Why Omaha Would Be A Great Fit For An NFL Team

6The NFL is an ever growing sport that continues to expand its doors and horizons to new markets. Twenty years ago, the NFL expanded its markets to the Carolinas by establishing the Carolina Panthers and to Northern Florida by establishing the Jacksonville Jaguars. In the near future, the NFL may decide to once again expand to new markets around the country. In this article, I will discuss why Omaha would be a great market for a new NFL franchise.

Omaha Has A Solid Steak Culture

One of the great associations with watching football is food. People like to eat different kinds of food while watching the game whether it is at home or live at the game. Among these foods is various types of meats and different cuts of meat whether it is by itself or on sandwiches. Omaha is no stranger when it comes to production of meat.

Omaha is well known for its various steaks and steakhouses around the area. The fans there would love nothing more than to enjoy a nice juicy steak or cut of steak during the game. It makes perfect sense for the hardcore fan to be able to grill a nice juicy steak as part of a tailgate before a big game or to enjoy a steak from the comforts of their own home near the stadium. It would be a perfect fit for an NFL franchise as Omaha caters to the hardcore NFL fan, of which there are many around the country.

Omaha Already Has A Strong Sports Culture

The University of Nebraska, which is located an hour away from Omaha, has a storied college football program as well as a solid fan base. Omaha is also home to the College World Series. Fans would definitely be willing to embrace an NFL team that they would not have to travel very far to see. With such a solid fan base in place, it makes good sense to put an NFL team in Omaha in the near future.

It Would Open Doors To A Fanbase In The Mid-Northwestern United States

One of the biggest regions in the United States that does not have a nearby team is the northwest which includes states such as Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas. The Seattle Seahawks arrival in 1976 helped establish a fanbase in the Pacific Northwest in states such as Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. However, there are still many states in the northwest such as Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas that feel left out because they are not anywhere near an NFL team. The presence of a team in Omaha gives these states a team to cheer for and possibly make the trip to see.

 

Run Fu: Running Backs And The Four Minute Drill

4The four-minute drill in football is different from the two-minute drill. While the two-minute drill is a pass happy with a purpose to preserve the time left on the clock, the four-minute drill’s objective is to quickly use up the time left on the clock. The latter has a great need for a consistent yard gaining running back while the former has no need for that position at all.

When I was a kid, fullbacks and running backs were staple positions on any football team. Now fullbacks are almost extinct dinosaurs and running backs are being diminished because of more teams’ reliance on the intricacies of the passing game. I think that depreciation of the running back has occurred for three reasons. Firstly, the offensive run blocking is not at the level it was in the past. Offensive lineman are not able to open holes or are just routinely missing their blocking assignments. Secondly, most running backs are being picked on the basis of straight line, 40 yard dash, speed. The coaches are forgetting that a back has to be strong and shifty enough to get to where that straight line speed can be utilized. Most of the straight line speed backs are stopped in the backfield if there is no hole opened up for them or they run east and west for 20 yards with maybe a one or two yard gain to show for their effort. Lastly, the preponderance of ankle biting or ankle tackling has limited backs to very short yardage. About 75% of the short yardage, gains of 2 yards or less, seem to be due to the mastery of ankle-biters at or around the line of scrimmage.

Coaches are getting reluctant to use running backs in short yardage situations on 3rd down. Short yardage plays on 3rd down of distances 2 to 3 yards are almost routinely passing plays, roughly about seventy-five percent. Although, historical data in the NFL shows that runs on this down and distance are more successful than passes, the coaches go against the historical evidence and rely on the pass. The coaches, across the board, distrust their running backs in these situations.

In order for running backs to return to a position of prominence on the football field, they must be trained differently. The backs must acquire some training in the martial arts. Martial arts training teaches the student how to overcome an opponent quickly and decisively. It would teach running backs how to win against a bigger defensive lineman if an offensive linemen missed his assignment, it would teach running backs to rely more on shiftiness and elusiveness instead of straight line speed, and it would teach running backs to develop extreme leg explosiveness that would minimize their chances of being brought down by ankle-biters.

If the running backs could once more gain their coaches trust in short yard situations, their usefulness in the NFL and all levels of football would be enhanced. Having to use a pass in the four-minute drill has lost quite few games over recent years. A coach’s desperation to get a game sealing first down in a short yardage situation by passing the ball has opened many doors for two- minute drill magicians like Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Russell Wilson to move the ball down the field and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Well trained running backs will send a message to coaches that the Chicken, the passing game, came second and will remain second on third down and short or in the four-minute drill if running backs are trained to perform more efficiently.

 

American Football: Brief History

bolaAmerican football is really an interesting and amazing sport that epitomizes human spirit, competitiveness, and endurance to win. Only 60 nations has adopted this sport as a national sport, but past records suggest people have been playing this sport since ancient times. Ancient Greeks and Romans used this sport to train their warriors. It is believed that Chinese are playing football for 3000 years. However, the modern day football started from England.

History

American football owes its origin to rugby, that originated from the earlier types of football played in England. Americans began to play football since 19th Century. However, the game was played without any set of rules. Different versions of football were played in different colleges. For instance, the players used their fists first in order to get the ball, and then their feet to get the ball past the opponent. On the other hand, a game much like football was played at Harvard on the 1st Monday of the beginning of the school year.

Origin

After the American Civil War was ended in 1865, the American football got to see a new dawn. The popularity of this sport started to rise in colleges and campuses, and certain rules for the game started to emerge too. Princeton laid down the rules for its team for the first time in 1867. According to that rule only 25 footballers were allowed to be in a team. The game got patented in the same year. Princeton and Rutgers played the first intercollegiate football in the year 1869. In 1873, Yale, Columbia, Rutgers and Princeton formed the intercollegiate Football Association (IFA).

However, the American football saw its transaction from the rugby style to the modern day style, stared with the determinations of Walter Camp who is known as the Father of American Football. Camp was a coach at Yale and also a member of the IFA. He played great role to lay down the size of football field as 110 yards, and also reduce the number of players in each team from 15 to 11. He even introduced the line of scrimmage rules and the systems of downs. He standardized the system of scoring and introduced neutral zone, penalties, interference, and the safety.

The sport was still intensely physical though new rules and regulations were introduced. A big number of colleges had banned this sport by the early 20th century. The intense collision that used to take place in this game caused severe injuries and even deaths. The numbers of casualties from the sport were so high that the president, Theodore Roosevelt, declared to ban the sport unless the rules and regulations were reformed. As a result 62 schools met on December 1905 to make changes on the rules of American Football. The association disallowed the locking of arms and mass formations. The duration of the game was reduced to 60 minutes from 70 minutes. An open style of play to the game was introduced when the forward pass was legalized. Further innovations and changes made by legendary football coaches, like Eddie Cochems, Pop Warner and Knute Rockne, introduced skills and techniques to the game that was once characterized by players’ physical strength.

Does Being a Bit of a Jerk Help Football Coaches Win?

I recently found myself in a conversation on this topic with a few prominent college and professional football coaches. To be clear before continuing on, I used jerk in my title to keep it as clean as possible, but much more colorful language was used in our conversation.

The consensus, in this small sample, was that it is very difficult to win at the highest levels for very long without it. Probably no team sport other than rugby values toughness more than football does, so this was hardly surprising.

With football season upon us I decided to look into it a little further. First I checked to see who coached the teams that won all the BCS and college football playoff championships. That list contained 12 coaches and the 17 most recent champions. I did an informal study contacting coaches and players that either coached with or played for these 12 coaches and asked them to rate from 1 to 10 the level of jerk in them with 10 being highest.

I went in expecting a majority to come in with high averages, but what surprised me was that only one of the 12 came in below an average rating of 5. Not a single one of the remaining eleven coaches on the list came in below an 8.25 rating and the majority rated at or over 9. Although this is far from a comprehensive study these numbers seem to back up the opinions of the coaches I had the original conversation with.

Interestingly, neither of the two coaches who won 7 of the 17 championships between them (covered here) were among the top 3 highest scores in these ratings. So perhaps having too much jerk in you can turn things the other way?

I’m sure there is convincing data to be found arguing that having a good amount of jerk in you is not beneficial, but it seems like for every Joe Paterno (perceived nice guy) there are a lot more John McKays and Paul Bear Bryants to be found. Similarly, in the NFL there appear to be contradictions like perceived nice guys head coaches Marv Levy, Bill Walsh and Dick Vermeil, but without research perhaps there was more jerk in them than we publicly perceived? Sometimes jerk’s are like wolves in sheep’s clothing.

As one of the all-time biggest pacifists, John Lennon, said “You have to be a bastard to make it, and that’s a fact. And the Beatles are the biggest bastards on earth.” As I surmised earlier, perhaps being too much of a jerk could turn things against your success as a football coach, but if Lennon was right, more is better for a music act.

Playing Australian Football in Windy Conditions

Windy conditions can have a significant impact on the playing of Australian Football. This is because the field used is the largest of any of the football codes. It is oval in shape around 160 metres long and 120 metres wide in the middle of the field. As long kicking is a feature of the game, the wind can play havoc with the ball.

This article looks at some of the aspects players must take into account when playing in windy conditions.

When playing against the wind, the ball will fall short. So players need to be ready at the front of the pack to take the mark. Other players, at the front of the packs, should be ready for the ball being spilt forward of the pack.

On the other hand, a ball kicked with the wind is more likely to fly over the pack or come off the hands of the pack to the back of the pack.

With a cross wind, here the ball will swing across the front of the pack coming out on the opposite side to the wind’s direction.

Kicking for goal in windy conditions is difficult. The player needs to drop the ball at a much lower position to guide onto the foot to reduce the impact of the wind on the ball as it falls towards the player’s instep.

When kicking into the wind, the player must aim to keep the ball as low as possible to reduce the impact of the ball. The reverse is true when kicking with the wind. That means the ball should be kicked high to get the full benefit of the wind’s power to move the ball greater distances.

Kicking in a cross wind means the player must aim up wind of his target and keep the ball low to reduce the sideways movement of the ball.

A torpedo punt is very effective with the wind travelling much further than a drop punt. On the other hand the drop punt is more effective and accurate in other windy conditions.

The most important idea to remember is the need to guide the ball onto the boot from a much lower dropping position to ensure good contact with the ball.

 

Talking What You Don’t Know

I had disagreeing thoughts with Stephen A Smith, of the popular show First Take, this morning in his references and remarks towards and about Texas Head Football Coach Charlie Strong. Much of this disagreement does have to do with the ethnicity of all parties mentioned. I am a proud fan of Stephen A and see him as an overall great model for young African American males and he continues to open doors in the broadcasting industry. However I feel he lacked some self awareness today as he chose to call in to Mike and Mike this morning to make his statement that it is time for Texas to cut ties with Strong. Besides my overall difference in opinion that Strong should be terminated, my bigger problem is when obstacles are created by those who fight the same fight. And understand there is a fight to be had. Just as Stephen A is a great model so is Charlie Strong. Charlie Strong’s accomplishments have landed him to being the first African American Head Coach of Texas football. Strong is well known for his integrity and his overall relationships with players.

It is not a problem for Stephen A Smith to have his own opinion of the job Strong is doing just because he is African American but consider the following. Stephen A Smith is a great sports analyst with a wide range of information on a variety of news and sport. However none of us are perfect, we all have our weaknesses for whatever reason. Stephen A Smith would be one of the first voices I look for about NBA news. He has a deep and long insight on the league and an advantageous bond with many of the players. For NFL news, once again Stephen A is a man I enjoying listening to break down what he’s seen throughout the season. College football is not his arena. Stephen A is not so knowledgeable of college football. He in his own admission just started paying attention to college football only a few years ago due to his co-host and close friend Skip Bayless who he also takes much of his college football advice from. If we know anything of Skip Bayless it is this. He is a well renowned writer and opinion holder, but if you constantly disagree with his opinions of professional football, what makes you think he’s any different when watching amateur? Basically I feel Stephen A is talking just to be talking.

He knows Texas has a losing record, recently got blown out, and Charlie is in his second year. Any regular college football observer would at least recognize the waiting of a first recruiting class, installing a new system and program, and of all things recognizing competition within recruiting. Unlike Stephen A, high school players now don’t know of Texas being a power house. They don’t know of those HOOK EM’ HORNS. They reminisce of other Texas schools such as Johnny Football at A&M, Andy Dalton at TCU, and RGIII at Baylor. Any observer would know that this isn’t a quick turnaround job. This is unlike Harbaugh at Michigan or McElwain at Florida. Michigan is in the Big 10 and only really has to worry about Ohio St and Michigan St. Florida had SEC talent just a bad strategist.

Texas had entitled players, lower ranked recruits, and a coach who was long past due. Throw that in with all the antics and politics one has to perform in Texas as oppose to Myer in Ohio or Saban in Alabama and it’s hard to create stability. Stephen and others should understand that no one is going to go to Texas and turn around the program in a season.

Stephen A provided himself as a prop today. Many will be able to use his words in disguise to condemn Strong without the threat of being called racist or skating that line. From the community, I think there are enough people calling for Charlie Strong’s job already Stephen. You have to be more aware than that. Major boosters didn’t want Charlie and now the athletic director who hired him is gone. Things are a bit shaky for Charlie and I was surprised at who went out of their way to add some ripples. ESPN’s Joe Schad reported that Charlie’s Job is secure. “Charlie has a lot of breathing room” one source said Monday. “There is nowhere near the pressure to remove him at this time that there was with Steve Patterson or even Mack Patterson.” Texas at this point is 1-4 with losses against #15 ranked 4-1 Notre Dame, a one point lost to #23 ranked and undefeated Cal, a special team miscue to #21 ranked and undefeated Oklahoma St, and finally a lost on the road to #4 ranked and undefeated TCU. Stephen A was a bit eccentric this morning. Still much respect.

 

How To Buy Football Shoes

Football is fast paced and requires a lot of stamina and agility. When you play football it is very important that you wear the right kind of football shoes as they will directly impact your game. When you decide to buy football shoes you will find a huge variety to choose from, especially at an online sports portal. Therefore it becomes very important to be able to choose the right football shoes that compliment and improve your play. Here are some of the points that you should consider the next time you buy football shoes:

Feel the football

When you are selecting football shoes the most popular material is leather because of its high quality. But when you have to select the material of the football you have to ensure that you are able to actually feel the ball as you kick it or nudge it any direction. Also make sure that the material feels comfortable when you put the shoes on. Another factor that makes shoes comfortable to wear is that they allow for the air to easily circulate around your feet. The latest footballs shoes made from synthetic material are very good because they are made with the latest technology.

Flexible & Light

Imagine having to run around with really heavy shoes, would you be able to do it? Therefore when you have to select shoes for football check that they are light weight. Apart from being light weight they should also be flexible enough to be able to adjust according to the movement of the feet. But the toe or tip of the soccer shoes should be rigid so that you can shoot the ball effectively.

Comfortable

It is very important that the shoes should be comfortable to wear. It is very likely that you will be on your feet and wearing the shoes for a long time. And if the shoes pinch then there is really no point in getting those shoes, also checks the studs on the shoes are placed in the right place. Never compromise on the comfort for the sake of looks.

Changeable Cleats

When you play football you have to play on various surfaces and weather. So you may have to change the cleats according to the surface and weather. Being able to do this with the football shoes that you buy will be advantageous.

Budget

If the budget is not a concern for you then you can buy any shoes you want, even the most expensive. But we suggest that you select the best shoes at a reasonable rate. If you are looking for a deal on shoes for playing football, then we suggest that you buy football shoes online. These days you can really buy sports equipment online for any sport you want. If you are undecided then you can always ask for advice from the online store experts.

 

How To Improve The Playoff System In College Football

My proposal for an eight team playoff would have the following stipulations:

1) Each of the conference winners in the power five conference would be granted an automatic bid in the playoff.

2) At least one member of a group of five conference must be given an automatic bid which can be determined by the playoff committee.

3) The remaining two bids would be at-large bids which can be given to any team, including Notre Dame. These two bids would also be determined by the playoff committee.

4) The playoff committee will decide seeding from one to eight. The top four seeds would host the first round game at their site and then the normal format of neutral venues in the current playoff system would apply from the semifinal round onward.

5) The lowest seed remaining would face the highest seed remaining in one game in the semifinal round with the other two seeds facing off in the other round.

There are three good reasons why I believe this system works.

Reason #1: Every Power Conference Would Get A Chance to Compete For The Championship

Last year, Baylor was left out of the playoff picture although it did well in the regular season. Since there were only four spots available in the playoff, one power five conference was bound to get left out and it was the Big 12 in this case. Under the current system, at least one power conference will be left out of the picture and the member of that conference will argue and complain that they deserve that final spot.

Under my proposed system, at least one member of every power five conference will participate in the playoff which will make the playoff field more rounded. There will always be a team that believes it deserves the final spot in any playoff, but the complaint would be a lot less problematic since it does not involve a conference winner.

Reason #2: Runner-Ups In A Power Conference Will Get A Chance At Redemption

It happens every year. In a given conference, there will be two teams that are really good but only one conference winner. In the current format, the conference runner-up has little chance of making the playoff unless their ranking is near the top. There is very little margin for error in college football, but there are often situations where there two good teams in a conference but only one can win the conference. Often times, the runner-up is every bit just as good as the conference winner, but never gets the chance to compete for the championship.

Under my proposed format, the two at-large bids can go to these runner-ups if they are good enough based on the committee’s opinion. My format accounts for the possibility of two very good teams in one conference and their ability to compete on a high level.

Reason #3: Cinderella’s Going To The Dance Because A Group Of Five Member Is Going To the Playoff

There’s no better story in sports than an underdog or small time program making it to the big dance and possibly winning the championship. Under the current format, this is nearly impossible because the group of five members usually do not play a hard enough schedule to end up in the top four at the end of the season.

My format mandates that at least one member of the group of five go to the big dance. The game of college football as well as tv ratings will benefit highly when a small time team has a chance to compete for the championship. Teams such as Boise State and TCU have proven in the past they can win games against big time programs. Thus, it makes sense to give at least one member of the group of five a chance to compete and possibly win the championship.

 

My Proposal For NFL Overtime Procedure

Starting from the 2012 NFL season, the overtime procedure was modified to give each team a chance to possess the football unless the team with the first possession of the ball scores a touchdown or a defensive score occurs. One of the biggest concerns is that this system has produced a tie game each of the last three seasons. I have a proposal for an NFL overtime system that eliminates ties and makes this period interesting.

This system is similar to the college football overtime in that each team gets to possess the football at a specified part of the field and the team with the higher score after the period wins. Also, starting with the third overtime, both teams must go for a two point conversion following a touchdown. However, my proposed system takes into account the increased range of NFL kickers as well as the increased mental capacities of NFL quarterbacks with two key differences.

Possession takes place at the 50 yard line as opposed to the 20 yard line

In college football, kickers have a much lower percentage of converted field goals than in the NFL. Hence, the 20 yard line is not considered chip shot distance for college kickers. However, most NFL kickers would make a field goal from the 20 yard line and this would pose a problem for the team that went first in overtime and did not score any points or simply scored a field goal. If you place the ball at the 20 yard line and the team with the first possession scored 0 or 3 points, it would be very easy for an NFL kicker on the other team to tie or win the game. If you place the ball at the 50 yard line, you have to move the ball a certain distance just to get the kicker in range. The other team is not guaranteed a victory. I feel this adds a more dramatic element to the overtime period.

Each team will have only two minutes to work with in each period

A team having possession of the ball at the 20 yard line with unlimited time does not give the quarterback and the rest of the team a chance to showcase their intelligence and physical capacity under pressure. By giving only two minutes from the 50 yard line with only one timeout to each team, the overtime periods move quicker and force each team to be more intelligent and athletic.

Imagine it this way, It’s your team’s turn in the overtime period and you are down by seven. Your quarterback does not have all the time in the world to make it to the end zone in order to force the next overtime. The clock ticks with each play and he has to make tough decisions when it comes to finding open receivers as well as taking the clock into consideration. He cannot make conversative plays and will likely have to make big throws in order to gain significant yardage in a short period of time. The big plays light up the crowd and the quarterback has a chance to get some well needed experience in terms of competing under intense pressure.

 

Why Louisville Would Be A Great Fit For An NFL Team

The NFL is a league that loves to expands to new and untapped markets within the United States. There are many major cities out there in the U.S. that can make that argument that they are deserving of a new NFL franchise should the NFL decide to expand or relocate one of their current franchises. This article will discuss why Louisville would be a great fit for an NFL team.

Louisville Has A Solid Sports History And Culture

Louisville has a long history with sports. First of all, Louisville is home to the Kentucky Derby which is a well attended and watched event on television. Second, Louisville is home to the Louisville Slugger which is a popular brand of baseball bat used by several prominent baseball players. Third, the University of Louisville Cardinals have solid basketball and football programs year in and year out.

Louisville has also been home to some of the greatest legends. One of these legends is Muhammad Ali who would go on to become one of the best boxers ever. Another individual from Louisville is Johnny Unitas who would go on to become one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. There are many other sports figures who are from Louisville but there are too many to be put on this list.

Louisville would certainly be a good fit for an NFL team. One might make the argument that college sports dominate the landscape in Louisville, which certainly is true. However, since the NFL schedule is usually played on Sunday afternoons, it would not be hard to accommodate both the collegiate sports schedules and the Louisville NFL team. In fact, the addition of an NFL team in Louisville would bolster the already solid sports history and culture of Louisville and give the sports fans there another team to cheer for.

Having An NFL Team In Louisville Is Good For The Neighboring Television Markets And Sports Markets

As with any expansion or relocation of a team to a new city, one of the biggest factors is the neighboring markets which the team would expand to. In this case, placing an NFL team in Louisville would reach out to the entire state of Kentucky, southern Indiana, and southern Illinois. If the team is successful in their first few years, they would be able to reach out farther.

It is true that there are other NFL teams which compete in those markets. For example, the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans reach into Kentucky. The Indianapolis Colts reach into southern Indiana. The St. Louis Rams reach into southern Illinois. The Louisville NFL team would have to face competition from those teams in terms of reaching out into the desired markets.

However, I would argue that this competition is a good thing because it encourages fans in those areas to become more active in terms of which team to cheer for and would force the neighboring teams to field a better product in order to keep Louisville from claiming those fans. Louisville in turn would do its best to field a solid team to gain a stronghold into states such as Indiana, Illinois, and Tennessee which have solid sports cultures in their own right. It’s a win-win situation for the NFL and the fans in those markets.

 

A Football Greased Pig

Running backs that run less than a 4.5 in the 40 yard dash don’t get much respect and they generally get ignored by most college coaches and scouts. A running back in NFL has to meet that speed parameter just as a quarter back in the NFL has to meet the height parameter. It doesn’t seem to matter how you performed in college as a short quarterback or as a slow running back, the metrics are against you and these metric requirements are the holy grail that football scouts, coaches and analyst live by.

So by all means, a running back needs to work on his speed. It is like having a diploma as a job requirement; you don’t get your foot in the door without it. However, once you open the door with speed, how do you distance yourself from all of the other speedy backs vying for the same job? One way to do it is with jukes and cuts. Most good running backs have a variety of moves in their repertoire. Is it possible to add another layer beyond jukes and speed to make a back unique? Yes it is possible. You can add a layer of unusual strength that can be used to move defensive piles and to break numerous tackles as exampled by Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch.

Could there be yet another layer? It is my contention that there is. Have you ever tried to move a mattress by yourself? A mattress is not that heavy, but unlike the box springs, it is flimsy and hard to grab. The mattress gives you almost nothing to push back against. This attribute makes moving a mattress difficult and harder to control.
Dancers in ballet, modern dance, hip hop and ballroom are taught isolation skills. They are taught to make certain parts of their bodies operate differently at the same time. For instance, in the ballroom dance called the quick step, a dancer is taught to keep the upper body, above the waist, rigid and erect, while at the same time the lower body is kept loose and nimble so he can nimbly glide sprint around the dance floor like a track star.

What if running backs could be taught to isolate the top and bottom of their bodies. So that in an instant, while pushing a pile of defenders, he could transform the upper half of his body from rock-like to jello-esque. His lower body would continue with the rock-like efficiency it always possessed, but the upper body would become jello-mattress slippery. As a result he would be able to break more tackles and get to the next level of the defense. A back trained with this kind of skill could differentiate himself from all other running backs. He would be slippery. He would be the proverbial football greased pig.

 

Using Interchange in Junior Australian Football Games

For me, the interchange rule was the greatest change in football for coaches of young teams. It meant that the coach could give every player in every position maximum ‘on-ground’ experience. This helped to develop all players more quickly and lessened the dropout rate of the initially less able boys. (Before the introduction of this rule, each team had two reserves who were used to replace injured players or a player who was not playing well. These players could not return to the game, once replaced).

Much of what I say below depends on how many interchange players you may have as well as the level of football your team plays. (It will vary from nine a side football to 14 or 18 a side football).

The coach is able to offer advice/encouragement/a ‘well-done’ immediately once the boy interchanges and close to the time his last involvement in play has occurred. This meant the player was more aware of the reason for the advice.

I liked to work a three buddy interchange system with mid-field players. One player is “on the ball”; second player on the field usually as a forward. That player replaces the player on the ball as he goes to the interchange bench while the player on the bench goes to the forward line to get involved and warm again. For the three on ball positions, I like to have, if possible, three interchangeable players. This is not always possible with your tap ruckman.

In school football, where we had up to 25 interchangeable players in an 18 a side competition, any other interchange players had a single buddy to change with. (In this situation, I allowed the players to decide if they would change during each quarter or play a quarter at a time. Be careful here in windy conditions that a player doesn’t miss out on much of the game because he is playing in a position where a strong wind prevents him from seeing any action).

With school and junior teams you must be strict about short periods on the ground between interchanges. Young players can be greedy about getting as much time on the field as they can, refusing to change at the appropriate time. This lets the team down because they get tired and make mistakes and his mate gets frustrated waiting to get on the field. This affected his concentration on the game while on the field.

The other important use of interchange in junior football, in particular, is it allows the coach, using his runner, to have a player return to the bench to allow the coach to give advice on the spot and then send the player back on the field to try to put the coach’s advice into practice immediately. In other words, the interchange rule allows on the sport education of your players.

The third positive with the interchange rule, particularly as the players get older and the game gets faster and more physical; is that it allows players with possible injuries to be assessed quickly. It also allows the coach the chance to rest a player he sees tiring from working hard for the team.

A final option, in junior football, in a game that you are expected to win easily is to keep your better players on the bench initially to allow your lesser able players to take on more important roles at the beginning of each quarter before bringing on your more able player later each quarter. (You will need to explain the reasons for doing this to your better players who might feel slighted by your decision). This will help develop all your players and, in particular, increase the confidence of the less able players.

This is important for a number of reasons. The first, obviously, is you increase the experience and confidence of each player. Secondly, you are developing players who will be able to fill in for other injured players. Thirdly, often the apparently less able players are, in fact, just slow developers who love the game. They may, in fact, become your best players in the years to come or they may become those people who become stalwarts of the club who take on the onerous job of running the club in the future.

So, the reader can now see why I and many other junior coaches of our national game see the interchange rule as the best rule change in the history of Australian Football.

 

Seattle Seahawks Teach the Intelligent Way to Tackle

PROBLEM: HEAD INJURIES AND TRAUMA FROM LEADING WITH THE HEAD IN TACKLING

By now we are all well aware of CTE and the potential dangers playing football can have on our brains. The Concussion Movie is just the latest high profile event illustrating how the effects of repeated head trauma football players can suffer. There have been several new technologies and improvements in football equipment, namely in helmets and monitored devices, that have tried to alleviate the impact blows to the head have, but few have tried to address tackling techniques until now.

SOLUTION: RUGBY STYLE TACKLING

The Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has been leading the way in a new way of tackling that has actually been around for a long time-Rugby Style. The main focus of rugby style tackling is to take the head out of the hit and lead with the shoulder at impact zone. Obviously, since rugby players don’t wear helmets and would do serious harm if they tackled leading with their heads they have perfected this technique and now the NFL is catching on.

It is surprising this technique has not caught on before now especially since it not only is safer for players heads, but it is also a more sure handed way of bringing opposing ball carriers down to the ground. When I was a DB back in the day I always thought that with heads up and leading with the shoulder was a much more sure way of tackling than simply launching oneself headfirst into a runner, only to have him bounce off of you. We just did not call it Rugby Style tackling back then.

The Seahawks Rugby style of tackling is lead by their defensive passing game coordinator Rocky Seto. “We’re always looking for a better way to teach and so we thought, ‘Let’s put together a video and see how it works.’ I’m thrilled that we’re contributing.”

Here is one instructional video showing how the technique is taught:

Not everyone was completely sold on this new style of tackling at first. Ohio State Head coach Urban Meyer was not buying in to it until his defensive coordinator Chris Ash kept persisting that this is the best way to go in teaching their young players how to tackle. The idea of rugby tackling “was one that I fought at first and I said no, we’re not going to do that,” Meyer said. “Chris Ash is very persistent, he’s a very good coach, and (like) good coaches who really believe in something, stayed on me… I listened. I did as much research as I could and ultimately we jumped in. Tremendous success right out of the get-go. You could see the difference.” After thoroughly studying the technique Meyer eventually agreed and is now a strong proponent of rugby style tackling.

The technique and training for it has even draw praise and support from Hall of Fame coach John Madden, who is co-chair of the NFL Player Safety Advisory Panel. The panel that is co-chaired by Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott already had addressed the helmet-to-defenseless-receiver issue.

From Madden’s inquisitive mind to Pete Carroll’s proven method of teaching players how to tackle – and then some – that are featured in an instructional video Madden knew something had to be done about players leading with their helmeted heads when tackling.

“The helmet-to-helmet on the defenseless receiver, we had a change that was an easier one because you could still use your head you just had to change your aim point,” Madden said. “But getting the head out of tackling was a much more difficult issue. So what Pete did was something that needed to be done and gives us all the answers we’re looking for.

“The video is excellent,” Madden said Monday during a telephone interview. “We’ve been looking for something like that for a long time. One of the things the Commissioner is trying to do is take the head out of football when it comes to tackling, not using the head for contact.

Why An Annual NFL V College All-Stars Game Would Work

For nearly 40 years, the NFL had staged an all star game between its top players and the top players in the college football game. It was competitive in its early years but the NFL players eventually dominated the contest. Still, the contest generated a lot of interest in its early years and even raised a lot of money for charity.

It would be meaningless to have the NFL’s top superstars battle the top players in college because that would create mismatches that would hinder attendance for these games. I would propose to bring back the college versus NFL all star game by having the top college players go against the best first year players in the NFL. This would create a more even match-up for both sides and the games would be more competitive. This game would be held after the NFL season and would be played under NFL rules in terms of formations allowed and penalties called. There are two reasons why I believe a college/NFL all star game would be effective:

Reason #1: It would give the college players an opportunity to see what playing against professional football players is like

One of the biggest reasons why college football players fail in the professional game is their unpreparedness. The transition from the college game to the pro game is a major transition both physically and mentally. You can look back at many of the draft busts in NFL history and their reason for failure will always be the same: they weren’t really physically and mentally for the demands of the pro game.

Having an all star game between college’s best players and the NFL’s best first year players will give college players a chance to play against actual professional players and give them a taste of the increased physicality and mentality required of them in the professional game. Playing first year NFL players would ensure that the games will be fairly competitive and also would ensure that more of the NFL players would agree to take part in the game since the veterans probably would not agree to compete against college players.

Reason #2: It’s A Good Chance To Measure The Growth Of The First Year Players Since They Began Their Careers

The NFL’s using premier superstars such as Aaron Rodgers and J.J. Watt would not be practical because the NFL would dominate the college players. However, using first year players presents a more even matchup since these players are only one year removed from college.

 

What’s Different About the Australian Game of Football

Historically, it was the first type of football played in Australia. Some believe its origins are seen in games played by our indigenous brothers. Although it developed initially in Victoria, it spread to all the Australian colonies during the second half of the 1800s.

The purpose of this article is to list what is different about “Aussie Rules”. These are the differences that set it apart from other football codes.

• There are 18 players in each team, making it the game with the most players on the field at a time-36 in all. It can be played at 9 a side; 14 a side; 15 a side and 16 a side. The smaller numbers are usual for under age teams.

• The field is in the shape of an ellipse (oval); up to 160 metres long and 120 metres across the centre. Junior teams play on much smaller oval.

• There is no offside.

• There are no knock-ons.

• There are players from both sides spread all over the field, usually in pairs, with one from each team.

• The game is a 360 degree game. That means players are all around you in contrast to the rugby games and American Football where teams face each other.

• The players may wear sleeveless jerseys with no padding.

• Kicking long distances and high marking are features of the game.

• The game at senior level is played over four quarters of 20 minutes actual playing time. This means the players are actually on the ground for over two hours, making it the longest game by far of the football codes.

• The scoring scheme involves kicking the ball between posts at either end of the field. There are four posts set up seven metres apart. To score a goal, (worth 6 points), the ball must be kicked through the middle posts without being touch by another player. Otherwise the score is one point. If it hits the inside posts or goes through between the outside posts it is also worth one point.

• The game at senior level is controlled by three field umpires positioned around the oval assisted by four boundary umpires (whose role is to determine when the ball is out of play and to throw it in at the field umpire’s command) and two goal umpires. One field umpire, two boundary umpires and two goal umpires would officiate at other levels of the game, normally.

• There is no send-off rule but players may be reported for serious offences such as striking.

• Players can be awarded free kicks for rule infringements or a mark (catching a ball from a 15 plus metre kick). This means that the opposition player stands on the mark indicated by the umpire allowing the player with the free kick the chance to kick or handball the ball without interference.

• Tackling is a part of the game. A player must be in possession of the ball before he can be tackled. He must be tackled according to the rules. Otherwise a free kick is awarded.

• Players may shepherd to protect the ball carrier.

• The game contains lots of running and kicking by all players.

These are the factors that make our Australian game unique and very different. It confounds fans of the rugby games and Soccer (Football, to most parts of the world) and the followers of American Football when they first see. But what they see ‘live’ is the fastest and most difficult game of football in the world.

 

What To Look For Before Buying Football

Everyone has heard about the game of football. It is widely played with full zeal in various countries. The game is full of excitement & pleasure. In this game, every team has eleven players on its side including the goalie. It gives tremendous pleasure to watch eleven players on each side, tussling with each other to score the goal.

The game involves tremendous physical agility. The players have to run and jump more than 90 minutes. Thus, we can say that this is certainly the tough game. The players of this game harbor tremendous stamina. Owing to this, they have the capability to play during the whole game.

In recent years, the craze for this game has grown up. Though this is considered as the men’s sports, yet it has huge female fans. They equally participate in the game. Not only they watch the game but also play this game with full zeal.

The integral part of this game is football. It is this for which eleven players on each side tussle with each other. Every sport has some prescribed guidelines. According to these guidelines, these balls are manufactured. The most important parameter associated with this is size. The official authority has pre-defined the sizes. For young ones, the smaller balls are widely used. For adults, the authority has prescribed different size.

How to purchase football?

This is definitely the most important question. The ball has to suffer the hardships, so it is very important that it should be developed from the premium quality material. In order to meet the requirements of the buyers, the football manufacturers are employing the premium quality material. The sports authority has also defined the specifications of the material to be used for manufacturing this. The footballs are basically developed using the synthetic rubber. This is basically the compound of hydrocarbon. The authority has restricted the use of leather as a material for covering as it becomes heavier when it gets wet.

So the football manufacturers are employing best quality material in order to provide durability & reliability. Another very important thing that one should consult from the seller before buying the football is about the material of the lining & bladder. The lining is basically the different layers of the rubber that are provided beneath the outer covering. This layer is of utmost importance as it provides the bounce to the ball. Be sure, that this layer is made up of excellent quality rubber in order to provide durability & reliability.

 

Coaching a School Football Team in Queensland

In my early years as a teacher coach of Australian Football in secondary schools, I would have training after school at least once a week. In later years, this became untenable as boys began to work after school and many had to catch buses home. So I would have one formal training session a week during lunch hour. It would begin with a warm up. Then I would do some skill work with them involving grid work later in my career. After this we would practice a basic play e.g. centre bounce or kick out from fullback. We finished off with a short game. It might be backs against forwards on a half field or a keepings-off handball game Often the practice was based on the errors the team made in their last game.

Then, on the other days of the week, the boys were allowed to borrow footballs to have “Kick to Kick” on the oval. As often as possible, I would be on the oval giving boys advice about how to improve their kicking and marking skills.

On Wednesday, our sports day, we would meet at morning tea for me to check on attendance of players at school. I would discuss briefly our games and announce the teams.

One of the duties I had on each playing day was to umpire our school games particularly in the earlier years. This occurred because often the teacher responsible for the other team had not played our game or lacked the expertise to do it. This meant that I was at a disadvantage in a coaching sense because I had to make changes “on the run”. So, wherever possible I coached both competing teams in a general sense about what to do in our local competition. Umpiring the game did however allow me the chance to see close hand the game and skills errors my players made.

Most school game in local competition and in organised out of school hours competition are games of relatively short duration. So I always adopted the simple game plan. It was to move the ball long and quickly.

I always played my best players on the ball or in the centre i.e. where the ball is most of the time. This allowed them to bring others into the game and increased the success of the team.

In watching our games, I rarely concentrated on opposition players. I would concentrate on my own players to look for ways to improve their performance and enjoyment of the game. After all, that was my job as a teacher.

Finally, I always organised a staff versus students’ match with a difference. It was against a girls’ team. The teachers’ team had both male and female teachers. The girls’ team was joined by some of the senior footballers, dressed up in girls’ uniforms in the second half. I always played in the back line as I was usually the only teacher with football experience. The game attracted many students and staff as spectators.

 

School Football – A Simple Game Plan for Australian Football

In 1986, I was charged with the responsibility of coaching the second string team from my region in the State Schoolboys’ Australian Football Championships. Most of the boys were not known to each other. Our few training sessions were combined with the boys that would make the first regional team. This happened to allow the selectors more time to sort the two teams out. Consequently, my team had only one short training run together.

In that training session, we concentrated on a long kicking approach to the game and on getting to the contest. I explained to the boys that our game plan would be simple direct football as each game was only four by fifteen minute quarters. I explained how we would set up for each central bounce and we set that up at training to show the boys what was required. We also practiced ruck and throw in drills with all the players.

On an information sheet, I asked the boys to indicate what position was their preference and where they played best. On the plane flight to Cairns I gave each player a sheet of paper and asked them to pick a team based on their knowledge of the boys in the team. (Many of the boys had played with or against each other in school and junior club fixtures). I collected these teams. I also asked the boys to indicate who they thought would make a good captain. This helped me make that decision. I perused all the suggested teams taking particular note of the teams that the boys most likely to be captain had submitted. With all this data plus my own ideas, I pick a team. In our championships, we were able to have 25 fully interchangeable players. So I picked a team where every player had a position. The followers (today midfielders) interchanged off the bench. This meant the four remaining player shared a position with four others getting, in theory, half a game each. In reality, some boys performed better than expected and changes were made throughout the game.

After our warm up, the team was announced. I made sure each player who was interchanging sat with his counterpart during the pregame address, knew his name and number. One of the interchange players acted as the runner and two others collected “stats” to keep them concentrating on the game. These players could decide to share each quarter or played for a quarter and then rest.

The pregame instructions were simple. They were:
• Play simple, direct and long football. Move the ball quickly.
• Kick over the next line. (This means you are running after the ball towards the goals. Your opponent has to get the ball and turn back into a contest).
• Contest every possession.
• If we have the ball, go into attack mode. If we don’t have the ball, i.e. it is in dispute or the opposition have it, you go defensive and pick up your opponent no matter where the ball is.
• When the ball is in the forward line the followers and the centre line players (midfielders) form the wall.
• If you are within kicking distance, you kick for goal.
• Remember to make allowance for the wind;
• And I reminded them of the size and shape of the oval.(In our warm up, outside on the oval, I had talked about the oval discussing the defending and attacking avenues).

At quarter time after I had made sure everyone knew where they were playing that quarter, I discussed the first quarter. Some of the boys were a bit hesitant going for the ball. So I said “Back your judgment and go for it and get two hands on the ball”. The wind was an issue in the second quarter as we were kicking into it. So I stressed to be in front of the pack.

For the rest of the game, I just reinforced those simple ideas and offered individual advice to players where necessary. Our team beat North Queensland by 5 goals. The team went on to win the second division trophy. In the finals, they played and beat the bottom team in the first division. Our success can from a simple game plan that the boys followed; improving with each of the five games they played in four days.

What was also important to note was that the boys bought into the plan because they knew from the beginning that they would all get the maximum time on the field and the fact that I had asked for their input into team selection and the selection of the captain made them feel an important part of the team. Almost from the beginning of my coaching career at state level and at school level, I used this same approach

Goal Umpiring in Australian Football for the Newcomer

In junior Australian Football, parents are often asked to be Goal Umpires. Many have no experience of the game and are reluctant to take on this responsibility. Often, boys, not much older than those playing, end up “doing the goals”. This is not the best way to see the game organised. It is really a job for more mature people.

This article will offer several hints for parents on how to become a competent goal umpire for junior games.

Let me begin with the basic rules related to scoring.

1. A goal is scored if the ball is kicked by the attacking player through the two central post (called the goal posts), providing it is not touched by any player of either team.
2. If it is touched or it hits either of the two central posts, it is a behind worth one point only.
3. If the ball goes between the outside posts (called the behind posts) and the goal posts, it is a behind.
4. If the ball hits the outside posts (the behind post), it is out of bounds and no score is recorded.
5. A kick is defined as the ball hitting the leg below the knee.
6. To score, the ball must be totally over the goal or behind line.

Now let me talk about the positioning of the goal umpire. These are the things to remember.

1. Always keep your eyes on the ball wherever it is.
2. When it comes into the forward line near you, stand 2 to 3 metres behind the goal line.
3. Using the centre of the goal line as a pivot point, line up with the ball through that point and move with the ball keeping your line of sight with the ball through the pivot point.
4. When the play is getting close, watch the ball off the boot. This will best indicate in which direction the ball will go.
5. Try always to get under the flight of the ball.

Next, let me talk about what happens when there is a score.

1. Once a score is made, stand erect at the centre of the goals and look to the field umpire for the “all clear”.
2. Once the all clear is given, indicate to the field umpire the score and then get your flag/s and signal the score from the centre of the goals to your fellow goal umpire at the other end.
3. Now record the score on your card.
4. If you are not sure of the score, simply run to the field umpire to discuss the issue. On the other hand, if the umpire sees a problem, he will come to use to advise you on what to do.
5. At the end of each quarter, you should compare scores with the other goal umpire. At the end of the game, check again and when you have agreed on the score, sign your score card and give it to the field umpire.

Some parent acting as goal umpire try to catch the ball as it goes through. This is not your job. Your job is to determine the score. After that has been recorded, maybe you might need to get the ball. The players and spectators appreciate parents who act in a professional way when goal umpiring. It shows the boys particularly that you want to do a great job for them.

 

There’s a Storm Brewing in Seattle and the LOB Is the Reason!

John Schneider, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks front office have been atop of the NFL the last few seasons. Yes, they have drafted unbelievably well. They have found diamonds in the rough in late rounds of the NFL Draft. Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Malcolm Smith, J.R. Sweezy, Byron Maxwell, (undrafted rookies) Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, & Thomas Rawls have all been a huge part of the Seattle Seahawks success. It is not the only reason though.

One of the biggest reasons is they are not afraid to walk away from players who haven’t performed or who have become a distraction. Percy Harvin was a huge acquisition. They gave a lot of money and draft compensation to get him. He was clearly a locker room distraction and was disrupting the Seahawks offense. It was clear on and off the field (at least for the Seahawk staff). They then traded him away for nothing because he didn’t fit the Seahawk mold. It didn’t matter how much they invested or what criticism they would receive. Yes they screwed up, but they don’t care. They are not going to hold on to a player that’s not working out or giving 110%. Cary William is the latest example. They invested 3 years and 18 million into Williams. He never developed the technique Carroll likes in his cornerbacks & Cary always went back to his old tendencies. The Seahawks defense was having to compensate for his bad play and it led to huge gaps in the defensive secondary. The return of Jeremy Lane and emergence of Deshawn Shead also had a lot to do with his departure. He didn’t work out, so they move on. Many teams don’t follow this method and it almost always leads to disaster for them. It also needs mentioned that Seahawks owner Paul Allen has given them the keys to the kingdom. They have the power to make the moves they need to. Paul Allen leaves the football affairs to John Schneider and doesn’t meddle in player roster moves. Sure, he may have an opinion on some decisions but he lets them decide. Other teams envy the front office the Seahawks have but aren’t as quick to make the right decision, when it needs to be made. This is no problem for the Hawks office and it lets them fill the need at the position faster. They either promote from within (like Deshawn Shead) or find a player off the street that will work better.

When the Seahawks move on from a player like Harvin and Williams it also encourages another philosophy they love to implement, competition. When they cut ties with players that don’t work out, it sends a message. If your not going to compete everyday and contribute to their success, you will get cut. It doesn’t matter how much money is invested or how big of an acquisition the player is. He won’t last long if he’s not dedicated or doing his job.

The Seahawks front office makes the tough decisions others won’t make, they admit when their wrong. They motivate their guys. They keep the hunger and competitive nature alive in players. It’s the formula an NFL football team needs to succeed, even if they have to admit they screwed up. It is also the reason the Seahawks in 2016 have developed depth that may create the perfect storm.