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Competition Committee to consider adjusting 12 men penalty

New York Giants' Cruz and Manningham joke around backstage at the Grammys in Los Angeles Reuters

Following the 12 men on the field penalty called on the Giants late in the Super Bowl, Florio started banging the drum for the league to consider changes to the rule.

The Giants didn’t pull the move intentionally, but there is nothing stopping a team from sending 12 (or 15) defenders on a play late in the game to essentially waste time. There should be a mechanism in the rule that gives time back to the offense in late game situations.

The league wasn’t commenting on a possible change a few weeks ago, but Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports the Competition Committee will consider adjusting the rule to prevent teams from artificially burning clock.

Cole cautions changing the rule could be “very hard.” While Tom Coughlin may have discovered plutonium by accident, some enterprising coach could try to use the maneuver if the league doesn’t close the loophole.

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45 Responses to “Competition Committee to consider adjusting 12 men penalty”
  1. fitzmagic1212 says: Feb 22, 2012 1:01 PM

    i say 5 yard penalty and they put the clock back to what it was at when the play started.

  2. willyalistentothis says: Feb 22, 2012 1:02 PM

    It blows my mind that after a delay of game flag, they start running the game clock again. If my team was up by 10 with 5 minutes left, I might take 30 yards in penalties to run the clock down to the two minute warning.

  3. pbm984 says: Feb 22, 2012 1:03 PM

    I disagree with the idea that the rule should be changed to put time back on the clock. There seems to be an easier solution. Handle it similar to encroachment, and if the official sees it, blow the whistle and stop the play dead at that moment the snap is made. Don’t let the play go through, that way you don’t have issues with rewinding the clock.

  4. zaggs says: Feb 22, 2012 1:04 PM

    “There should be a mechanism in the rule that gives time back to the offense in late game situations.”

    So you would just have to take away that its a “free play”. The only problem here is that usually when there are 12 or more men on the field, there is confusion in the defense so the offense may have an easier go of it. So the offense gets screwed regardless.

  5. beavertonsteve says: Feb 22, 2012 1:13 PM

    As others have mentioned on here, the other possibility is the blatant tackling of all the receivers in the same situation. I can imagine Tom Brady looking down the field and instead seeing all of his guys being wrestled to the ground at the line of scrimmage.

  6. peezwizz says: Feb 22, 2012 1:13 PM

    Yeah, BB

  7. justinharbaugh says: Feb 22, 2012 1:15 PM

    Why don’t they just make any live ball penalty on the defense in the last 1:00 of each half subject to reverting the game clock back to to point when the ball was spotted?

  8. aequitas83 says: Feb 22, 2012 1:21 PM

    Simple – if there is a defensive penalty within the two minute warning of either half, the offensive team will have the opportunity to either accept the penalty and put time back on the clock, or decline and take the result of the play.

    That will also get rid of those stupid untimed downs.

  9. tonyt33 says: Feb 22, 2012 1:21 PM

    I believe Buddy Ryan deliberately sent too many many on the field at the end of a game when he was the coach of the Eagles. I believe he admitted to it and was fined. If it hasn’t caught in as a coaching tactic in 20+ years since he did it, I doubt it will now. They shouldn’t change the rule as there will always be a way to employ bad sportsmanship at the end of a game to try and hold onto a lead.

  10. deathmonkey41 says: Feb 22, 2012 1:23 PM

    The league will always consider a rule change as long as the play in question adversely effected the Patriots. Robert Kraft will get his puppet Goodall on a podium to talk about it one day soon.

  11. ravensgrl says: Feb 22, 2012 1:24 PM

    They definitely need to fix this rule before someone takes full advantage of the way its working now.

  12. doowix says: Feb 22, 2012 1:28 PM

    Make the 12 men on the field penalty convert to an unsportsmanlike conduct 15-yard/automatic first down penalty if it occurs inside the final 2 minutes of either half.

    You could still do it, but the penalty would be more significant.

  13. bunkmcnulty says: Feb 22, 2012 1:28 PM

    These are all real good comments, but you all missed the obvious…

    …who are dudes in the photo? I must be missing something.

  14. dondada10 says: Feb 22, 2012 1:29 PM

    And my understanding (as per Boomer and Carton) is that if too many men on the field is committed twice in a row, with intent, it’s an automatic touchdown.

    I found that fascinating.

  15. Ryan Lesko says: Feb 22, 2012 1:32 PM

    “justinharbaugh says:
    Feb 22, 2012 1:15 PM
    Why don’t they just make any live ball penalty on the defense in the last 1:00 of each half subject to reverting the game clock back to to point when the ball was spotted?”

    This. Except 2:00.

    To others: you can’t presnap call a penalty for 12 men on the field. Stop suggesting it. Defenses have until the ball is snapped to make substitutions. It would be impossible to enforce a presnap 12 men on the field call.

  16. tdk24 says: Feb 22, 2012 1:32 PM

    What ever happened to ethics?

  17. coutre says: Feb 22, 2012 1:33 PM

    The Giants cheated to win.

  18. bunjy96 says: Feb 22, 2012 1:35 PM

    No matter when it happens, the offense shouldn’t lose time on the clock.

  19. vikescry1 says: Feb 22, 2012 1:36 PM

    While there at it they should consider looking at the fake injurie’s on defense that the giants are known for aswell. I mean I know the sayin goes if u ain’t cheatin u ain’t tryin. But the giants seem to be tryin pretty hard lately. Now maybe it was an accident or maybe not. But in the future it would make more sense to penalize that team by giving 5 or 10 yards to the offense and put the clock back to its start time of the previous play. And before the giants fans get there pantie’s in a bunch, didn’t u have a game a year ago that 3 defensive guy’s all fell down at the same time and only 1 guy missed 1 play? yeah I thought so.

  20. rmc1995 says: Feb 22, 2012 1:43 PM

    Coughlin got lucky. It was a free play and allowed the Patriots to take a shot. Brady could have taken a knee and gotten 5 yards with mininmal time off thethe clock. Playing 12 or 15 guys would result in an illegal participation penalty of 15 yards. Why not just have players on the bench tackle an open runner going up the sideline if that 12th man is only worth a 5 yard penalty? It is illegal participation. Same with playing a down with 12the participating, not one trying to get off the field. This would work on the goal line where the penalty would be small, but if a ref sees the defense is purposely adding more players on defense he currently has the authority to stop the clock and force the extra players off the field. No new rule needs to be made, only reinforcement to refs they have the authority to do so.

  21. headhuntin11 says: Feb 22, 2012 1:44 PM

    It’s the end of the Polish Defense!!

    http://smartfootball.com/defense/buddy-ryans-polish-goalline-tactic

  22. trigzter says: Feb 22, 2012 1:46 PM

    it doesn’t really make much sense having time run off for defensive penalties, period.

  23. greatminnesotasportsmind says: Feb 22, 2012 1:47 PM

    I clicked on this link for a 2009 season 2010 Vikings NFC championship game cheap shot. Oh well

  24. battlered says: Feb 22, 2012 1:47 PM

    Why are we acting like this is some new idea in football? Buddy Ryan was doing this exact same trick in the early 90s called the Polish Defense. So the competition committee hasn’t done anything about it for 20 years, but now we will?

  25. eezyxyz says: Feb 22, 2012 1:48 PM

    I guess I’m still not following what the problem is. If the concern is that teams will deliberately put more than 11 men on the field then I would simply spike the ball on offense to stop the clock and collect a free 5 yards every time. Surely the option to simply spike the ball on offense is the solution to the possibility of teams deliberately fielding more than 11 players?

  26. neilpountney says: Feb 22, 2012 1:49 PM

    Pretty simple fix call it an unsportsmanlike 15 yard penalty and treat it as a dead ball foul!

  27. jenniferxxx says: Feb 22, 2012 1:51 PM

    That 12th Giants player was in the process of running off the field by the way … he wasn’t involved in the play.

    The NFL needs to stop over-reacting.

  28. sportsmeccabi says: Feb 22, 2012 2:03 PM

    I say don’t change it, make the other teams opposing defense hold the offense from scoring. I hate watching when the defense allows the offense to just score so they can get the ball back.

  29. jpb12 says: Feb 22, 2012 2:03 PM

    Game can’t end on a defensive penalty.
    Offense would still be entitled to an untimed play.

    Too much tinkering with the rules. The game is not broken and doesn’t need this constant ‘fixing’.

  30. haileli says: Feb 22, 2012 2:23 PM

    coutre says: Feb 22, 2012 1:33 PM

    The Giants cheated to win.

    ————————————————–

    Elaborate.

  31. deeppurple23 says: Feb 22, 2012 2:43 PM

    When Buddy Ryan was a DC he would exploit this rule all the time. If the officials missed it, oh well, if they stopped the play and were caught, oh well. Either way the time moved on and the game ended usually without the other team scoring. He usually waited until less than a minute, but it was still done.

    It’s time for a change.

  32. all4patriots says: Feb 22, 2012 2:49 PM

    I don’t see how it needs to be complicated. Here’s the rule I propose:

    “When the defense commits a too many men on the field penalty with under 2 minutes left on the clock in either half, the offensive team has the option to accept the penalty (or not) and to have the time clock adjusted to the time left when the ball was snapped (or not).”

    Two decisions for the offense: do you take the penalty? If yes, do you take the time back?

    If it likely to be yes and yes, unless they converted the “free play” for a bigger gain.

    Why is it needed? If a defender can let time run off the clock by committing a 5 yard penalty, why not do it in the scenario where time much more valuable than a few yards? Nobody is saying the Giants did that, just that it is a loophole that COULD be misused.

    You could say that it should be applied to other defensive penalties as well, but I say only apply it to 12-men on the field, since that penalty occurs at the snap of the ball anyway. For example if there is a long play ending with a horse collar tackle, the offense should get the 15 yards but the time back, since the tackle did not take place at the snap, obviously.

  33. jetblackninja says: Feb 22, 2012 2:49 PM

    If they don’t change this, Belichick will not just use it, he will put it in the playbook and practice it.

  34. rooney24 says: Feb 22, 2012 2:53 PM

    Game can’t end on a defensive penalty.
    Offense would still be entitled to an untimed play.

    Too much tinkering with the rules. The game is not broken and doesn’t need this constant ‘fixing’.

    —————
    I don’t think some of you understand the problem. If the defense has more than 11 guys on the field, they have an unfair advantage. That advantage is greater to them than the loss of 5 yards is a help to the offense (especially if the offense also loses time off the clock). In this case, the play in question wasn’t the last play, so your first point is moot.

    To take this to an extreme, to try to clarify the point. Assume the offense gets the ball on their own 20 with 30 seconds left. The defense throws 15 guys on the field. Nearly impossible for the offense to gain any yardage. Sure, they get 5 yards, but at the expense of 8 seconds it takes to run the play. A few plays later, there are 6 seconds left, you are still only at your 35, and have to try a Hail Mary. Without the extra guys, you may have gotten some completions and been at the other teams 25; much better position. If you can’t get why the concern from that extreme example, you never will.

    The problem with the “just spike the ball”, is that the spike still loses you a second or two, depending on the clock operator. And, if the refs happen to not see it, you wasted a down and time for nothing. Your team can’t challenge it at that point to prove the defense had 12 guys. Plus, at that point, a QB should be doing something other than counting defensive players (like reading the defense) in the hopes they have 12.

  35. war27 says: Feb 22, 2012 3:08 PM

    Remember last month when you posted how they hadn’t planned to look into it yet because the rules committee wasn’t open for business yet?

    I said it was a non story until they were ready to look at the rules…yeah.

  36. klunge says: Feb 22, 2012 3:08 PM

    bunkmcnulty says:
    Feb 22, 2012 1:28 PM
    …who are dudes in the photo? I must be missing something.
    ————————————————–

    It’s Cruz & Manningham at the Grammys.

  37. jnbnet says: Feb 22, 2012 3:19 PM

    jenniferxxx says:
    Feb 22, 2012 1:51 PM
    That 12th Giants player was in the process of running off the field by the way … he wasn’t involved in the play.

    =================================

    They have to try and make it look good….like when two of them fell down at the same time…one of them had to get up

  38. bubbleboy74 says: Feb 22, 2012 3:45 PM

    I could never understand how after a play clock has run all the way down and the game clock is ticking, then a penalty is called, that the play clock and game clock begin to run again. Theoretically, one could run over a minute off the game clock without even running a play. That makes no sense.

  39. pftstory says: Feb 22, 2012 4:14 PM

    I dont see the issue. The Patriots got a free down. If the Giants got a turnover the Pats get five yards and the ball. The Pats get a TD they get the TD. The play was run, the time runs. The clock stops due to the penalty.

    Teams are not going to line up 15 on defense for the purpose of having extra pass rushers without losing any defensive backs or anything like that. Sure you give up 5 yards for X seconds off the clock, and in the last 2 minutes time is what matters. But there is a line of respect for self, the coaching fraternity and respect for the game. They are not going to do even 12 on purpose.

    Before you start crying about fake injuries or filming signals…. The fake injuries is in every teams “playbook” Its like the phantom tag or drawing the offensive foul call. Filming a teams signals during a game is no different then having the backup QB who used to play for the opponent yell out the calls or learning the calls or reading lips of the coach during the game. If you are too stupid to disgiuse them that is your fault.

    So throw in a rule for the fun of it, 15 yards if you have too many men after 2 minutes. But dont think you fixed a major flaw by doing so.

  40. havok82 says: Feb 22, 2012 4:20 PM

    At the end of the day, I don’t think the Giants did it intentionally, but with them faking injuries you never know. It’s not like the players on that team aren’t used to bending the rules and, as mentioned, it has been done before in a game. Someone like Coughlin who has a rich understanding of the history of the NFL would know that.

    There are a couple penalties that need re-working and this is one of them. It should be, as others have stated, active in the last 2 minutes of either half. You get the result of the play or 5 yards and time back on the clock. If it’s more than 12 men, it’s 15 yards and time back on the clock. The other penalty that needs tweaking is OPI/DPI. If the offense commits a penalty to prevent a pick, it’s only 10 yards. If a defender commits a penalty to prevent a TD, it’s a spot foul. You either have to go the college route and do 15 yards or keep the spot foul but make OPI harsher (10 yards and loss of down like grounding).

  41. CKL says: Feb 22, 2012 4:28 PM

    They need to fix the penalty for PI. I won’t hold my breath on that though. Being either a HC or a defensive player in today’s NFL is much much harder than it needs to be.

  42. thomas2727 says: Feb 22, 2012 5:10 PM

    I say 5 yards for the 12th man and 15 additional yards for each man thereafter, 13, 14 etc.

    The clock also rolls back to the pre snap time if there are less than two minutes in the game.

  43. rooney24 says: Feb 22, 2012 5:17 PM

    The problem with the college PI is that you can just tackle a guy that gets behind you, especially late in a game, and only give up 15 yards, even if he was breaking free for a 30 yard gain and/or a TD.

    Maybe it should be spot foul or half the distance, whichever is further from the end zone. So, if at the opponents’ 40 and you interfere at the 5, the ball goes to the 20 instead of the 5. It might require a little math in some cases, but you already have a ref in the replay booth, he could have a calculator ready as well.

  44. all4patriots says: Feb 22, 2012 9:30 PM

    pftstory said:
    Teams are not going to line up 15 on defense… there is a line of respect for self, the coaching fraternity and respect for the game. They are not going to do even 12 on purpose.
    ————-

    News flash: It has been done before, on purpose, by Buddy Ryan, and was called the Polish Defense. See the link earlier in the comments.

  45. djstat says: Feb 23, 2012 12:27 PM

    The problem is if you change the rule then it benefits one team because you have a free play or the penalty plus the time. 12 men on the field should be a dead ball 5 yard foul

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