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  • Owners Pass Numerous Rule Changes

    By John Clayton
    ESPN.com

    Apparently, the NFL is serious about putting safety first at this year's owners meeting.

    Owners passed four safety proposals Tuesday morning, a full day before they normally pass any rules involving action on the field. In past meetings, owners usually wait until Wednesdays to debate and vote on rule changes involving the game. The Competition Committee makes its annual report to owners on Monday, giving supporters or opponents an extra day to lobby for votes.

    When it came to safety this year, there was apparently no debate. Starting this fall, the NFL is going to outlaw the "wedge" on kickoffs, stop the bunching of players on onside kicks, protect blockers from a helmet-to-helmet hit from the blindside and save receivers from forearm or shoulder hits to the head when they appear to be defenseless.

    "We're trying to make the game safer for the guy getting hit and the guy doing the hitting," said officiating director Mike Pereira, who plans to retire this year.

    The safety change for the onside kick may seem to be a minor adjustment, but it became more important when the Competition Committee watched tape of violent collisions on onside kicks.

    In recent years, the league has tried to make onside kicks safer. Special teams coaches, however, found ways around those changes to group more players in smaller areas to gain an advantage. Under the new rule, players on the kickoff team will be spaced accordingly. First, at least four players of the kicking team must be on each side of the kicker. Second, at least three players must be lined up outside each inbounds line, including one who must be outside the yard-line number.

    The "wedge" has been part of kickoff returns seemingly forever. The wedge is simply three players lined up in a blocking triangle that a returner follows as it plows up the field against kickoff coverage. After watching years of tape, the Competition Committee felt the wedge was causing too many injuries. Starting this fall, no more than two receiver team players may intentionally form a wedge to help the returner. The penalty is 15 yards and will be enforced from the spot of the wedge. It will be called if three or more players line up shoulder to shoulder within two yards of each other to lead the blocking.

    The third accepted proposal involves a play in which Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward made a block that resulted in a broken jaw for Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers. A 15-yard penalty will be enforced if a player delivers a blindside block to the head of a defender using his helmet, forearm or shoulder. The penalty will be enforced if a helmet, shoulder or forearm strikes the head or neck of the defender.

    The final change adds forearm and shoulder hits to protect defenseless receivers. In the past, officials gave an unnecessary roughness penalty to a defender if he delivered a helmet hit to a receiver going across the middle of the field or any spot on the field in which he appeared to be defenseless. Starting this fall, the penalty will also apply if the defender hits the defenseless receiver in the head or neck with his forearm or shoulder.

    "Our clear movement is to getting out of the striking in the head area," Pereira said. "We're reading about injuries that say spinal and vertebrae. We've got to try something."

    Also, defenders who are knocked to the ground no longer can lunge into quarterbacks if the play is still going on. Kansas City safety Bernard Pollard did just that on the hit that ended Tom Brady's season almost before it began, and Pereira placed such plays in the player safety category.

    That adjustment was not a rule change and did not require an owners vote.

    Pereira was dismayed by the lack of progress in curbing horse-collar tackles. There were 24 called in 2008, up from 12, but there also were 47 league fines handed out for them.

    "That's just too high a number," he said. "We have not been effective in terms of stopping the tactic."

    Such tackles will be a point of emphasis with officiating crews in 2009.

    So will holding penalties, on which the variance of calls from crew to crew has been huge. Pereira's office is compiling a tape that will be shown to officials, coaching staffs and players.

    "It's one area we need to find consistency from crew to crew," he said.

    Asked about the ratings for each crew last year, Pereira said they averaged 98.1 percent accuracy, down slightly from 98.3 in 2007. Naturally, he wants that number as close to 100 percent as possible.

    "We had some train wrecks and train wrecks hurt you," he said, referring to Ed Hoculi's blown call on Jay Cutler's fumble in a Week 2 game between Denver and San Diego, and to the Week 11 win by Pittsburgh over San Diego 11-10 in which a late Steelers touchdown wrongly was negated. "They hurt perception. It was hard getting through Week 2. That's what we have to avoid this year."

    The owners could make that easier by passing a rule allowing video replay to be used to determine whether a play similar to Cutler's is an incomplete pass or a fumble. That vote is expected Wednesday

  • #2
    Re: Owners Pass Numerous Rule Changes

    In another development, the NFL is putting skirts around all offensive players and tying one hand behind every defenders back in order to protect the QB.

    I hate every rule that was changed. No wonder players form Austrailian Rules Football or real Rugby players think American football is for sissies.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Owners Pass Numerous Rule Changes

      I hear you Tx. It's getting absolutely rediculous with all the restrictions on the defensive side of the ball. Soon we can look forward to QB's being off limits for ANY contact. Tom Brady gets injured and the league goes into panic mode. I can only imagine the huge number of penalties that are going to be called in 2009 with the contact restrictions and emphesis on holding. Didn't the NFL want to speed UP games??

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Owners Pass Numerous Rule Changes

        I miss the game of football!! Might as well be playing basketball.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Owners Pass Numerous Rule Changes

          Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
          I hear you Tx. It's getting absolutely rediculous with all the restrictions on the defensive side of the ball. Soon we can look forward to QB's being off limits for ANY contact. Tom Brady gets injured and the league goes into panic mode. I can only imagine the huge number of penalties that are going to be called in 2009 with the contact restrictions and emphesis on holding. Didn't the NFL want to speed UP games??
          I knew when Tom (tommy boy) Brady went down there would be a rule change. That was a clean hit in my opinion. My question is when will the league make the announcement that we are going to 2 hand touch?!
          sigpic :ram::helmet:

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Owners Pass Numerous Rule Changes

            Since the Mike and Mike show has Eric K on there this week I was watching it this morning. They did a great parody on the Brady rule. Had some made up DT LOOKED at Brady and got a 5 yard penalty. Then, they said "Now, if he had done a double take look, that would have been 15 yards."

            Wonder what the penalty would be if a DT would have given the Obama Media stare down?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Owners Pass Numerous Rule Changes

              "We're trying to make the game safer for the guy getting hit and the guy doing the hitting," said officiating director Mike Pereira, who plans to retire this year.
              At this rate, they may as well just eliminate the hitting and strap flags to all the jerseys. Come on, it'll be really safe!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Owners Pass Numerous Rule Changes

                The league also announced that the signal for an illegal wedge penalty will require two refs (one grabbing the back of the other's boxers and yanking them up to his shoulders).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Owners Pass Numerous Rule Changes

                  Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
                  The league also announced that the signal for an illegal wedge penalty will require two refs (one grabbing the back of the other's boxers and yanking them up to his shoulders).
                  Nice.


                  I was a little confused to the wedge rule. Why would a technique cause more injuries, when all they are doing is blocking for a returner? They would be doing the same exact thing not matter where they were spaced out, no?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Owners Pass Numerous Rule Changes

                    Originally posted by shower beers View Post
                    I was a little confused to the wedge rule. Why would a technique cause more injuries, when all they are doing is blocking for a returner? They would be doing the same exact thing not matter where they were spaced out, no?
                    I'm still trying to figure out why players being bunched on an onside kick is dangerous.

                    Comment

                    Related Topics

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                    • MauiRam
                      Owners unanimous pass changes to three rules ..
                      by MauiRam
                      5/24/2011 10:59:06 AM

                      Albert Breer of NFL Network reports NFL owners passed three changes/adjustments to rules relating to player safety Tuesday morning at their spring meeting, each by a unanimous 32-0 vote.

                      The first change expands the definition of "defenseless player" in the "unnecessary contact" rules. Added are the receiver who "has not clearly become a runner," a kicker or punter during a return, a quarterback following a change of possession, as well as a player who takes a blindside block from an opponent "moving toward his own endline" and approaches from the back or side.

                      "It used to say he was somebody who had not completed the act of the catch," Rich McKay, competition committee co-chairman and president of the Atlanta Falcons, told The Associated Press on Monday. "Now it will give a receiver protection until he becomes a runner and has the opportunity to defend himself.

                      The second change make the league's "launching" rules more comprehensive, to include players who leave both "prior to contact to spring forward and upward," and a player who "uses any part of his helmet."

                      The third change is more of an adjustment to rules prohibiting blows to the head of quarterbacks, making accidental "grazing" a judgment call for officials, rather than an automatic foul.

                      In March, the owners made several changes to kicking rules. They moved kickoffs up 5 yards to the 35-yard line, kept touchbacks coming out to the 20 rather than the 25, allowed the number of players in a blocking wedge to remain at two and limited kick-coverage players to lining up 5 yards or fewer from the spot of the kickoff.

                      They also voted to make all scoring plays reviewable by the replay official and referee.
                      -05-24-2011, 11:17 AM
                    • RamFan_Til_I_Die
                      Owners to focus on integrity issues
                      by RamFan_Til_I_Die
                      NEW YORK (AP) -- Seven months after Spygate, integrity is still a fundamental issue for NFL owners.

                      When owners, team officials and coaches gather for the annual spring meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. on Monday, the league's image will be a key component of several issues discussed.

                      "We are determined that our game is clean and competitively fair," Ray Anderson, the league's senior vice president for football operations, said during a conference call on Wednesday. "We want integrity from top to bottom."

                      Much of the agenda stems from Spygate, the episode in which a New England Patriots' employee made tapes of the New York Jets' defensive signals during the opening regular-season game. Patriots coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 for that; the team was fined $250,000 and lost its first-round draft pick.

                      There also will be continued discussion of labor issues. Several owners have indicated recently the league is ready to opt out next November from the agreement that was extended in March 2006.

                      That, however, is for the future. Integrity is now.

                      Three weeks ago, in a letter to the competition committee, commissioner Roger Goodell proposed strengthening enforcement procedures for next season.

                      While no action was taken by the committee, it agreed in principle to Goodell's proposal, which included a "whistleblower" provision that would protect anyone reporting illegal activity.

                      Anderson noted improved technology will allow the league to more easily monitor and detect cheating. He also wants the standard of proof to be the same used in civil cases -- preponderance of the evidence -- rather than "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" needed in criminal cases.

                      Spygate fallout also is evident in a proposed rule change that would allow defensive players to receive signals from the sidelines through a radio in their helmets. On offense, quarterbacks already receive radio signals from the sidelines.

                      A similar proposal was rejected last year, getting 20 votes, two short of the 24 needed for enactment.

                      Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, co-chairman of the competition committee, said the impetus from Spygate could help get the addition two votes.

                      A third change with ethical ramifications would institute a five-to-seven day period before the start of free agency during which agents could contact teams about prospective free agents. No signings or contact with players would be allowed, but it would avoid what most league officials concede is widespread illegal negotiation before free agency starts. Earlier this week, San Francisco forfeited its fifth-round draft choice this year for "tampering" with Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs.

                      McKay and Anderson, a former agent, both conceded tampering occurs.

                      "There's...
                      -03-26-2008, 08:37 PM
                    • Nick
                      NFL makes significant change to tackling rules
                      by Nick
                      NFL institutes 15-yard penalty, possible ejection for lowering head to make hit
                      8:32 PM ET
                      Kevin Seifert

                      ORLANDO, Fla. -- NFL owners passed an unexpected rule Tuesday that will expand penalties for helmet-to-helmet contact, one that is more significant and far-reaching than the NCAA's targeting rule.

                      Under the change, a player will be penalized 15 yards and potentially ejected any time he lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. It will apply to tacklers, ball carriers and even linemen, and it will take the place of a previous rule that limited the penalty to contact with the crown of the helmet.

                      The NCAA's targeting rule penalizes players only when they hit opponents who are in a defenseless position. It calls for mandatory ejections, but the NFL's competition committee has not yet addressed how ejections would be adjudicated, according to chairman Rich McKay. There is little doubt, however, that the NFL is determined to aggressively address a 2017 season that included 291 concussions, its highest total on record, and a severe spine injury to Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier on a play that would fall under the new rule.

                      "It just seems that players at every level are getting more comfortable playing with their helmets as a weapon rather than a protective device," McKay said. "Therefore, we need a rule that is broad and puts that in context, and that's what we think this does."

                      Players, coaches and fans were left guessing on how the rule will impact the game. NFL Players Association president Eric Winston took to Twitter to share his thoughts.



                      According to NFL research, nearly one out of every two helmet-to-helmet hits caused a concussion in 2017. That's up from a ratio of one out of every three in 2015. NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills said in February that the current concussion data had sparked a "call to action," and on Tuesday he said this rule would be a key part of reducing head injuries in 2018.

                      "We spoke previously this year of having an all-time high of concussions," Sills said. "And we said that wasn't acceptable, and that we would respond to this, and this was part of the response. This is a very key component of the injury-reduction strategy on how we can reduce concussions immediately."

                      The competition committee initially planned to make lowering the helmet a 2018 point of emphasis rather than a rule change, McKay said. But after a leaguewide discussion Tuesday, owners instructed McKay to convert it to language that could be added to the rule book immediately. The league called a late-afternoon news conference and acknowledged that some parts of the rule still must be fleshed out.

                      At the top of the list is how to merge a long-standing league ethos against two issues: wide-ranging ejections...
                      -03-28-2018, 04:14 AM
                    • r8rh8rmike
                      Owners To Mull Rules, Bigger Playoffs
                      by r8rh8rmike
                      Owners to mull rules, bigger playoffs

                      Updated: March 19, 2014, 5:34 PM ET
                      By Jeff Legwold | ESPN.com

                      The NFL's competition committee will present a long list of potential rules changes at the league meetings in Orlando, Fla., next week but said Wednesday that the power to penalize players for use of slurs, including the N-word, is already in the hands of the officials and will be exercised in the coming season.

                      In a conference call where it was announced that a discussion of expanding the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams is also on the agenda, the committee's co-chairmen -- Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay and St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher -- said enforcing the rule will be a "major point of emphasis'' in the coming season and a flag would result in a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

                      "We do have a section of the book that deals with sportsmanship and addresses the use of abusive or threatening or insulting language, it emphasizes it can be a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct,'' McKay said. "It's right in the rule as it's written today -- rule 12, section 3, article 1B -- and we emphasize that we empower a foul to be called for that type of language.''

                      "We have the current rule,'' Fisher said. " ... The N-word would fall under that category, the officials will be empowered to call a foul if there's racial slurs or statements about players' sexual orientation or even baiting the official in verbal abuse, falls under and ... it's going to be a very significant point of emphasis.''

                      McKay and Fisher said there is a significant portion of the competition committee's report, which will be distributed to the team owners Monday, dedicated to sportsmanship. McKay said there were nine penalties called for taunting in the 2012 season, but the total increased to 34 last season.

                      McKay said when officials meet with players during the preseason it will be clearly explained how it will be enforced.

                      "We're going beyond the field of play, we're going to the workplace, we're going to respect to this game,'' Fisher said. " ... There's going to be numerous discussions with respect to the topic and we're going to move forward.''

                      The expansion of the playoff field is not a formal proposal from the competition committee. The committee supported expansion of the playoff field at last March's league meetings and is expected to submit that support of an expanded playoff field once again when the report is given to the team owners on Monday.

                      League spokesman Greg Aiello said it was not known if the owners would formally vote on an expanded playoff field next week.

                      "With respect to expansion of the playoffs ... in last year's report, if you went back and looked at it, you would see we took a position on expanded playoffs and we supported the expanded...
                      -03-19-2014, 03:00 PM
                    • r8rh8rmike
                      'Tuck Rule": NFL Could Eliminate Controversial Call
                      by r8rh8rmike
                      'Tuck Rule': NFL could eliminate controversial call

                      By Gregg Rosenthal
                      Around The League Editor
                      Published: March 14, 2013 at 03:21 p.m.

                      The NFL Competition Committee held a conference call Thursday to go over possible rule change proposals that will be discussed at the NFL Annual Meeting, which starts Sunday in Phoenix.

                      One item on the agenda is sure to be cheered by Oakland Raiders fans, although the notion probably will be seen as too little, too late.

                      The NFL will propose to eliminate "The Tuck Rule."

                      The change would make it so a player loses possession when he tries to bring the ball back to his body. (Yes, then Tom Brady's play should have been ruled a fumble in that case.) If the passer loses control while the ball is going forward, it's still incomplete. If he loses the ball while tucking, it's a fumble.

                      This is a rule that never made a lot of sense to us in the first place. We're not sure why it took more than a decade after the Patriots-Raiders divisional-round playoff game after the 2001 season for this rule to change.

                      Other proposals included:

                      The league would change the rules regarding illegally throwing the challenge flag. This is in response to last season's Thanksgiving game, in which a Houston Texans touchdown could not be reviewed after Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz illegally throw a flag. Moving forward, the play still would be reviewed no matter what. Any coach who illegally challenges a play would be charged a timeout. He wouldn't get the timeout back even if he wins the challenge. If the team is out of timeouts, it would be charged a 15-yard penalty.

                      Call this the "Jim Schwartz Rule." It's a no-brainer.

                      The league would allow H-backs to wear uniform numbers 40 through 49.

                      The league also will propose three player health and safety rules. They include eliminating low blocks when offensive players are going toward their own end lines in the tackle box. One other proposal includes not allowing a runner to initiate contact with the crown of his helmet when outside the tackle box. This is sure to be a hot topic.

                      NFL owners will vote on these proposals, among other more minor ones, at the annual meeting.
                      -03-14-2013, 04:12 PM
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