59:14 PM »
This is a pet peeve of mine. We routinely ignore intentional grounding simply because a receiver is in the general vicinity.  I say it should not matter if it’s plainly apparent the qb is not trying to complete the pass. Having said that, this play satisfies that requirement. So, if you don’t throw a flag on a pass 20 yds over the receivers head oob, you shouldn’t throw one here either.


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Offline bawags06

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2017, 02:06:19 PM »
Things would be a lot easier if they just let the QB spike from shotgun...
I agree. I also believe the Fed should create rules that allow the passer to throw the ball away to avoid losing yards. We preach safety, but we want the quarterback to stand and take a hit when he can't find an open receiver. We need a legal throwaway scenario. It won't be fun to officiate, but it will be safer.


This is a pet peeve of mine. We routinely ignore intentional grounding simply because a receiver is in the general vicinity.  I say it should not matter if itís plainly apparent the qb is not trying to complete the pass. Having said that, this play satisfies that requirement. So, if you donít throw a flag on a pass 20 yds over the receivers head oob, you shouldnít throw one here either.

Well said. I think if the Fed develops a legal way to throw a pass away, we can better enforce intentional grounding when it happens.

Offline VALJ

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2017, 02:57:48 PM »
Things would be a lot easier if they just let the QB spike from shotgun...

Truth.  +1. 

Offline ChicagoZebra

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2017, 03:13:16 PM »
95% of HS coaches (and probably a not insignificant share of HS officials) believe you can throw the ball away if you are outside the tackle box anyways.  :sTiR:

Offline bawags06

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2017, 03:23:04 PM »
95% of HS coaches (and probably a not insignificant share of HS officials) believe you can throw the ball away if you are outside the tackle box anyways.  :sTiR:
And the number goes up as you drop in grade levels.

Rulebook Logic:
Pop Warner/Little Gridders: Play like we see on Sundays, except:
  • No rushing the A gaps.
  • Linebackers start 4 yards off the ball and can't blitz;
  • A coach is allowed on the field to help with alignment;
  • Covered receivers and numbering don't matter; and
  • Punts and place kicks are dead.

Other than that, just like Sunday. Oh... and the two or three-man officiating crew is responsible for keeping track of all of the extra rules too, not the coaches.

This is my last year doing youth games. Can you tell I'm over it?

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2017, 03:32:24 PM »
Well said. I think if the Fed develops a legal way to throw a pass away, we can better enforce intentional grounding when it happens.

Where is your logic leading?  The offensive team DECIDES whether or not to attempt a pass.  When the Defense responds well, and reduces the opportunity to complete a pass, the passer retains the option to advance the ball by "running" with it.  If he doesn't like that option, he also retains the choice of going to the ground (giving up).

Why would you suggest penalizing the Defense, for doing their job well, and allow the offense an excuse to avoid accepting the consequence of doing their job poorly?

NFHS 7-5-2d is not a difficult concept to understand; it prohibits, "a pass INTENTIONALLY THROWN INCOMPLETE to save loss of yardage or to conserve time" (while providing an exception following a hand-to-hand snap).  When a team CHOOSES to attempt to advance the ball by passing, they risk consequences.

Of course the offense can always DECIDE the potential consequence of attempting to pass, is not worth the risk, and choose to run the ball rather than risk passing.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 03:40:11 PM by AlUpstateNY »

Offline bawags06

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2017, 03:40:02 PM »
Where is your logic leading?  The offensive team DECIDES whether or not to attempt a pass.  When the Defense responds well, and reduces the opportunity to complete a pass, the passer retains the option to advance the ball by "running" with it.  If he doesn't like that option, he also retains the choice of going to the ground (giving up).

Why would you suggest penalizing the Defense, for doing their job well, and allow the offense an excuse to avoid accepting the consequence of doing their job poorly?

Of course the offense can always DECIDE the potential consequence of attempting to pass, is not worth the risk, and choose to run the ball rather than risk passing.

That is an extremely well thought out response, and it is definitely a valid argument for not allowing a throwaway pass. I would counter with the question of whether losing a down is enough of a consequence. The offense did not gain any yards and now has one less opportunity to make the line to gain. The offense losing a down is hardly penalizing the defense, though I understand your point.

With all of the other safety concerns, we only protect the quarterback after in the moments after he throws the ball. I get the distinction between a runner and the passer. We are now protecting defenders from blindside blocks and defenseless receivers from head shots, but a teenage quarterback must decide between taking a hit or sliding at the very last moment when his eyes are downfield?

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2017, 03:57:54 PM »
Football is, and will hopefully remain, a contest of(hopefully carefully balanced) competing (legal) advantages and disadvantages creating a need for planned and well executed measures and countermeasures.  Consequences are determined by rule makers, not rule enforcers.

A passer attempting to gain the advantage of passing the ball, accepts the responsibility, and potential consequences, of being prohibited from successfully doing so by an opponent who has (legally) managed to prevent him.  None of this has anything to do with "blindside blocks", "defenseless players", "head-shots" or any other excessive personal fouls or "cheap shots" which remain as serious penalties designed to protect any player in the act of passing.

Offline bawags06

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2017, 04:03:43 PM »
Football is, and will hopefully remain, a contest of(hopefully carefully balanced) competing (legal) advantages and disadvantages creating a need for planned and well executed measures and countermeasures.  Consequences are determined by rule makers, not rule enforcers.

I 100% agree with you in this regard, by the way. I was by no means suggesting that we should enforce the rules differently in regard to safety. And I call intentional grounding more than most officials I work with.

I was merely sparking the conversation on whether we felt the NFHS rule makers should reconsider how the existing rules are written. Until and unless they do, I will continue to enforce what is in the book.

For the record, I enjoy the philosophical element of the rules as much as the mechanics and the enforcement.

Cheers!  tiphat:

Online prab

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2017, 06:10:36 PM »
Where is your logic leading?  The offensive team DECIDES whether or not to attempt a pass.  When the Defense responds well, and reduces the opportunity to complete a pass, the passer retains the option to advance the ball by "running" with it.  If he doesn't like that option, he also retains the choice of going to the ground (giving up).

Why would you suggest penalizing the Defense, for doing their job well, and allow the offense an excuse to avoid accepting the consequence of doing their job poorly?

NFHS 7-5-2d is not a difficult concept to understand; it prohibits, "a pass INTENTIONALLY THROWN INCOMPLETE to save loss of yardage or to conserve time" (while providing an exception following a hand-to-hand snap).  When a team CHOOSES to attempt to advance the ball by passing, they risk consequences.

Of course the offense can always DECIDE the potential consequence of attempting to pass, is not worth the risk, and choose to run the ball rather than risk passing.

Although I find it scary to admit, I agree with AL 100% on this one!  +1

Offline Ralph Damren

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2017, 07:29:07 AM »
It appears that I'm taking the minority opinion on this :(....

When we added the spiking exception back in 1995 a major concern was if this would become a second choice after the QB deemed that all his receivers were covered. Allowing it only on a hand-to-hand snap appeared to reduce that possibility. Since then expanding the spike to the shotgun formation has came up several times including a couple for a final vote. While it is allowable in NCAA, it received a support setback this past year when it was learned the NFL has the same rule as we currently have.

Several times the "tackle box" rule has also appeared. IMHO, to allow a scrambling QB that is about to be sacked to dump the ball, is penalizing the defense.

IMHO, one of our jobs is promote an even balance between the offense and defense.

IMHO, one of the jobs at higher levels is to sell plenty of tickets and TV exposure. High-powered offense does that.

IMHO, spiking the ball = wanting to stop the clock = if done from shotgun = intentional grounding.

IMHO, these are only the opinions of a nervous ole' zebra worrying if the Red Sox (starting @ 4 EDT) will be over before the Patriots (starting @ 8 EDT).

 :sTiR: :sTiR: :sTiR: :sTiR: :sTiR:

Offline bossman72

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2017, 08:00:13 AM »
When we added the spiking exception back in 1995 a major concern was if this would become a second choice after the QB deemed that all his receivers were covered.

99% of HS QB's aren't that savvy.  Additionally, if it's not done immediately like the rule says, then it's a foul.

I agree with your assertion about ING.  Leave the rule the way it is.  Don't penalize the defense for a good play.

Offline FLAHL

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2017, 08:12:50 AM »


IMHO, these are only the opinions of a nervous ole' zebra worrying if the Red Sox (starting @ 4 EDT) will be over before the Patriots (starting @ 8 EDT).


Some people in my neighborhood are thinking that you might not enjoy watching the Pats game tonight.   :!#

Good luck with both of your teams.

Offline Ralph Damren

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2017, 11:03:48 AM »
Some people in my neighborhood are thinking that you might not enjoy watching the Pats game tonight.   :!#

Good luck with both of your teams.
Being a Tampa area transplant during some of the harsh Maine winter has caused me to enjoy the Buc's start. If I could only have one winner, today I'd choose the Sox.

Offline bama_stripes

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2017, 05:33:59 AM »
99% of HS QB's aren't that savvy.  Additionally, if it's not done immediately like the rule says, then it's a foul.

I agree with your assertion about ING.  Leave the rule the way it is.  Don't penalize the defense for a good play.

I'm in this camp also.  Many HS teams never line up under center nowadays.  And I'm confident that the WHs could tell whether the QB is trying to cheat,  rather than stop the clock.

Offline Ralph Damren

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Re: Spiking the ball from a shotgun formation
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2017, 08:46:05 AM »
Some people in my neighborhood are thinking that you might not enjoy watching the Pats game tonight.   :!#

Good luck with both of your teams.
My "Bay Bucs buddies" have something to cheer about as Winston and Martin should provide excitement.

My two wishes :
  (1) Pats could find an offensive line as 40 year olds don't bounce well.
  (2) Bucs could find a place kicker as a "reverse hat-trick" doesn't provide many wins.