BTFS (1/19/02): Football observers everywhere defiantly know the affects that weather can have on a sporting contest. And sometimes, weather can just act right down plain Unsportmanlike!
There are various football leagues around the world that starts at various times of the year. Most start during summer and fall but some do start during winter and spring depending where you are located. Professional football starts during late July and extends through late January. During this time frame, fans, coaches, players and officials can expect weather from severe thunderstorms to winter blizzards.
Game officials at all levels of play have inclement weather guidelines to follow for a given game. These guidelines are established by their state associations or league offices depending on the level of play and can be changed periodically to accommodate the necessary safety issues.
The main obligation of game officials is the concern of player safety. When weather is a safety concern, the officials have every right to suspend a contest and more than likely will. In most cases, officials will allow for play to continue through rain, snow, sleet and other elements; however, when lightning is involved that’s a different story. When lightning is present the game must be suspended immediately for the safety concerns of players, officials, other game administration and also for the fans. The time of the suspension solely depends on the guidelines adopted.
Weather just doesn’t have an impact on safety; it also has a major impact on the game itself. Rain, sleet, snow wind and low temperatures all have a bearing on each and every play. Wind causes passes to fly off course along with field goals and punts. Rain, sleet, snow, and low temperatures cause players to loose control of the football or not even gain possession and creates a cold and miserable game. The field gets all muddy and causes players and game officials to slip all over the place and possibly injure themselves.
For the most part, the weather can be cooperative and most fans wish it would be. Weather suspensions are very rare so they usually don’t affect the game that much. So basically, to sports fans everywhere bad weather is just plain nasty! Although, if you stop and think about it the weather elements do create an exciting game!
Behind the Football Stripes