If you can, travel in your head back to late August and early September. The college football community was in an uproar over the new addendums to the targeting penalty. Something had to be done. There was no way this injustice could stand.
Fast forward to today, and all that vitriol has washed away. Granted, that's partly because the 2013 season has been done for nearly a full month now (my how time flies). And it's partly because officials got a lot better at spotting what is and is not a targeting penalty.
There were 10 targeting flags thrown in the first weekend of play, and only two in the 35 postseason bowl games. Perhaps the officials were just as keyed up by all the discussion as the rest of us. “If you noticed the buzz about this died down over the last six weeks of the season,” national coordinator of college football officials Rogers Redding told the Orlando Sentinel. “We heard very little about from anybody.”
Redding is college football's version of Mike Pereira, the spokesman for all of college football's men in stripes.
There were a total of 94 targeting flags thrown this season - and 32 were overturned by instant replay. To be clear, that was the true point of angst this season. Targeting was around before this season, but ejecting a player for above-the-neck shots and upholding the 15-yard penalty even when the flag was picked up were not.
This year marks an off-year for the rules committee, and Redding would like to see his colleagues stand strong when the next round of legislation comes up.
“I’m going to try to get the committee to go slow on that one and have a very good discussion about it because I think we can be perceived as backing away from a very successful rule that is clearly intended entirely for the safety of the players," he said.