Safety behind proposed NFL rules changes
Owners will hear presentations from the committee here at the NFL annual meeting, and are expected to vote on the amendments as well as three minor changes to the league bylaws on Wednesday morning.
The six playing rules proposals:
1. Thanksgiving Day game, when the Detroit Lions head coach threw his red flag to challenge an already automatically reviewed play a scoring play? In this case, a long Houston Texans touchdown on which the ball carrier clearly appeared to be down partway through. The rule, as written, forbade the video review after Schwartz impermissible challenge. So the score wrongly stood. The change would allow the play to be reviewed regardless. Expect it to be passed.
2. football game. But in this amendment, on placekicks only, no more than six defensive players would be allowed on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper. Penalty for doing so: five yards. The second part of this rule is that defenders not on the line of scrimmage on a placekick cannot not push their linemen into the offensive formation. Penalty for doing so: 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. The third part of the rule is that the snapper on placekicks would be deemed a defenceless player, and thus could not be hit helmet to helmet. Expect the changes all safety measures to be passed.
3. Remember that infamous play when Charles Woodson appeared to strip Tom Brady in that snowy playoff game 11 years ago, but the “tuck” rule rendered that apparent fumble an incomplete pass? This amendment would finally eliminate that long controversial rule, which allows a quarterback team to keep possession if he fumbles during an attempt to bring the ball back to his body on a bailed pass attempt. Under the change it would be ruled a fumble, not an incompletion.
4. Tight ends and H backs would be allowed to wear jersey numbers 40 49, as well as 80 89. Why? Because some teams have had a shortage of eligible numbers in the 80s. Currently, any fullbacks that also line up occasionally at tight end must wear 80 89. No team has 10 tight ends and fullbacks, of course, but wide receivers cause the bunchup.
5. Another player safety rule. Offensive blockers currently are allowed to engage a defender below the waist when blocking him back to the inside at least while situated inside the box. It illegal outside the box to do so below the waist. St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, a competition committee member, explained: “We refer to it as the block To simplify things, it (would) no longer (be) permissible to block low in the peel backs any place on the field.”
## ## 6. This last one is the most controversial, by far. It would be a foul for a ball carrier to smash into a defender with the crown of his helmet in open space. Penalty for doing so: 15 yards. football history limiting a runner contact with a defender, outside of egregious acts such as punching a tackler, or grabbing his facemask while stiff arming. The proposed rule reads: “It is a foul if a runner or tackler initiates forcible contact by delivering a blow with the top crown of his helmet against an opponent when both players are clearly outside of the tackle box. Incidental contact by the helmet of a runner or tackler against an opponent shall not be a foul.” Rich McKay, president and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons and chairman of the competition committee, holds a news conference late Monday afternoon, and is sure to be grilled about this one.
“This is a pure and simple player safety rule proposal, first and foremost,” McKay said last week. “We are trying to protect the runner or the tackler from himself.”.