NFL to consider targeting rule similar to college football

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The NFL will consider a targeting rule similar to college football, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent said today via Judy Battista of NFL Media.

Vincent also said the NFL will discuss a punishment schedule for “non-football acts” such as Rob Gronkowski‘s late hit on Bills defensive back Tre’Davious White.

The NFL’s obvious goal is to make the game safer, with the Competition Committee discussing those rules changes and others in the offseason.

The NCAA implemented a targeting rule 10 seasons ago, though it didn’t make player ejections part of the penalty until 2013. The NFL Competition Committee approved automatic ejections for egregious hits to the head this offseason, but even illegal hits to the head by Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan, Gronkowski, Bengals safety George Iloka and Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso didn’t result in an ejection.

The NCAA’s targeting rule includes a 15-yard penalty and an ejection, though it includes an automatic review that allows the replay official to overturn the call.

39 responses to “NFL to consider targeting rule similar to college football

  1. The NCAA’s targeting rule has been a disaster, with coaches and players unsure what is or isn’t an illegal hit. Often, a player has been tossed for no reason.

    This is how you kill the golden goose. Overreaction is part of the problem.

  2. The targeting rule is AWFUL and is one of the most mis-interpreted rules I’ve ever seen. Maybe NFL officials would be better at it but I don’t like it. The idea in theory is a good one but the enforcement has been brutal at best.

  3. .
    The continuing nonsense between the Steelers and Bengals on national TV has brought this issue to the forefront. Fans want to see good hard hitting football, not two teams trying to hospitalize each other.

  4. Maybe the NFL should go back in time and use soft shell helmets like back in the 1950’s. That would stop all the head shots!!!!!!

  5. This does not have to ruin the game. Gronk’s retaliation long after the whistle is a completely different problem then some player going a few inches to high or too low on a hit. Both make sense to be penalties. However; Any action after the play that could result in significant injury should result in an ejection.

    If Gronk was ejected; I would have no issue.
    Those bang bang plays; in game penalty; No problem.
    Particularly egregious hits (IE head to head; clear violation; obvious); in game penalty; potential fine; in rare cases limited suspension; No problem.

  6. The NFL officials are so spot on with covering the current rule book, I cannot see any reason why this would not go well. Maybe we can make Personal Fouls as easy to interpret as the catch rule.

  7. wouldn’t matter anyway as long as replay guy “I call em as I see em, no matter what the rule is” Riveron is employed

  8. NFL is soft AF now and I really think the refs are becoming senile. Every time they have to learn a new rule it’s like the Da Vinci Code to them.

  9. Totally makes sense. The other needed change is that not only all scoring plays need to be reviewed – it should be all potential scoring plays are reviewed. That is, a player may or may not be short of the end zone and is ruled down at the 1 – this should be reviewed by rule. In other words, the play should dictate the need for review, not the call.

  10. The problem with the NFL targeting rule and enforcement is how often replay gets it wrong by mandate. Officials are told if it’s close, call targeting. Replay officials apply the same standard for these call as others that if there isn’t irrefutable evidence, the call stands.

    They also need to consider intent on replay. If a player attempted to avoid head to head contact by going to the side but the offensive player ducked his head at the last microsecond, that shouldn’t be a penalty but it currently is.

  11. 6ball says:
    December 6, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    The continuing nonsense between the Steelers and Bengals on national TV has brought this issue to the forefront.

    That could be solved by adding something akin to MLB’s warning system. After the 1st personal foul both sides get warned and all subsequent PF’s result in ejections. There’s no reason to take hits out of the game just the dirty ones.

  12. What ‘disaster are you guys talking about? I watch some college football but not every game that’s on and the vast majority of targeting ejections I have seen were warranted. Take off the fan goggles and some of these are more obvious. Too many people look to justify some of this stuff. If you can look at a play as if the hit happened to your team and still say it wasn’t targeting, then fine, but that isn’t what you are likely doing.

  13. ogergoodellmyhero says:
    December 6, 2017 at 3:17 pm
    Good one Gronk. You ruined the game with your caveman like behavior.

    yup, blame the patriot. god knows we had peace love and understanding up until sunday.

  14. Can we figure out what a catch is first let alone a targeting rule….I had him in my sights but got flagged for looking with intent.

  15. Targeting is subjective. Remember the good old days when player catching a ball was subjective?

  16. nflfan4now says:
    December 6, 2017 at 3:47 pm
    How about a rule banning the battering ram dirty gronk wears on his arm?
    nflfan4now says:
    December 6, 2017 at 5:30 pm
    And take the weapon gronk wears on his arm away too.
    I understand that the Gronk’s bonehead hit deserves every reasonable fan’s condemnation.

    But could you come up with something better than calling a foam pad a weapon?!

  17. Ask youself, how many times when there’s a big play, the first thing we do… IS look for a flag to make sure the play is real. It’s now a second nature process to watching games.
    I do not think adding a targeting penalty, especially one that is as flawed as the one implemented by the NCAA, is needed.

    It will be just one more subjective process for Refs to consider and inevitably screw up, as they already have too many stupid rules to administer. Football is going from a physical spectacle to a litigious laden contest. I understand the need for safety, but this is not a solution. It is one more thing to smother the game we love. There is a better way.

  18. Yet another way for the league/refs to control the outcomes of games.
    At this point even having the play reviewed is meaningless since the guy in new york still doesn’t get the calls right. Now he will have control who’s players stay in the game or get ejected?

    I seen this in a Nebraska game this year where in the first series the other teams best player (a cover corner) was ejected for targeting on a play that shouldn’t even been flagged let alone a personal foul for targeting. Nebraska went on to win because of strong performance by their bad QB who had guys wide open.

    Anybody that watched that detroit game this t-day could see in full display the officials being able to guide a game and its scoring the way they/league office wants.

    Now imagine them being able to control being able to take the best players off the field on BS targeting call that gets approved by the same guy that thinks we are all to stupid to see what a touchdown is.

    I can see lots of DB’s guilty of BS “targeting” calls every time the golden children like rodgers or brady come to town.

  19. How about a rule like the NBA where players get suspended for accumulating excessive technical fouls? 16 techs result in a one game suspension, though questionable fouls are recinded so they don’t count toward a suspension.

  20. What are you people talking about??! This is NOT a good idea.

    The NFL has rules in place to address this issue. It does not need some stupid targeting rule!! Personal fouls, defenseless babies, and ejections are all already part of the game.. Targeting is a bogus, unnecessary rule that has directly negatively impacted the game at the collegiate level and has no place in the “Pros” (despite the continued amateurish level of play of the NFL).

  21. Great. Another reason to have endless reviews to “get it right.” Have you watched a basketball game lately where they inspect the film frame-by frame, Zapruder-style, to make sure they get flagrant fouls correct? How bout keep the game moving along and let the league punish the player after a deliberative process after the fact, if the in-game penalty is insufficient.

  22. I totally get all the wussification type comments on this issue. One thing is clear to me though, head to head hits need to be taken out of the game. Especially those taking place at high speed. The Ricardo Lockette hit in 2015 was a hair’s breadth from killing him. The Shazier hit remains to be seen how serious it is. Both of these hits were not necessary. The football intent could have easily been made in the midsection. Would it change the game? Yes. It’s going to happen one way or another though.

  23. Targeting in college football is a disaster! I’ve seen numerous games where they were perfect form tackles that were flagged and players ejected, just because they were a huge hit. I do not understand how the NFL does whatever it can to ruin the game and turn fans away and they can’t even see it

  24. As a pats fan, I found Gronk’s hit to be revolting. Lest all of us forget what happened to Stingley. Different situations, but it shows us why there is no room for that kind of bs.

    As to the proposed rule, I think enforcement of existing rules would suffice.

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