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Of the four important changes adopted at the annual meeting of the Football Rules Committee this past weekend, one is especially significant. Although proposals for the elimination of the second half kick-off and for moving the goal posts back to the goal line were not acted upon, and Glenn Warner's suggestion that points be scored for first downs was met with laughter, rules regarding the "dead fumble" and the try for point after a touchdown from the two-yard line instead of from the three-yard line, were among those adopted.
Most significant is the "dead fumble" ruling which provides that hereafter a fumbled ball is dead at the point of recovery, if recovered by the defensive team, and remains in possession of that team. Heretofore, fumbled punts and fumbled lateral passes have been dead, but fumbles in scrimmage have not, and complications have resulted. The new rule also applies to fumbles of all types of kicked balls and not merely to fumbled punts.
Two desirable results of the dead fumble from the practical point of view are a generally desired uniformity regarding fumbles, and a reduction in the loss suffered by a team thru the error of an individual, who is usually entirely responsible for a fumble that may cost the game. From the romantic point of view there is the objection that one of the thrills of the game has been removed, although this is somewhat offset by the opinion of other authorities that a more open and spectacular game of double and triple passing will result.
Football authorities differ as to the advisability of the now ruling. William J. Bingham 16, Director of Athletics, is among those who feel the "dead fumble" rule will rob the game of one of its biggest thrills. On the whole, however, opinion seems to favor this new evidence of the present tendency to sacrifice the spectacular in football in the interests of greater precision.
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