Why is there no allowance for who lowers their head first in targeting -------------------------

---------------------------- since, frequently, the tackler lowers his head to strike the runner in the midsection with his shoulder and the runner lowers his head which results in a helmet to helmet collission? The tackler gets thrown out. Why can’t the runner be penalized for targeting if they are the one causing the helmet to helmet collission?

They claim that the tacklers should not lower their helmet ever when tackling. That totally negates any shoulder tackles. If you tilt your head back and still try and hit the runners legs with your shoulder, if your head makes contact first, you will break your neck. Having your head tilted up means you are striking the runner, who usually has his head and shoulder lowered, with your chest and abdomen, which is a sure recipe for the tackler being the one injured.

It just seems like they have not thought this whole issue through very well, to me.


I haven’t seen any video of either Targeting call (didn’t even see the first one live, but that is a different post). But it bugs the crap out of me when a guy is going for a tackle and the ball carer “moves the target” and suddenly gets hit in the head, and the defense gets called for Targeting. It not like the defensive guy can change what is going on at that point.


During my high school football days, the runner was coached to lower his head & lead against the defender with his helmet. The new rule now makes it easy for the runner to hit (“target”) the defender’s helmet with his own helmet per recognizing that the defender will always be at fault & therefore ejected.

Wonder how many teams are practicing this tactic in efforts to get opposing team’s best defenders ejected. Helmet to helmet targeting should works both ways (both on offense & defense), & this rule needs to change. Perhaps the only solution is redesign of the helmets.

Don’t see the rule changing. Maybe some tweaking but it’s staying.

You could have 5-6 crews and have a split decision on what’s targeting on certain calls.

Much of confusion about targeting could be eliminated if the referee would briefly explain if the violation was:
A. Tackling with crown of the helmet (crown is defined as any part above the top of face mask. Includes front sides and back in addition to top)
B. Hitting a defenseless player in the head/neck with any part of defender’s body.

At least 3 of the 4 targeting calls in the first half of Mississippi-Louisville game appeared to be the A violation. Don’t know because the referee didn’t explain it.

Agree that targeting rule will remain in place.

However, the targeting penalty needs to have option of being against: the runner, the defender, or both being at fault - whether that is incidental or a warning to both players.

I’m all for the rule. I just think the penalty is too harsh. It’s a “one size fits all” penalty. It shouldn’t be. And, yeah, there should be some allowance when the runner lowers his head late enough that the defender can’t stop his trajectory. A player can avoid leading with the crown of his head. It’s difficult to keep the head really up when lowering the shoulders, though.


It is difficult to avoid dropping the crown if you do not lower the hips and see what you are hitting. I believe The running back can be just as guilty of initiating contact with the crown but you do not see it called.

Targeting rule says NO player shall strike his opponent with crown of his helmet. Doesn’t say anything about a player being on offense or defense. Should apply to running backs who truck a DB coming up to make a tackle. I predict we’ll see that call this year in an FBS game.

Yeah if an RB or TE lowers his head and trucks a safety you could absolutely call targeting. And should.

If they didn’t do something about head injuries/concussions/CTE, football might not exist in 20 years. Not football as we know it. Football period. And it wouldn’t take government regulation. All it would take is enough school boards to decide they don’t want the legal liability on their district. If the choice is between rugby tackling and no football at all, darn right I’ll go for rugby tackling.

I could not agree more with this. the current rule really really really places an extremely difficult task on the defender-how to tackle an offensive player, without touching any part of him with your large helmet, and without touching his helmet-which the offensive player is likely to RAPIDLY be moving and possibly sticking in the defender’s abdomen.

If the defender could remove his own head/helmet, and attach them to his lower back, then this rule would be fair. or maybe just leave his own head/helmet on the sideline when he’s on the field.

Otherwise, how in the world is a defender supposed to cover the middle of the field.


The targeting SHOULD NOT mean you get Ejected,not on the 1st one,now if he does it again…he’s gone…should be just like technical fouls in BB.

Lots of great thoughts on how to make this rule actually make sense.

With so much money being generated at all levels of the sport, expect NFL, NCAA, & helmet providers to fund & develop new technologies & materials that will make helmet to helmet hits safe from concussions. Until then, don’t see how players can aggressively play football without the endless targeting penalties.

I don’t think that’s possible. Much of the brain damage comes from the brain bouncing around inside the skull. I don’t think any helmet can reduce that.

Understand they are testing new materials & interior & exterior helmet designs that have so far proved significant improvements in cushioning. Helmets with protective cushioned exteriors that eliminates 33% of the shock of hard plastic to hard plastic hits are already starting to be widely introduced, especially for younger football players. Assume that was what was used during Arkansas’ recent practices.

Hope so

Cushioning does not, and cannot, keep the brain from sloshing around in the skull. Compare it to wrapping a raw egg in layers of bubble wrap and playing catch with it. The bubble wrap will keep the egg from breaking when you throw/catch it, but the yolk is still free to move around inside. And with your head, if that yolk is moving around inside, you’re seeing stars afterward.

I’ve had two concussions in my life, one while wearing a football helmet, one not. In both cases my head was moving until an outside object stopped that movement with extreme suddenness. Ain’t no cushioned helmet that could have prevented either one.

The one where I was wearing the helmet wiped out the next two hours of my life. Next thing I remember was standing on the practice field (we’d lost our last game and coach called a three-plus-hour Saturday morning practice to teach us a lesson) two hours later, still in full uniform. Was I going through practice, hitting people, etc., with a concussion? I hope not, but I have no idea.


Yep. A good helmet can protect against the external trauma, but if the head suddenly stops, the brain is still gonna hit the inside of the skull. I don’t think it can cushion the speed of the head inside the helmet enough to slow the brain movement.

I’m not going to say improved helmets will have no benefit. Maybe it would have toned the deceleration of my head down from a 10 to a 6 or 7. But I suspect I would still have rung my bell. I’ve seen football players sustain exactly what I sustained on that Saturday morning with modern helmets, and the trainer was coming onto the field immediately.