SWAT Football Blog

Saving the game – part 2

The best way to pile up points in football is to expose and exploit OFTD – open-field tackling deficiency. No skill in amateur football is more deficient than open-field tackling. No skill in amateur football is weaker than open-field tackling. And no play in amateur football is a greater risk to catastrophic injury than OFT – open-field tackling. This is an excerpt from our Team Policy & Procedure distributed to every coach on our staff.

Forty years of film study at 4 amateur levels led us to myriad conclusions reported in our Team Policy & Procedures that also serve as our academic curriculum for coaches and players. Here are the top two conclusions:

  1. The quality of open-field tackling is the number one factor that determines winning and losing in every amateur game, no exception.
  2. Nothing in football poses a greater player safety risk than open-field tackling.

Open-field tackling (OFT) is a matter of life and death. Teaching OFT and mastering OFT is our main on-field priority in conjunction with our main off-field priority – strength-building in the gym. Those two priorities are connected. SAFE OFT is dependent on two elements – strength and technique, in that order.

Technique alone is never enough. Without building the perquisite level of strength, OFT technique will never reach the full level of mastery needed to protect players from getting killed or maimed and to protect coaches from liability where you can lose more than a game – you can lose everything. You’re fooling yourself if you allow players to start or participate on game-day without having mastered open-field tackling.  The #1 threat to player safety and #1 threat to liability are giving the green light to unfit open-field tacklers to play on game-day. In order to give a player the green light and declare him fit for duty, you need hardcore evidence to objectively justify the green light. Every player who suits up for game-day must first pass the relevant OFT tests after a strict academic plan is taught that ensures structured learning outcomes. Without passing the OFT TEST, you are playing Russian Roulette by letting a player participate on game-day, especially on special teams where the temptation is so great to give second-stringers playing time to appease players and parents.

There is no such thing as second-string. There is only fit for duty and unfit for duty. The heart and soul of both defense and special teams is OFTM – open-field tackling mastery. Be careful how you define mastery. Don’t define it out of convenience to make your roster management easier and to make players and parents happy.

‘Save The Game’ is a dual-meaning phrase in our Team Policy & Procedure. At the top of our defensive coordinator list of competencies is ‘Save The Game.’ First, the Defensive Coordinator’s #1 job is to save every game we play with OFTM – open-field tackling mastery. The defensive coordinator’s #1 responsibility is teaching open-field tackling and ensuring every player on our roster passes the OFT Test. In Football Poverty, there is no such thing as three separate platoons. Two-way and three-way players are a reality in Football Poverty. A depth chart in Football Poverty requires players to learn multiple platoon skills. Secondly, the Defensive Coordinator is responsible for saving the game of football by making sure no one dies or suffers catastrophic injury during an open-field tackle. The #1 threat to football is OFTD – open-field tackling deficiency. Nothing is a bigger priority than making sure every player in amateur football has mastered OFT. It’s a matter of life and death.

This is an excerpt from our Team Policy & Procedure. It represents a small section of our protocol. This article is just a warmup for future articles.

For football motivation, please download Blunt Talk Podcast episodes. Blunt Talk Podcast is sponsored by X Fitness. Our guests are guaranteed to lift players and coaches. Free, permanently archived downloads are available at:

Blessings and all good things.


Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP (Nat’l Coaching Certification Program)

Head coach – Niagara X-men football

Owner – X Fitness Inc.


Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. His website, blog, Youtube channel, and list of SWAT FOOTBALL Books are at:

His books include:

4th & hell: seasons 1 and 2, Soul of a Lifter, SWAT Offense, SWAT Defense, SWAT Tackling Video & e-book,  X Fitness Workout System, and a 3 business book series called Soul of an Entrepreneur

He also has written 20 editions of 6 law enforcement academic textbooks. A new 8-volume interrogation book series will be released in 2014. And just released, a new children’s book called “BE FIT – DON’T QUIT.” The first stage of his new Blunt Talk e-books is now for sale. His latest book on human potential called “Hashtag Peace” is at the editing stage. He is writing three other non-fiction novels book called The Mystery of Murder: Working with the dead, Midnight Shift From Hell, and Another Bar Fight.



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