Penalties Littering the Gridiron

Michael FosterFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2008

Ok, I am aware that I am a Georgia fan. I am aware that I write mainly for Georgia's publicity. I am aware they just lost a huge game. And, I am aware that they are the most penalized time in the FBS. Let me just get all of those facts out in front before I make my argument.

But, with the least amount of biased possible, I have a complaint regarding penalties in the college and NFL game these days.

I believe there are way too many penalties that have been enforced lately, that really are not neccessary, and ruining the fun and integrity of the game.

Now, you probably are thinking I'm just leaking my frustration from the Georgia loss on Saturday, and yeah, I'm pretty ticked with some of the crucial plays that were effected so drastically by those pesky yellow sand bags, but what set me off to write this article wasnt the Georgia game.

The play that really got me thinking happened today, in the Falcons game, in the Falcons favor. Might I add I am an obsessive Falcons fan as well.

Matt Ryan threw a pass on third down, a horrible pass, and it was picked and returned for a touchdown for Carolina. However, the boo birds came out in full force as the ball was taken into the endzone, because a stupid penalty negated the entire play.

It was a "late hit" call on Julius Peppers for hitting Matt Ryan. I was on Peppers side, despite the huge relief I got from the play getting called back. Peppers hit Ryan about a half second late. I know the quarterback is pretty vulnerable standing back there, but holding the ball and getting hit hurts just as much as throwing it and getting hit. And, that hit had nothing to do with the fact that Richard Marshall picked the pass and ran it back.

I honestly think there are too many dumb rules that can ruin the game. False Starts, Offsides, Illegal substitutions; bring those on all day, those penalties keep the game at what it is. But dumb rules regarding quarterback protection and illegal contact really take way more from the game than they give.

Carolina deserved that touchdown, add 15 yards to the PAT, let Ryan "recover"...and move on.

Heres another example from last nights Georgia vs. Alabama game. Alabama ran a screen, where the runner fumbled the ball, and Georgia recovered. We all know how important turnovers are in football! I mean, the guy fumbled! But, not only was the ball given back to Bama, but they got 15 yards, because the quarterback was "roughed" on the play.

That "roughing" was a couple of fingers to the facemask of J.P. Wilson. The hit wasnt late, it was strictly called b/c the pass rusher put his hand on Wilson's facemask.

Now, whats the point of facemasks? To protect the players face...maybe? Im not sure, I also heard the are modeled for intimidation (note: Tomlinsons "Darth Vader" mask). But seriously! Two fingers in the wrong place turned a fumbler recovery into a 15 yard gain for Alabama. Honestly, the quarterbacks are "babied" all the way down to the diaper. Last time I checked, quarterbacks count as a player on the field. They arent refs, they arent mascots. Let the boys play!

If you cant take a hand to the face every once in a while, go find a new sport. I hear the National Curling League needs some new faces.

Did anyone catch the "leaping" penalty against Demiko Goodman last Saturday at Arizona State, where the official was under the impression that Goodman used one of his players to catapult himself to block a kick? Well, turns out, he can just jump really high. His body didnt touch anyone.

Or how about the tripping call? Where Mohamed Massaquoi "tripped" a defender trying to block on a pretty solid run. He didnt touch anyone, and did not effect the play. Too many penalties these days are called, for rediculous reasons, and usually the incident doesnt even influence the play at all.

How about Jake Locker's celebration against BYU? He threw the ball up, he was excited! He was playing the game, and wasnt thinking "I'm gonna throw the ball in the air to deliberately tick off the official!" The guy was in a state of euphoria! Leave it alone Refs!!

My bottom line is, there needs to be some slack when it comes to officiating. There are too many rediculous rules these days. My examples come from only what I see, but Im sure you guys have some arguments too. Every week I watch penalty after penalty completely change the outcome of the game, where in reality, the penalty action didnt even have an outcome on the particular play itself.

There has to be some legistlation, there has to be some slack, maybe even give penalty review options? Football is a contact, high speed sport. Let the boys play!