This pisses me off. The National Federation of State High School Associations has closed the scrimmage kick formation "loophole," essentially killing the A-11 offense. What the f_ck is he talking about?
Background: A couple years ago, the Piedmont (CA) HS football coach got to thinkin'. You see, Piedmont (800 enrollment) routinely got rolled by league opponents who's enrollments were double their own. Playing straight-up, smash mouth football just wasn't working. Enter the A-11. I'll let the New York Times describe the formation:
By placing one of the quarterbacks at least seven yards behind the line of scrimmage, and no one under center to receive the snap, the A-11 qualifies as a scrimmage kick formation — the alignments used for punts and extra points. Thus interior linemen are granted an exception from having to wear jersey numbers 50 through 79. (The exception was intended to allow a team’s deep snapper not to have to switch to a lineman’s jersey if he was a back or an end.) Any player wearing jersey numbers 1 through 49 and 80 through 99 is potentially eligible to receive a pass.
Piedmont’s basic A-11 formation calls for a center flanked by two guards, who are essentially tight ends. Two quarterbacks, or a quarterback and a running back, line up behind the center, with three receivers split to each side.
Under football rules, seven players must begin each play on the line of scrimmage and only five are permitted to run downfield to receive a pass — the two players at the end of the line and three situated behind the line. The difficult task for a team defending against the A-11 is to quickly and accurately figure out who those five eligible receivers are.
Prior to each Piedmont play, only the center initially goes to the line of scrimmage. The two “guards” and the split receivers each stand one and a half yards off the line. Then, just before the ball is snapped, Piedmont shifts into formation for the signaled play. With this simple movement, the possibilities for eligible receivers become dizzying.
Personally, I think it's genius. I mean, the guy created an entire offense around a punt formation! It's especially great if you are physically "out-manned" because of enrollment or otherwise. This takes the larger school's defensive bigs off the field, at the same time saving your own bigs' effectiveness by not having them play both-ways.
Well, the NFHS called bullshit and closed the uniform number "loophole." They said:
"It was unethical for them to use a loophole in the rules to run this offense," said Mike Webb, the supervisor of football officials for the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission who is on the NFHS football rules committee. "This takes away the deception."
"Unethical?" Come on. They claim it's too hard to officiate, sort of like why the 'ol fumbleroosky was outlawed. I don't buy it. I think the powers-that-be were afraid that it looked too much like flag football or basketball on grass. What's wrong with some creativity, thinking outside the box, ahead of your time, or whatever phrase you want to use?
Maybe we should also eliminate the "Wildcat" formation and the triple-option. Too much deception.