By Tyler Gutwein, Staff

It’s fairly well known that high school athletics differ greatly than professional athletics. Whether that is between the physical capabilities of athletes between levels or making a sport easier to watch, there are many reasons for the variations in rules.

The National Football League (NFL) is the premier level for professional football. In order to keep this status, they have rules to keep things in a certain flow they see fit. However, safety is their number one priority in all this. Rules can be made either for safety or for entertainment, but will never make a rule that would harm the players.

The NFL kickoff rules have been changed this year for the sake of player safety. However, in the NFL, a kick into the end zone can still be caught and returned by the receiving team. In high school, the ball automatically becomes a touchback.

Zach Sibila, a junior offensive lineman on the football team, said, “I think it’s because professionals are more used to looking up and preparing to get hit immediately. High school players aren’t as physically capable of doing the same thing.”

Targetting is when a player either hits another player in the head or uses the crown (top) of the helmet to hit another player anywhere. In high school and the NFL, it is a 15-yard penalty with a potential ejection. In college, however, it is 15 yards and an automatic ejection.

In high school, pass interference is only a 15-yard penalty. In the NFL, it’s either 15 yards or it’s a spot foul. A spot foul causes the ball to get moved up to the spot where the infraction occurred. If a spot foul occurs in the end zone, the ball is placed at the one-yard line.

Josh Stone, a sophomore quarterback, said, “It changes how players defend the pass. They can be more aggressive on balls thrown deep down the field, knowing that it is only 15 yards if they mess up rather than a huge play or a touchdown.”

While some people may think variations between NFL and high school rules are unnecessary or should be revised, it seems that the differences between the two level will forever remain.