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Rams Chuck Memories of Super Bowl
Friday, November 5, 2004
By Nick Wagoner
There has been little time for the Rams to reminisce about Super Bowl XXXVI this week with so much at stake in their game against New England on Sunday.
Without much discussion of that loss, there is one thing that came from it that has been a prominent point of discussion this season: the emphasis on the “chuck” rule.
The 2001 Super Bowl will be remembered for many plays, including New England kicker Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning kick, but one reason the Patriots had such success in slowing the Rams’ offense that day was the constant grabbing, clutching and mugging their defensive backs got away with.
Receiver Isaac Bruce expects many of the same things this week. “If it’s to their advantage they are going to play it until you call it consistently,” Bruce said. “If I were them in that position, I’d do the same thing.”
Despite the constant chucking at the line of scrimmage, St. Louis posted 337 passing yards, but most of that came in the second half, the fourth quarter imparticular. Bruce was held to 56 yards on five catches and Torry Holt had five catches for 49 yards.
After that game and the pair of years that followed, New England continued its tactics with great success. The Patriots even won another Super Bowl last year.
Bruce does not fondly recall what happened in that game.
“I put it on myself for not realizing what type of game was going to be played in that Super Bowl,” Bruce said. “I really didn’t realize until the third quarter that the referees were going to allow what was going on to go on.”
In the offseason, the NFL decided to place an emphasis on the rule that says a receiver cannot be held, grabbed or clutched outside of the 5-yard “chuck zone.” The flag would mean a 5-yard penalty and an automatic first down.
In reality, the rule has been in place for a long time, but it has never been enforced the way the offense would like it to be. Because of the Rams’ success throwing the ball in recent years, it was most glaring in their games.
Rams’ coach Mike Martz said he can’t see anything wrong with what the Patriots do if they can get away with it. In fact, he wouldn’t mind seeing some of that contact from his cornerbacks.
“They do a great job at the line of scrimmage,” Martz said. “I’d like to get our guys to do the same thing, to be real physical with those receivers at the line of scrimmage and disrupt their timing.”
New England wasn’t the sole reason for the emphasis on the rule, but it probably was one of the factors most prominently involved. The enforcement of the rule seemed to be in full force during the preseason and the opening regular season games.
Since then, though, it seems as though the calls have fallen off and the enforcement has not been as consistent.
Take tight end Brandon Manumaleuna’s 8-yard touchdown catch against Seattle on Oct. 10. Bruce was blatantly shoved out of the back of the endzone in front of the judge and there was no flag.
Martz said he has noticed the lack of enforcement in recent games.
“I think initially it really was enforced very well,” Martz said. “I think it has kind of slid back a little bit in some respects. The biggest concern was just the flagrant grabbing and jostling down the field that was never tolerated up until just a few years ago. For some reason, it became more and more permissive. I don’t think anybody wants to see it go back to that situation again.”
So, what can the league do to ensure the rule is always being watched? Bruce has an idea.
"They are calling it, but I think they need to have another meeting on it,” Bruce said. “Not too long of a meeting, just continue to remind them because they are not going to let the offense with the motion rule cheat up a little. They are real consistent with calling that. Just probably another two minute meeting.”
If that doesn’t work, Bruce says there is a way to get back at the defense.
“You hold them back on the run plays, that’s how you counter,” Bruce said. “Fight fire with fire.”
Re: Rams Chuck Memories of Super Bowl
Come out in the first quarter and smack em in the mouth. Again & again & again.
Sorry if I'm pumped up for this one.... GGrrrrrrrrrrrrr !!!!
Maineram -and out of the ashes rise ...The Breakfast Club !
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