Today's Tidbit... Offsetting Offside Penalties
In the recent article about the Reverse Center, I mentioned that in January 1942, the college rules committee chose to minimize changes to football's rules, mainly due to America's entry into WWII.
Among the rules “adjustments” made in 1942 was outlawing the reverse center. Another change was the elimination of offsetting offside penalties. Apparently, officials of the times recognized instances where players on both teams were offside but did not know which side to blame, so they called both teams offside, resulting in a do-over.
Subsequent rule changes made the officials' jobs easier. In particular, before 1968, college offensive lines could take their place on the line of scrimmage, place one or both hands on the ground, and still shift to a different spot. Offensive coaches took advantage of this rule by using "sucker shifts" to draw defensive players offside.
Since 1968, offensive linemen cannot move after getting set, so the officials' jobs are now a piece of cake.
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