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NFL makes significant change to tackling rules

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  • MauiRam
    Maybe the sport of boxing will follow suit. No more punches to the head - from here on, only body punches will be legal - any punches from the neck up would result in a disqualification/loss

    Leave a comment:

  • mde8352gorams
    I wonder how this will work when a team is on the 1-foot line and needs to get into the end zone. Those rb's who try to bull their way into the end zone may be out of work.

    Go Rams!

    Leave a comment:

  • Nick
    started a topic NFL makes significant change to tackling rules

    NFL makes significant change to tackling rules

    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.

    Eric Winston✔
    The league will continue to pass rules and fine players more with the hope that things will change, but meaningful change will happen only when everyone-players, coaches, owners-share responsibility in making the game as safe as possible.
    7:32 PM - Mar 27, 2018
    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 of players; and using replay to review what are considered subjective calls by officials. McKay said the league is trying to effect a change in "behavior" and thus likely needs the weight of an ejection to communicate its sincerity. And given the potential impact on a game, a replay review is almost certain to be necessary to ensure proper enforcement.

    "If you put replay behind [officials]," McKay said, "then I think that you do have the opportunity to feel more comfortable in ejecting them. But in this rule, we just need to do a little work to understand a little bit more how the mechanisms will work. But I think we do feel comfortable that if there is an ejection that replay would probably play a part of it."

    The NFL will spend the next two months further developing the rule and likely will alter it to address replay and ejections at its May 21-23 meetings in Atlanta.

Related Topics


  • 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
  • r8rh8rmike
    Owners Pass Numerous Rule Changes
    by r8rh8rmike
    By John Clayton

    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...
    -03-24-2009, 03:38 PM
  • Nick
    NCAA extends play clock among other rule changes
    by Nick
    NCAA extends play clock
    Pace of play addressed again by rules committee
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Published on: 02/13/08

    Two years ago the NCAA Football Rules committee, concerned that games were running too long, put in a series of changes in hopes of speeding things up.

    They worked. In 2006 the average game time dropped from 3:21 to 3:07 but fans and coaches howled because there were about 13 fewer plays and five fewer points per game than in 2005.

    So last season college football went back to the old rules and the bad news is that games averaged 3:22, a minute longer than in 2005. The good news is that plays and scoring also went back to the desired 2005 levels.

    In an attempt to produce more plays and points in a shorter game, the rules committee went back to the drawing board and on Wednesday recommended a few changes for the upcoming season.

    "Hopefully this time we got it right," said Michael Clark, the chairman of the rules committee and head coach at Bridgewater (Va.) College.

    The first is the implementation of a 40/25-second play clock, similar to that of the NFL. At the end of every play, the 40-second clock will start, which is the rule in the NFL. The old college rules featured a 25-second clock that did not start until the officials marked the ball ready for play. On a change of possession, the first play will be run on a 25-second clock.

    A number of college coaches have said they wanted the 40-second play clock because officials from league to league used different amounts of time to mark the ball ready for play.

    "We think this will give us some consistency when it comes to pace of play," said Connecticut coach Randy Edsall, who is a member of the rules committee.

    "If the NFL boys are doing it we seem to want to do it, too," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. "I think it favors the teams that run the no-huddle. That gives the quarterback a bunch more time to stand up there and read the defense."

    The rules committee made another recommendation that will certainly shorten the game.

    After a player runs out of bounds and the ball is made ready to play, the official will start the game clock. Under the old rules the game clock would not start until the ball was snapped. This new rule will not apply in the final two minutes of the first half and the final two minutes of the game.

    In other recommended rules changes announced Tuesday:

    A coach will get an extra instant replay challenge if his first one is upheld. Under the old rule the coach had only one challenge whether he was right or wrong. Under the new rule the coach, if he's right, will get one extra challenge, but no more.

    If a kickoff goes out of bounds, the receiving team will...
    -02-13-2008, 05:51 PM
  • 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 |

    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
  • KoaKoi
    Proposed Rule change for 2017
    by KoaKoi
    The NFL announced a list of proposed rule changes for 2017. (See Rams website for it's story on March 23, 2017 for a full list and which team requested each).

    A couple seem worthy; a couple rolled my eyes. But one rule in particular caught my interest:

    15. By Competition Committee; Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.

    Makes me wonder what actions they're trying to prohibit. Wouldn't the language of this rule affect qb spikes to stop the clock?
    I understand Goodell and crew have been active in trying to keep game length under 3 hours. This proposed rule seems to support that mindset. But, if an offense is in control of the ball and trying to score at the end of half or end of game... should they be penalized for sacrificing a down to stop the clock?

    Something tells me that's not the type of conduct they're trying to prevent. But if that's the case, can someone tell me what action they might be trying to regulate here? what am i missing?...
    -03-27-2017, 11:53 AM