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Point, counterpoint: Should victory formation be protected from contact?

Posted Dec 4, 2012


Vic KetchmanPackers.com Editor Vic Ketchman says yes.

In keeping with the league’s major emphasis on player safety, the time-honored “victory formation,” the intent of which is for the quarterback to kneel with the ball for the purpose of extinguishing the time remaining on the game clock, should be protected from contact from the defense. Why? Because risking injury is unnecessary on a meaningless play.

Come on, ask yourself this question: When was the last time you saw a quarterback in victory formation fumble the snap from center and the defense recover? Hey, the Giants weren’t in victory formation when Herman Edwards executed the “Miracle in the Meadowlands.”

The victory formation and its subsequent exchange from center to quarterback is a signal for fans and players alike that this game is over. It’s been that way for a long time. Since we now have a coach that doesn’t understand that message, the players he wishes to put at risk need to be protected.

Here’s my idea: The quarterback will inform the referee of the offense’s intent to assume the victory formation. The referee will then inform the defense of the offense’s intent. At that point, the defense may not make contact with the offense. If the exchange is fumbled or the offense doesn’t execute the procedures according to the rules that govern victory formation, which will require an immediate and deliberate kneel down by the quarterback, the offense will incur a penalty and loss of down, and the clock will stop and the time will be restored.

Problem solved, no one injured. In fact, there’s probably a better chance of the defense recovering the ball in that system than there is in the current system.

Mike SpoffordPackers.com Staff Writer Mike Spofford says no.

Why do we have to legislate everything? Why does there need to be a procedure? The last thing the league needs is more rules and step-by-step handbooks.

Look, I’m not a fan of how a certain team is “defending” against the victory formation. I’m a fan of losing with some respect for the game and for the opponent.

If a team isn’t willing to lose that way, because of some new coach’s idea of teaching his team to play hard until the bitter end, then the teams and the players need to police themselves, find their own methods of enforcement. I think you know what I mean.

I’d rather have a league in which we can tell which teams – professional football teams – are capable of losing with dignity. If there’s one or more that can’t, deal with it the best you can at that moment, and then over time these things have a way of sorting themselves out.

I think over time, a coach that forces his players to put their own and others’ health and safety at risk for a one-in-a-gazillion chance at getting the ball back is a coach players won’t want to play for, and a coach players won’t want to play for is a coach an owner won’t be able to afford to keep employed in the NFL for very long. That’s what I think.

Don’t take the power away from the players. We’re dealing with an anomaly, and in the bigger picture the players are more closely aligned with their brethren than they are to any coaches. Players play this game for, among other things, respect, and in the long run they’ll want that from their fellow players more than they’ll want an “attaboy” from their coach after a loss.

I don’t think there will suddenly be a slew of teams adopting this type of “defense” against the victory formation. This won’t be a trend. It doesn’t need a new rule or a new procedure.

It just needs time. It’s professional football, and it will take care of itself.

Cast your vote in the poll on the right, please.

 
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