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Old 02-13-2019, 07:47 PM   #1
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Historic HS football proposal reduces contact in N.J. to lowest ever - anywhere

New Jersey is on the verge of implementing a historic rule change involving the reduction of full contact time. (John Munson | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
By JJ Conrad | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on February 13, 2019 3:49 PM, updated February 13, 2019 5:11 PM
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A groundbreaking new football rule is on its way toward bringing fewer players to the ground.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association unanimously passed a historic mandate Wednesday at its monthly Executive Committee meeting regarding player-on-player practice contact -- i.e. tackling -- that will make New Jersey's year-round high school football regulations "the most restrictive" ever at any level of football.

The significant reduction includes limiting programs to just 15 minutes of full contact per week -- down from 90 minutes in 2018. That time, the NJSIAA said, does not include "thudding" periods - hitting without taking players to the ground.

Full contact will also be reduced to just six hours during the preseason -- down from an unlimited amount last year -- and does include scrimmages.

The proposal, which still must pass a second reading to be implemented for the 2019 season, has received mixed reviews.

"That's a joke," St. Joseph (Mont.) coach Augie Hoffmann said. "15 minutes of contact per week? You have to learn how to tackle on game days. This is an intricate part of the game and I'm not saying we need to hit or tackle every day. I just think 15 minutes is a little extreme.

"I would love to see who's been in on these decisions. How many people that have actually played and understand the game are making these decisions? Because they seem like arbitrary numbers."

The proposal came to the NJSIAA from Terry O'Neil, founder of Practice Like Pros -- a national movement dedicated to reducing needless injury in high school football. O'Neil said N.J. has "pioneered a model that is sure to be emulated across the country."

NJSIAA assistant director Jack Dubois said many coaches "didn't even come close to the 90 minutes" of allowed contact per week last season.

"We didn't tackle guys to the ground in practice all year," Ramapo coach Drew Gibbs said. "If you're coaching correctly, you don't really have to do that, aside from a little in training camp. As a guy who just had a season 13 games long, you get beat up. The last thing you need is being tackled to the ground during the week."

Piscataway coach Dan Higgins offered a similar sentiment, opting to "blow a quick whistle" to avoid unnecessary collisions in practices.

"We like to save our best contact for Friday night lights," Higgins said.

If adopted, the reduction would be the lowest contact-time limit in the history of football -- less than mandates by the NFL, NCAA, Ivy League, USA Football, Pop Warner or any other football jurisdiction.

"Coaches are starting to realize that you can't use kids if they're hurt in practice come game time," NJSIAA executive director Larry White said. "Remember, it's still just 15 minutes of contact. The key is you can still teach the skills of tackling. A lot of that is just 'thud.' Making sure you get the proper angles, the proper techniques and wrapping up."

While safety remains the primary concern for all, some coaches feel the new rule could have unintended consequences.

Learning to tackle on sleds or against dummies is one thing, but taking down an oncoming runner -- particularly for newer and younger players -- is a skill that must be taught and experienced first-hand.

"We're not dealing with college-level and pro-level athletes who already understand how to tackle," Bridgewater-Raritan coach Scott Bray said. "You may be bringing a kid into a situation where you've limited his understanding of how to handle different situations. ... I'd hate to see us put a kid in a vulnerable position just because he hasn't played before."

For smaller schools, this rule change, by design, could both help and hurt programs. It would potentially limit practice injuries, but it could increase them on game days if players aren't fully prepared with proper technique.

"We donít do any unnecessary contact and have been fortunate to avoid injuries the last two years," Penns Grove coach John Emel said. "Weíll have to assess it and see how the new policy fits with what weíve done in the past.

"One of the things thatís helped make our game safer the last few years is teaching technique. I hope we have the time to teach the proper techniques in the preseason. If not, you just may see a rise in injuries."
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:57 PM   #2
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:25 AM   #3
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I wouldn't have believed it but there may come a day where football is just a memory. Won't be in our lifetime but it sure looks like the groundwork is being laid. If you don't think it possible ask yourself if you thought in the 60s that smoking would be banned in so many places.
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:46 AM   #4
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We are already close to losing our midget aged football players. Not because the parents are pussies, but because some got stars in their eyes. Coaches think they can be the next great coach and little Joey is going to make 20 million a year if we become a travel team. The cost to play goes up and you drive 1 1/2-2 hrs to play and if you are the lucky parent of players in different levels, you may be at the field for 3-5 hrs on a Sunday. They barely have enough players field a team. When my kids were involved we had the best concession stand, we made a grand + each week and we kept the price of membership down, the roster was loaded at each level and we were in the top 2 teams in the league each year . 4 years later the varsity was reaping the rewards of kids who were used to winning and who learned the fundamentals along the way. We developed a good rapport with the HS staff and the program was strong from the bottom to the top. This past season the varsity had a small roster, the 2 programs have nothing to do with each other and it truly shows in the results.
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoDakIggle View Post
I wouldn't have believed it but there may come a day where football is just a memory. Won't be in our lifetime but it sure looks like the groundwork is being laid. If you don't think it possible ask yourself if you thought in the 60s that smoking would be banned in so many places.
Remember the Jetsons--- and how they "did" Football---- maybe not so laughable now!
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:58 PM   #6
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Remember the Jetsons--- and how they "did" Football---- maybe not so laughable now!
there may be more truth in that than people want to believe. Not just football.

mm, wholeheartedly agree. My grandsons played hockey in Minnesota. A state where hockey reigns supreme. 7 and 8 year olds are traveling every weekend to tournaments. They have summer programs to develop them for the next year. Hell they are 7 the ain't getting drafted next year. We have colleges scouting 12 year olds in football and other sports. My niece has two boys in Jersey that are around 11 and 13. Both play travel baseball, one travel hockey and one travel basketball, and both play football. It is non stop for them. Some of that has to be put on the parents but some is on the programs that are available
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:22 PM   #7
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I'm not against it if the kids want it and aren't being made to do it. I learned the hard way, my oldest son just didn't like baseball like I wanted him to. He was athletic enough to be pretty good, just not into it. Our football team left the league we were in and dominating because of our success. The parents didn't follow. A bunch of our kids had trouble getting to our practices and games and they were within 10 miles of their homes. Now they wanted better competition, so they are now driving a long distance each Sunday and barely have enough players. Everyone is losing out.
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Old 02-15-2019, 06:07 AM   #8
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In Texas, they would laugh at this proposal. Not only do they not give a shit about head injuries, they encourage hitting at all ages. Then again, they live and breath football to the point that itís a bizarre obsession.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:09 AM   #9
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Here’s a link to an article on some discussions they’re having in Texas.....
https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Societ...om-concussions

What’s been a real shocker to me, is that a few Hall of Fame guys have admitted that they hope their kids don’t want to play football. I mean, in my opinion that’s the most....is “damning” the right word? I think it’s the most damning statement you could have.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:03 AM   #10
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In Texas, they would laugh at this proposal. Not only do they not give a shit about head injuries, they encourage hitting at all ages. Then again, they live and breath football to the point that itís a bizarre obsession.
Then again--- It's frieken Texass!
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