Steve Shaw had a lot to say about the targeting rule when he spoke to the Gulf Coast Athletic Club earlier this week. And the coordinator of football officials for the Southeastern Conference didn’t mince words, calling it the “the most significant rule change” since his involvement in the early 1990s.
“Our game is absolutely under attack, there’s no question about that. Even the president of the United States said: ‘If I had a son, I’m not sure I’d let him play football.’ We may pass that off, but those are impactful words. There’re a lot of people out there with lawsuits. The NFL has just settled a lawsuit, but it’s not over. That’s just the first stage.
“From my perspective, I believe targeting – where you target a defenseless player above the shoulders, is what the rule says, or you use the crown or top of your helmet to deliver a blow — those are dangerous acts. You get concussions and, when you use the crown or top of your helmet, that’s when you get catastrophic injuries.
“I’m just going to tell you our game is under attack, and I believe that coaches, players and officials have to make a change in our game or we’re going to have people changing our game that we don’t want changing our game. We have got to make some changes with our game or people are going to change it for us.”
And those changes should be made before the season starts, according to Shaw.
“We’ve never had more conversations with coaches and players about proper technique,” he said. “I go to every school in the summer, and I talk to the players, and they ask, ‘What am I supposed to do?’ And we give them three pieces of advice. No. 1, keep your head up. See what you hit. Lower your target is No. 2. And then No. 3 is wrap your arms up.”