George Hale takes a closer look at 8 man high school football

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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - THERE WERE TWO THINGS PEOPLE WERE REALLY GIVING OPINIONS ON THIS WEEK IN MY SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS.
EVERYONE WANTED TO TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER FACING THE PATRIOTS AND CHIEFS IN KANSAS CITY OR THE WEATHER HERE IN MAINE.
THE PREDICTED FRIGID NUMBERS IN ARROWHEAD STADIUM AND THE INCHES OF SNOW APT TO HIT US ON SUNDAY IN NEW ENGLAND.
TRY AS WE MAY NOT MUCH WE CAN DO ABOUT THE WEATHER.
JUST GRIN AND BEAR IT.

ONE THING THAT KEPT ME BUSY WITH MY SPORTS BRETHERN IS THE NEWS THAT A PANEL OF THE MAINE PRINCIPALS ASSOCIATION TALKED ABOUT STARTING TWO DIVISIONS OF EIGHT-MAN FOOTBALL NEXT SEASON.
WHAT SURPRISED MANY WAS THAT AT LEAST 20 SCHOOLS SHOWED SOME INTEREST IN THE NUMBERS REDUCED FORMAT.
THE MPA FOOTBALL COMMITTEE SET SOME DEADLINES AND WE WILL WAIT TO SEE THE RESULTS AND WHAT THEY DECIDE.
INTEREST IN ONE THING BUT ACTION ANOTHER.
LET ME BE CLEAR, I'VE THOUGHT THAT THIS IS GREAT IDEA , FOR CERTAIN TYPES OF SCHOOLS, FOR QUITE A LONG TIME.
SO THE QUESTION ARISES WHY WOULD YOU DO IT?
NUMBERS IS THE ANSWER.

IT'S PURELY A SITUATION OF NOT HAVING ENOUGH PLAYERS IN SOME LEAGUES.
A GROUP OF SCHOOLS, MOSTLY SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZE, HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING TO COME UP WITH SUFFICIENT PARTICIPANTS TO FIELD AN 11 MAN SQUAD.
WHEN YOU ARE DRESSING 21 OR 24 KIDS IT'S A HUGE PROBLEM.
IN CASE YOU THINK MAINE IS AN OUTLIER IN THIS PROBLEM THINK AGAIN.
AT LEAST 17 STATES ARE NOW PLAYING THE 8 MAN GAME FOR THE VERY SAME REASONS THE MPA IS LOOKING AT IT.
THERE ARE 30 STATES THAT PLAY WITH LESS THAN 11 PLAYERS.
TO BE ACCURATE THERE ARE A LOT OF VARIATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY SIX, EIGHT AND NINE PLAYER VERSIONS OF TACKLE FOOTBALL.

IN THE STATES THAT HAVE MADE THE SWITCH THE ALTERNATIVE WAS TO DISCONTINUE THE SPORT.
SOME OF THE COMMENTS I'VE READ ON SOCIAL MEDIA HAVE BEEN ALL OVER THE CHART.
MOST WERE A VARIATION OF THE SAME THEME.
IT'S NOT REAL FOOTBALL, COLLEGES WON'T RECRUIT THE PLAYERS AND FANS WON'T COME OUT.
ALL ARE SIMPLY WRONG.

THERE ARE PLAYERS IN THE NFL PAST AND PRESENT WHO CAME OUT OF 8 MAN TYPE LEAGUES.
A NUMBER OF COLLEGE STARS ALSO HAVE THE SAME CREDENTIALS.
ACTUALLY ONE OF THE ASSETS OF SWITCH IS LIKELY TO BE FEWER INJURIES DUE TO MISMATCHES.
I WON'T GO INTO ALL THE DIFFERENCES BUT THE MAJOR ONE IS TO TAKE THE PLAYERS AT OFFENSIVE TACKLE POSITIONS OFF THE FIELD, ALONG WITH A BACK OR RECEIVER.
IT IS TRUE THAT THE GAMES ARE HIGHER SCORING.
TEAMS GO FOR 2 PT CONVERSIONS MORE OFTEN .

BUT EVEN NOW IN MAINE FOOTBALL 50 AND 60 POINT GAMES HAPPEN EVERY WEEKEND WITH A STANDARD ALIGNMENT OF 11.
SOMETIMES THE FIELD IS SMALLER BUT MOST STATES PLAY ON A STANDARD GRIDIRON.
THE POTENTIAL MAINE PLAN REPLACES THE CLASS E DEVELOPMENTAL LEAGUE WITH AN 8 MAN DIVISION.
OTHER CLASSES WOULD CONTINUE TO PLAY AS THEY DO NOW IF THAT'S WHAT THEY CHOOSE.
WHEN YOU SEE REDUCED PLAYER TEAMS IN FOOTBALL CRAZY STATES LIKE TEXAS AND NEBRASKA THEN THE MPA IS ON THE RIGHT TRACK.

IF WE REALLY WANT TO SAVE FOOTBALL AT ALL LEVELS IN MAINE THEN SOME CHANGES WILL NEED TO BE MADE.
SOME SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE SIMPLY RUNNING LOW ON PLAYERS FOR THEIR FOOTBALL TEAMS.
IT'S THAT SIMPLE.
A FOOTBALL PLAYER IS A FOOTBALL PLAYER.
A FOOTBALL GAME IS A FOOTBALL GAME.
PERIOD.

THIS IS GEORGE HALE WITH MY PERSPECTIVE ON SPORTS.