Title:
Netting for football goal post
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A netting material attached to a football goal post where the netting is secured at the upper two corners to the back side of the vertical uprights to provide a slack loose netting attachment behind the goal pots to collect successfully kicked footballs kicked between the uprights and the horizontal crossbar. A plurality of retainer ties are secured to the vertical border of the netting and loosely looped around the adjacent vertical upright, while a bottom retainer tie or ties are looped around the crossbar, provided the netting is sufficiently open at the bottom to enable successfully kicked footballs to drop to the ground beneath the goal post. The retainer ties maintain loose engagement of the netting with the uprights and crossbar to provide slack loose attachment to the backside of the goal post. Raising and lowering of the netting on the goal post can be manual alignment or alternatively activated by a pulley system comprising a pulley wheel secured to each upright and the load-bearing end of the pulley rope attached to the mesh net.



Inventors:
Hlavin, Dale J. (Westlake, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/231905
Publication Date:
03/04/2004
Filing Date:
08/30/2002
Assignee:
MARKERS, INC.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B63/00; (IPC1-7): A63B63/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hudak, Shunk & Farine Co. LPA (Tallmadge, OH, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A netting attachment to a football goal post having laterally spaced vertical uprights supported by an intervening lower horizontal crossbar member attached to the lower end of the vertical uprights, the area between the vertical uprights and above the horizontal crossbar defining a successful kick area, the crossbar supported by at least one vertical support post, comprising: a netting attached to the backside of the vertical uprights, the netting having a mesh net secured peripherally to border edge material of laterally spaced vertical border cords and vertically spaced top and bottom border cords, the border edge material adapted to maintain the mesh net in approximate rectangular form for attachment between the laterally spaced vertical uprights and deployment behind the vertical uprights and the horizontal crossbar; the netting having a corner attachment means secured to the border edge material at each of the two upper corners of the rectangular netting for attachment of the deployed netting to the backside of the adjacent respective vertical upright to provide upper attachment of the netting to the respective adjacent vertical upright; and each vertical border cord on the netting having a plurality of retainer means spaced vertically for loose engagement of the respective adjacent vertical upright, each retainer means secured to the respective vertical border cord and loosely looped around the adjacent vertical upright to provide loose attachment and slack deployment of the netting behind and between the laterally spaced vertical uprights, the deployed netting adapted to catch a football kicked between the uprights and above the horizontal crossbar without interfering with the successfully kicked football.

2. The netting of claim 1, wherein the retainer means comprises flexible ties looped around the respective vertical upright.

3. The netting of claim 2, wherein the netting has at least four retainer ties loosely attaching the netting to the respective adjacent vertical upright.

4. The netting of claim 1, wherein one or more bottom retainer ties are secured to the bottom border cord, where the bottom retainer tie or ties are loosely looped around the horizontal crossbar while maintaining slack loose deployment of the netting on the backside of the crossbar.

5. The netting of claim 1, wherein the backside of each vertical upright has a rearwardly directed upper connector means for respective attachment with the respective upper attachment means secured to the border of the netting at the upper corners of the netting.

6. The netting of claim 5, wherein the upper net connector means comprises an eyebolt connector secured to the backside of the respective upright.

7. The netting of claim 1, wherein the upper corner attachment means on the netting are attached directly to the upper ends of the vertical uprights by securing each corner attachment means directly to the respective upright.

8. The netting of claim 2, wherein each retainer tie attached to the respective vertical border cord comprises a flexible strap loosely looped around the adjacent vertical upright to maintain slack loose attachment of the netting to the respective adjacent vertical upright.

9. The netting of claim 1, wherein the netting is raised and lowered on the goal post by a pulley means.

10. The netting of claim 9, wherein the netting is loosely engaging the respective adjacent vertical upright while raising and lowering the netting.

11. The netting of claim 9, wherein the pulley means comprises two separate pulley systems, where one pulley system is attached to the upper end of one vertical upright, and the other pulley system is attached to the other vertical upright, where each pulley system has a pulley wheel operatively attached to its respective vertical upright with a pulley rope operatively engaging the pulley wheel, the pulley rope having a load bearing end attached to the netting and a pulling end for exerting or releasing force applied to the pulley rope to raise or lower the netting.

12. The netting of claim 1, wherein each pulley system comprises a fixed wheel pulley attached to the top of its respective vertical upright with the load bearing end of the pulley rope passing through the top connector means and attached to the netting for raising the netting and securing the netting to the upper connectors respectively on the respective vertical uprights.

13. The netting of claim 11, wherein the two pulley systems are operative to lower the netting to collect into a netting bundle.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention pertains to the sport of football, and more particularly to mesh netting attached to football goal posts to indicate to kickers, coaches, referees, and the spectator public whether a successful field goal or extra point has been kicked between the uprights and above the crossbar of the goal posts.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] In the game of football, goal posts are located at either end of the playing field and specifically are used for scoring distant field goals and close in extra points after a touchdown has been scored. The modern goal post ordinarily comprises a lower horizontal crossbar located 10 feet above the ground level playing field with the crossbar attached to and supporting upwardly extending laterally spaced vertical uprights. Ordinarily, a single 10-foot high center supporting post securely cemented in the ground and extending upwardly supports the crossbar, although older goal posts may have two laterally spaced supporting ground posts. A successful field goal or extra point is scored by kicking the ball above the horizontal crossbar and between the vertical uprights. In high school, college, and junior football, the uprights ordinarily are 20 feet high but can be 30 feet high if desired, although some older junior installations can have 10-foot uprights. The uprights in professional football must be 30 feet high. College and professional football uprights are laterally spaced 18 feet 6 inches apart inner dimension between uprights, while high school and junior football uprights are laterally spaced 23 feet 4 inches apart inner dimension between the uprights. In all levels of football, including professional, the goal posts are located 10 yards beyond the goal line on a line called the end line. The supporting post ordinarily is located behind the end line but bends forward slightly at the supporting connection with the crossbar so that the crossbar is located directly above the end line.

[0003] In high school, and junior football particularly, the kickers are young players and ordinarily not sufficiently strong enough to effectively loft a robust kick as is common in college and professional football. A field goal kicked in high school or junior football, as well as many extra points if successful, frequently are low trajectory kicks which barely clear the crossbar. Such kicks passing close to the cross bar are difficult to judge, even though the referee may be well placed, due to the perspective of the referee looking upwardly, the low trajectory, and particularly the difficulty of judging whether the ball passed just above or just below the horizontal crossbar. Such calls are judgment calls by the referee and cannot be verified by video recording due to distortions in videos. The perspective is even more difficult to judge by distant players, coaches and spectators, all having different views from their respective distant locations. Judging kicks between the uprights is not as difficult, except when the ball passes very close to an upright, which again is a judgment problem common to college and professional football as well. A football kicked on an angle toward the goal post from one side of the field, rather than from the center of the field straight away, is difficult to determine whether the football passes inside or outside the uprights as the football passes the uprights on an angle. All such close calls are judgment calls by the referees depending on their skill, perspective, eyesight, and position relative to the ball and the goal posts. Although not as critical, practice kicking during football practice sessions at all levels likewise provide difficult assessments by distant kickers and coaches as to whether such practice kicks are indeed successful kicks. Practice kicking has the added inconvenience of retrieving numerous footballs kicked well beyond the goal posts even though the practice kicks may be repeatedly successful kicks.

[0004] It now has been found that by locating a loose fitting mesh net between the uprights and above the horizontal crossbar of a football goal post provides players, coaches, spectators, and especially officiating referees, with a verifying means that a kick is successful. Loose fitting slack netting disposed between the uprights and above the horizontal crossbar will catch a successfully kicked football and indicate to all that a successful kick has been made. The loose netting is particularly advantageous for footballs passing close to the upright and/or the horizontal cross bar, especially angled kicks, to determine on which side of the uprights and crossbar the ball passed. A successful kick caught by the netting will cause the loose fitting netting to bellow rearwardly of the goal post along with dropping the kicked football to the ground below the goal posts. An unsuccessful kick will cause the loose netting to do nothing. The netting is particularly useful for high school football, junior football, or lower level school football, where the young kickers typically kick low trajectory footballs that seldom exhibit high accurate trajectory over the 10-foot high crossbar. The netting adds more certainty and accuracy to the judgment calls by officiating referees and essentially eliminates controversies over whether the judgment calls are accurate. The loose fitting netting is particularly advantageous in practice sessions where successfully kicked footballs are caught by the netting and merely drop to the ground below the goal posts. In all levels of football, practice kicks send the football well beyond the goal posts, but the loose netting attached to the goal posts will eliminate chasing successful kicks as well as indicate to the kicker that the practice kick was successful. These and other advantages of this invention will become more apparent by referring to the drawings and the detailed description of the invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] Briefly, the invention pertains to mesh netting attached to the backside of the laterally spaced vertical uprights of football goal posts to provide a slack loose netting to catch successfully kicked footballs and indicate to all that the kick was successful. The upper corners of the netting are securely attached to the goal posts on the backside of the upper ends of the uprights. The vertical periphery of the netting is loosely attached to the respective adjacent upright by a plurality of vertically spaced retainer tie means secured to the periphery of the netting and loosely looped around the adjacent upright. The bottom periphery of the netting can be attached similarly with one or more retainer ties, provided the bottom of the netting is sufficiently slack and loose fitting to permit a successfully kicked football to drop to the ground through an opening between the bottom of the netting and the crossbar. In preferred aspects of the invention, the netting can be raised or lowered on the goal post by a coordinated pulley system adapted to raise the mesh netting to the top of the uprights or lower the netting to form bundled netting proximate the horizontal crossbar when not in use. The pulley means for raising and lowering the netting can be manual or automated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] FIG. 1 is a rear elevation view of a football goal post having mesh netting attached rearwardly of the uprights and horizontal crossbar of the goal post in accordance with this invention.

[0007] FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the goal post and netting taken along lines 2-2 in FIG. 1.

[0008] FIG. 3 is a rearward partial perspective view of the goal post and netting shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0009] FIG. 4 is an enlarged partial side elevation view of the upper right hand corner of the netting for attachment to an adjacent upright.

[0010] FIG. 5 is a side elevation view of the goal post showing a pulley system for raising and lowering the netting on the goal post shown in FIG. 1.

[0011] FIG. 6 is an enlarged partial view of FIG. 5 indicating attachments of the netting to the pulley system shown in FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0012] Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference characters indicate like parts, FIG. 1 is a rear elevation view of a football goal post 10 having laterally spaced uprights 12, an interposed lower horizontal crossbar 14 secured to and supporting the uprights 12, and a center ground supporting post 16 supporting the crossbar 14 and uprights 12. The center supporting post 16 ordinarily is 10 feet high, while the uprights 12 ordinarily are 20 feet high for junior, high school and college football, but can be 30 feet high. The uprights 12 are 30 feet high for professional football. The uprights 12 are 23 feet 4 inches apart for high school and junior football, and 18 feet 6 inches apart for college and professional football.

[0013] The goal post 10 has lightweight mesh netting 18 attached rearwardly of the goal post uprights 12 and the horizontal bar 14. The netting 18 comprises mesh net material 20 attached to an enlarged peripheral border cord comprising laterally spaced vertical border cords 22 for stretching the netting 18 sideways and vertically spaced upper and lower horizontal border cords 24 for stretching the netting 18 vertically. The vertical border cords 22 can be braided poly cordage or woven rope or similar material of sufficient strength for raising and lowering the netting 18 along with maintaining vertical and sideways stretch in approximately rectangular form. The upper and lower horizontal border cords 24 can be similar material but of lesser strength as needed for maintaining the netting 18 stretched vertically, considering that upper cord 24a requires some strength for supporting the weight of the netting 18, while the lower cord 24b primarily maintains the netting 18 stretched vertically and laterally. The mesh netting 18 ordinarily is rectangular to approximate the rectangular opening between the laterally spaced uprights 12 and above the horizontal crossbar 14, which define a successful kick area of the goal post.

[0014] Referring to FIG. 2, the netting 18 is located and attached rearward of the goal post uprights 12 and the horizontal bar 14 to avoid any interference with the trajectory of the kicked football approaching the goal post 10. The vertical support post 16 is shown slightly displaced rearwardly in FIG. 2 for clarification, which represents most installations, although some older designs can be aligned in approximately the same vertical plane with the uprights 12 and horizontal crossbar 14. The upper horizontal border cord 24a supporting the netting 18 vertically is stretched laterally between the respective uprights 12 and attached to an upper connecting means secured to the backside of each upright 12. A useful upper connecting means comprises an upper eyebolt screw 26 secured to the upper backside of each vertical upright 12 and extending laterally rearward, as shown in FIG. 4. In a similar manner, the lower horizontal border cord 24b of the netting 18 likewise can be stretched laterally sideways between the respective uprights and similarly attached to a lower connecting means secured to the lowermost end of each upright 12 proximate the juncture between the uprights 12 and crossbar 14. A useful lower connecting means comprises a lower eyebolt screw 28 similar to eyebolt 26 secured to the lowermost backside of the upright 12, such as shown in FIG. 4, or alternatively can be secured to the distal ends of the crossbar 14, as shown FIG. 2. In preferred aspects of this invention, only upper attachments to the respective upper ends of the adjacent upright are used, while the bottom of the netting 18 is loosely attached to the crossbar 14 by loosely looped retainer ties 38 described below.

[0015] The netting 18 further contains an extension attachment means 30 at the upper two corners of the rectangular netting 18 to facilitate clipping or tying attachment to adjacent upper connectors 26. FIG. 4 is a partial side elevation view of the upper right corner of the netting 18 with an extension attachment means 30 comprising an extension tab member 32 with internal grommet 34 for clipping or tying attachment of the attachment means 30 to the upper eyebolt 26. If lower eyebolts 28 are used in less preferred aspects of the invention, similar lower tab connectors 30 are attached at the lower corners of the netting 18 for clipping or tying attachment to lower eyebolts 28. The upper corners of the netting 18 can be attached to the upper ends of the respective uprights 12 by a variety of attachments means, primarily utilizing the corner tabs 32 and grommets 34, including for instance, snap hooks or bolts or ties or other securing means to secure the grommet 34 to the respective eyebolt. Alternatively, a screw or bolt can be secured through the grommet 34 directly to the respective upright 12.

[0016] Each side border cord 22 of the netting 18 contains a plurality of loose fitting retainer ties 36 vertically spaced and secured to the respective side border cord 22. The retainer ties 36 are adapted to be loosely looped around the adjacent upright 12, as best viewed in enlarged FIG. 4, to maintain a slack loose connection of the netting 18 to the adjacent upright 12 while in use. The retainer ties 36 can be attached after the netting 18 is attached to eyebolts 26 or pre-attached intermittently to the vertical border cord 22. The netting 18 should contain a sufficient number of retainer ties 36 to maintain the netting 18 reasonably close to the adjacent upright 12 to prevent a kicked football from slipping between the vertical border cord 22 and adjacent upright 12. The intent is to cause a successful kicked football to encounter the netting 18 and drop to the bottom of the netting 18 and eventually drop to the ground. Typically 4 to 10 retainer ties 36 attaching each vertical side cord 22 to the adjacent upright 12 are a sufficiently useful number of ties, where the useful number depends on the height of the upright 12. Particularly useful retainer ties 36 are about 15 to 20 inches long forming a flexible ring diameter of about 5 to 6 inches, although in use the flexible retainer ties 36 tend to resemble an elongated oval shape. The loose attachment of the netting 18 to the uprights 12 maintains a loose fitting intermediate slack section of the netting 18 stretched between the uprights 12 while slightly displaced behind the uprights 12 and the horizontal crossbar 14. Preferably the retainer ties 36 are secured to vertical border cords 22 by sewing, clipping, or other secure attachment to assure the retainer ties 36 remain in place to control the netting 18 movement and avoid undesirable flapping or similar uncontrolled netting movement, while loosely engaging the vertical uprights 12. The retainer ties 36 can be heavy-duty plastic tie straps, or woven plastic or hemp roping, or heavy velcro material strapping, or similar flexible material, preferably containing a snap button connector for manually connecting the ends of the ties 36 together to form a loop around the uprights 12.

[0017] The bottom horizontal 24b border cord of the netting 18 contains one or more loose fitting bottom retainer ties 38 for maintaining the bottommost border cord 24b in close proximity to the horizontal crossbar 14, but with some loose slack and opening between the bottom border cord 24b and the crossbar 14 to enable a successfully kicked football to drop to the ground between the lower border cord 24b and the horizontal crossbar 24b. Bottom retainer ties 38 can be the same or different than retainer ties 36 but generally loose fitting around the horizontal crossbar 14. A useful number of at least 1, but preferably 2 to 4 bottom retainer ties 38 ordinarily can be used, although more can be used if desired, provided a successfully kicked football can drop to the ground through an adequate opening between the netting 18 and the crossbar 14. The bottom retainer tie 38 can be secured to the lower border cord 24b and loosely looped around the horizontal crossbar 14 for attachment of the netting 18 to the crossbar 14. As indicated above, bottom retainer ties 38 are preferably used alone to secure the bottom of the netting 18 to the crossbar 14 without using bottom connectors 28 or bottom attachment means 30.

[0018] In accordance with a desired aspect of this invention, the netting 18 can be alternately raised or lowered on the goal post 10 by means of a pulley system shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, wherein a fixed pulley wheel 50 is operatively attached to the backside of each upright 12 near the uppermost top and above each eyebolt connector 28. The pulley wheel 50 has a pulley rope operatively inserted over the pulley wheel 50 in a standard single fixed wheel pulley arrangement where the load bearing end 53 of the pulley rope is threaded downwardly through the upper eyebolt 26 and then attached to the eyelet 34 in the upper extension connector 30 on the upper corner of the netting 18. The pulling end 52 of the pulley rope can be grasped by an individual 54 on the ground. A pulley system is provided on each upright 12 where both pulley systems need to be coordinated to raise or lower both sides of the netting 18 simultaneously, ordinarily by an individual 54 on each side of the goal post 10. The pulley system can be automated with a motorized pulling force, if desired, but seemingly unnecessary due the light weight of the netting. When the netting 18 is fully stretched and at the top of the uprights 12, the pulley wheel 50 can be locked or the pulling end 52 of the pulley rope can be secured to a locking mechanism at the bottom of the respective vertical upright 12 to maintain the netting 18 raised against the backside of the goal post uprights 12 while in use. A suitable and simple locking mechanism can comprise a hook 56 adapted to hook into a lower eyebolt 28 when the netting 18 is fully raised. By using two pulley systems, one on either side of the goal post 10, the netting 18 can be easily hoisted into position behind the goal post uprights 12 for use, and thereafter released and collapsed into a folded roll or bundle 58 at the bottom of the uprights 12 proximate the horizontal crossbar 14 when the netting 18 is not in use, as indicated in FIGS. 5 and 6. Collapsing the netting 18 during nonuse minimizes exposure to the elements, especially wind damage, and advantageously extends the useful wear life of the netting 18. In using the pulley system, the flexible ties 36 can be loosely attached to the respective vertical uprights 12 to enable loose sliding upward or downward movement of the netting 18.

[0019] By attaching slack netting 18 loosely engaging the backside of the uprights 12, the netting 18 will avoid interference with successfully kicked field goals or extra points, but will catch successfully kicked footballs. By attaching the eyebolts 26 to the backside of the goal post, the netting 18 will not interfere with a kicked football hitting an upright 12 or the crossbar 14. The football will still have a true bounce off the upright 12 or crossbar 14, either by passing through the uprights 12 and over the crossbar 14 for a successful kick, or by not passing through and wayward of the uprights 12 and/or crossbar 14 for an unsuccessful kick. The netting 18 attached to the rearwardly directed eyebolts 26 likewise will not interfere with the flight of the kicked ball for either a successful or wayward kick. Only a successfully kicked football will pass through the goal post 10 and be caught by the netting 18. The slack or loose fitting netting 18 attached to the backside of goal post upright 12 and the horizontal crossbar 14 in accordance with this invention will catch a successfully kicked field goal or extra point and will indicate to all that a successful kick between the uprights 12 has been made. Questionable judgment calls on kicks close to the uprights 12 and/or the crossbar 14, especially low trajectory kicks, will be essentially eliminated by simple visual verification of the netting catching a successful kick. Although a major advantage of the invention is verification of questionably close kicked field goals and extra points in a game, the netting 18 is similarly useful for practice kicking sessions to signify successful kicks and avoid chasing kicked footballs beyond the field goal 10.

[0020] Although specific embodiments and preferred aspects of the invention have been shown and described, the invention is not intended to be limited in scope, except as set forth in the appended claims.