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SHOULD THE FOOTBALL RULES BE REVISED?

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Now that the excitement of the Yale game has subsided, there has arisen a widespread sentiment that the football rules are more responsible for the dissatisfying result than any other factor. The weakening of the offence by the ten yard rule and the prohibition of all pushing and pulling of the man with the ball has made it very hard for a team to make first down against an opponent its equal in strength when the play is in the middle of the field, and well-nigh impossible when close to the goal-line. For this reason most of the scoring between evenly matched teams during the fall has been made through field goals. When touchdowns have been scored they have resulted very often from flukes and long runs of the kind that White of Princeton has figured in so conspicuously.

If the touchdown has really been eliminated from matches between teams of nearly equal strength, as appears to be the case, ought not something be done to make up for it? A great deal of deliberation should come first, but we believe that some change should be made to increase the chance of scoring. In general there are two ways by which this result can be accomplished. The first, by decreasing the distance to be gained, for first down, or increasing the number of downs, it would be possible to bring back the old-style rushing game and frequent scores by touchdown. Such a change would practically put an end to the open playing that the present rules sought to encourage, and again put the game face to face with all the problems of the old-style football. By opening up the game, the present rules were a step away from this--the only trouble was that they did not go far enough to make consistent use of open plays worth while. The second way of increasing the chances of scoring is by changing the rules so as to make such consistent gaining by open plays more possible, and scores from field-goals more frequent. Exactly how the open plays should be modified is difficult to determine. An increase in the distance between goal-posts would make field-goals more easily secured and might prove an advisable change. The present semi-open game is universally acknowledged to be an improvement on its predecessor and if more changes in the rules are to come they should be steps in the same direction.

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