Breaking the rules, if logical to do so

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Alcott, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Alcott

    Alcott
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    I might do a poll on this later, but at our Super Bowl party yesterday/last night, near the end I told everyone that it would be logical for Baltimore to have its 10 blockers all grab a defender and take him down-- overt holding... because, with 11 seconds left, 4th down at their own 5, they intended to have the punter just kill as many seconds as he could before ceding those 2 points for a safety. If the penalty was called, the time would not be put back on the clock, and all the time may be run out-- in which case SF could have forced another play, but it would inherantly have been a quick kneeldown at the 2 1/2, so no problem (and declining the penalty would end the game). As it was, there were 4 seconds left to free kick, so if unpenalized holds did not run all the time out, the situation would be the same as it was. And while there was some holding, the way cameras follow the ball I couldn't tell if they did that particular thing. One guy who disagreed at first, finally said, "You know, that's a good idea."

    Although I'm not a basketball fan, this compares with some tactics used in a close baseketball game in the final moments-- i.e., the team trying to catch up deliberately foulding an opponent because there's a greater possibility of winning by putting them at the free-throw line, rather than letting the team ahead keep the ball and run the time out.

    Is it "Christian" to deliberately violate the rules, even if it's logical to do so? Should 'the rules' of anything we participate be considered among the "higher powers" that should be obeyed, unless they inherantly require us to violate a direct rule of God (a different topic)? Or, is sports so trivial as to consider it outside any reasonable scope of such "higher powers" referred to in Romans 13? For that matter, since playing some sports does require what would normally be clearly wrong [i.e., grabbing a person and throwing him to the ground-- "tackling" in football] do the rules matter at all in any exclusive moral context? This can lead, of course, to such a question as "Should Christians play, or have any involvement, with any sports or games?"
     
    #1 Alcott, Feb 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2013
  2. InTheLight

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    Wow, good thoughts on Ravens strategy to blatantly hold on the punting play with 12 seconds left in the game.

    As to Christians deliberately breaking the rules to give their team an advantage I don't think it is an ethical problem and I'm certain it is not a sin. Deliberately fouling an opponent in a basketball game is a routine strategy and an accepted part of the game, in fact they have "flagrant foul" rules to differentiate serious fouls from the 'acceptable' fouls. Your scenario of blatantly holding by the offense to eat up the clock is certainly not a routine strategy. I know the NFL has a rule called "palpably wrong" foul (or somesuch) that might cover this strategy, but even so the punishment, IIRC, is ejection of the player. As you said, the clock would run out in any event.

    I don't think the rules of sports are at the same level of the "higher powers" Christians are to be subject to so I don't think it un-Christian to break the rules when it logically makes sense.

    Great thought provoking topic!
     
  3. Andy T.

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    So in your scenario, you would still have the punter run around in the end zone and take the safety, correct? And assuming the refs call holding on the intentional holds - in that scenario, the 49ers would have just declined the penalty, and the Ravens still would've had to do the free kick, and the 49ers still had a chance at a "miracle" run back.

    Or were you thinking that with the intentional holding by the entire line, that the punter would've had more time to run around in the end zone and possibly kill all 12 seconds? Now that maybe could have been a possibility, but one of the faster defenders still would've come around the end and probably forced the punter out with at least a second or two left, and again, the Niners would've declined the penalty and forced a free kick.
     
  4. InTheLight

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    I thought he meant the blatant holding would allow the Ravens to run out the clock without having to give up the safety. Since there is no rule about the game ending on an offensive penalty, the game would be over.

    I was wondering why the 49ers on the ensuing free kick didn't go into the multiple lateraling the ball do-or-die kick return strategy.
     
  5. InTheLight

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    I just heard on the radio that Joe Flacco was instructing teammates to amass on the sideline for the free kick with 4 seconds left in the game. He was telling them if Ted Ginn of the 49ers breaks free that someone should run onto the field and tackle him so he doesn't score. Teammates looked at him oddly and told him that he should be the guy and Flacco said he would do it.

    Not sure what the rule would be in that instance but I think the ref can give the 49ers a touchdown. I seem to remember this happening in a college game when I was a little kid and they gave the receiving team a touchdown.
     
  6. Winman

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    There was a college game way back where a fellow ran off the sideline and tackled a runner on the opposing team. I am not sure they could award a touchdown, but they might place the ball on the one yard line and give the opposing team a play. You can't end a game on a defensive penalty.

    Whether logical or not, no one should ever cheat to win. You might win the game, but you will be called a cheater forever.
     
  7. InTheLight

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    This is true but the punting team is on offense, so it would be an offensive penalty.
     
  8. Winman

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    I am not sure of that, once a punt play starts, the punting team is the defense. I could be wrong.
     
  9. Alcott

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    You are probably referring to the Cotton Bowl game of 1954, in which Alabama player Tommy Lewis, on the bench at the time when Rice's Dickey Maegle got loose for a long touchdown run, came off the bench and tackled him. Rice was awarded a TD. I think I've read that Lewis always kept a low profile for the rest of his life (and I don't know if he's still living or not), because the questions would inevitably pop up about it and he felt embarrassed about that one-time spur-of-the-moment fragrant illegality based on team loyalty and sudden anger.

    Are you saying that a basketball team should never commit a deliberate foul just to have another chance with the ball, even though that usually makes its chances of winning go from impossible to very unlikely?

    How about if a football team needs field goal to win, and knows its kicker is less accurate from line of scrimmage on the one yard line, at the right hash mark, than he is from the 6, because of the kicking angle. Is it wrong to let the play clock run out so the ball if placed 5 yards back to the 6?
     
  10. Winman

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    No, in basketball it is acceptable to foul to stop the clock. The fouled team usually wins by a greater margin, and often important players foul out.

    I do not believe it cheating to purposely draw a play clock to move the ball back 5 yards either. Done more on punts than field goals or extra points.

    But sending someone off the sideline to tackle a runner is unacceptable under any circumstances. And perhaps that is why a touchdown is awarded on the play. I really don't know the official rule on this type of foul.
     
  11. Alcott

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    But with this is the gist of what this thread is meant to be about. As I said, I'm not a basketball fan, but it's very hard to believe there has not been some time that a team which deliberately fouled just in hopes the opponent would miss one or both free-throws and they would have the ball at the end did not manage to actually win using that strategy. So was that cheating to win?-- since cheating is breaking the rules [that's the def.; isn't it?] and that's what such a team did. Otherwise, we just assume since they 'paid' for what they did, by allowing the opponent a couple of free-throws, it's all OK. But if that's the case, then holding, offside, delay of game, traveling, catcher interference... none of those are cheating if you pay the price for them.

    Does sports/athletics have no such thing as cheating in the moral sense?
     
  12. InTheLight

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    It's not the officials job to determine intent on the part of the player committing a foul,
    including the case of the player coming off the sidelines to make a tackle. Therefore it's not cheating.
     
  13. Alcott

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    You lost me on this, as you seem to be saying there is no such thing as cheating.
     
  14. InTheLight

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    In basketball, while jumping up to block a shot, when a defensive player slaps the shooter's wrist causing the shot to be missed is that cheating? Are the officials supposed to determine intent on the part of the defender? Likewise a cornerback when covering a wide receiver gets his legs tangled up with the receiver, is that cheating?

    Only the person committing the foul knows if it was deliberately done. Since there are penalties for committing fouls, since they are a part of the rules I would say there is no cheating, just penalties.

    Your hypothetical scenario of the Ravens holding and dragging as many defenders to the ground as possible to give the punter time to run out the clock could be seen as cheating because it is collusion to commit a foul, and therefore could be deemed to be deliberate.

    As I said, very thought provoking topic, hard to pin down.
     
  15. FriendofSpurgeon

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    Both in football and in basketball, a player can cause a penalty (or foul) within the accepted rules of the game. In football, for instance, if you are a cornerback and the wide receiver jukes you. You have a choice to either hold or give up a touchdown. Or you're an offensive tackle who missed your block - you can either hold or have your QB take a vicious hit. In both cases, you better hold and take the 10 yard penalty. Likewise in basketball, if you're behind with only seconds left, you foul to put the other team on the free throw line. Or, if someone is coming down the lane for a layup, you foul to put them on the line instead of giving up two easy points. All of these are accepted as being part of the game.

    However, these are different than a concerted effort by the entire team to ignore the rules of the game to run off an extra few seconds. I'm not sure if there is a rule on this, but it would be cheating.

    And it's very different than Flacco's comment about running on the field and tackling from the sideline. That is indeed out and out cheating. There is a penalty in the rule book for this. Basically, it goes with the officials' judgment, which can even include a touchdown for the other team. Good thing for the Ravens that Ted Ginn Jr. didn't make it.
     
  16. ccrobinson

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    Which is exactly what the Ravens were doing. Everybody on the O-line was holding on that play.


    From what I found, it's up to the officials to decide what to do. If Ginn was running free at the moment he was tackled, they could have awarded a TD.


    It's happened before. The most famous one was the 1983 NCAA Championship Game between NC State and Houston. Houston was the superior team and were leading in the 2nd half, but NC State started fouling, Houston missed free throws, and eventually, it led to the famous dunk by Lorenzo Charles to win the game. It wasn't cheating to win. It was playing within the boundaries of the game. NC State violated the rules of the game by fouling and had to pay the penalty. In this case, that penalty was free throws by Houston. The fact that Houston missed them is irrelevant to whether NC State was cheating.


    Since when do officials not determine intent? They do it the entire game on almost every play. Was the offensive lineman holding or not? Did the cornerback and wide receiver make incidental contact or was there pass interference? Did the defender intentionally grab the facemask of the ball carrier, or did he accidentally grab it while tackling and immediately let go? Did the linebacker lead with his helmet, or lead with his shoulder? All of these are judgment calls and all of them have something to do with intent.

    If Flacco had gone on the field and tackled Ginn as he was running clear to score, the officials probably would have awarded a TD.



    Incorrect. All of the things you mentioned are still cheating. Just because a player didn't get caught cheating doesn't mean he/she wasn't cheating. The phrase "it's only cheating if you get caught" is false.

    Take a look at the end of the 1993 NCAA Championship Game here.

    Chris Webber takes a step before putting the ball on the floor. Clear traveling. Is it cheating? Of course. The referee somehow missed it, but it doesn't mean Webber didn't travel and didn't cheat. Did he intend to cheat? No, but that doesn't matter. It's not a judgment call.


    This was not hypothetical. It actually happened. The Ravens cheated on that play, but the penalty was that the defense would have forced a safety, which is what the Ravens wanted anyway.


    There's no rule about this. The Giants did a similar thing last year when they had 12 men on the field during one of the Patriots plays on the final drive. It cost the Patriots time, which they needed far more than the yards. I read that the rules committee was going to look into this, but I don't think anything came of it.
     
  17. Alcott

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    Well, he was living at the time of this thread, but he died this week.
    http://www.mysuncoast.com/sports/fo...cle_11add9b9-ef29-5add-879c-e085a5a6832d.html
     

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