GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

November 23, 2012

Crunch Time


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Horrible Rule

Thursday’s Lions vs. Texans Thanksgiving Day clash put a terrible rule in the spotlight.

Texans running back Justin Forsette was clearly down after about a seven yard gain but the play was never whistled dead and Forsette raced all the way to the end zone for a long touchdown run.

In the NFL all scoring plays and turnovers are automatically reviewed and a challenge is not needed. Lions coach Jim Schwartz, however, got caught up in the moment and threw the challenge setting off a bad rule which states that if a coach throws a challenge flag on a score or turnover, it’s a 15 yard penalty and the play can no longer be reviewed no matter how obvious the error.

Schwartz should know this rule and there is no excuse for him to throw the flag, but that doesn’t make the rule any better. The NFL rightfully wants to get plays right through replay, and this rule prevented that from happening, coaching error or not.

Smith leads

Zach Smith did not play a down this season after Gloucester’s week four win over Peabody due to a shoulder injury. But that didn’t stop the senior running back from leading the team in rushing despite the fact that he missed the final seven games of the season.

Smith finished up with a team best 497 rushing yards through four games, an impressive number that really puts into perspective the type of season he was having.

System Still Broken

Gloucester football fans got a taste of how flawed the MIAA playoff system is in 2010 when the 11-0 Fishermen had to travel to 8-3 Lincoln-Sudbury in the Division 1A playoffs instead of playing the contest at a neutral site. Gloucester won the contest 21-0 because, despite the disadvantage of playing on the road, it was a superior football team.

Well two years later the MIAA continues to give teams a gigantic advantage by awarding teams home playoff games.

For the fifth season in a row Reading will get to play a playoff game at its home stadium while Weymouth and Burlington will also be playing at the friendly confines of its respective home fields.

Why this system has not changed is beyond comprehension, Gloucester fans know first hand how playing on your home field can be an advantage.

The bottom line is it’s football, team’s are going to draw crowds for playoff games no matter where they are held, but the MIAA continues to give teams advantages by allowing them to play at home, even if the team has an inferior record.

Fortunately the system will be completely overhauled next season and we will not have to worry about this anymore.

— Compiled by Nick Curcuru