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NFL makes significant change to tackling rules

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  • 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.

  • #2
    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!


    • #3
      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


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      • MauiRam
        Could this bring about an end to the lockout?
        Retired players file antitrust suit against NFL

        By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports Mar 28, 5:39 pm EDT

        Four retired NFL players, including Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller and Pro Bowl running back Priest Holmes, filed a federal class action, antitrust lawsuit against the NFL on Monday seeking to end the current lockout.

        Eller v. NFL, obtained by Yahoo! Sports, is similar to the current Brady, et al v. NFL. However, it is based on a potentially clever legal maneuver that could box the league into a corner and prove a significant development in ending pro football’s nearly month-long labor impasse.

        The former players’ suit also covers draft-eligible prospects, who aren’t represented by the NFL Players Association under the previous collective bargaining agreement. As such, these plaintiffs could potentially avoid one of the league’s chief counterarguments against the Brady lawsuit – that the union illegally decertified.

        “The owners say the union has unlawfully decertified and the union should be ordered to reconstitute and forced to sit at the bargaining table,” lead attorney Michael Hausfeld of the Washington D.C.-based Hausfeld LLC told Y! Sports. “If you look at the last CBA, it represents the rookies that have been drafted and the rookies who have begun negotiating with teams.”

        Therefore, college players awaiting next month’s draft are not represented by the union and can’t be faulted for its decertification. However they are, Hausfeld argues, being affected by the lockout.

        “These players have an antitrust claim,” Hausfeld said. “They’ve essentially staked the pursuit of a career on being eligible for the NFL.

        “The owners have shut down their potential employees through a concerted boycott,” Hausfeld continued. “[The suit is] going to avoid the main thrust of the owners’ defense and their argument that the matter should be settled by the [National Labor Relations Board] not in the courts.”

        The NFL said its “attorneys have not had an opportunity to review” the suit, which was filed in United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. The NFLPA was made aware of the suit prior to its filing, according to Hausfeld. It too has yet to respond with comment.

        Hausfeld has made a career out of winning complicated lawsuits – that includes earning reparations for Holocaust survivors from Swiss banks. His firm is currently one of the lead councils in a suit filed by former college athletes such as Ed O’Bannon and Oscar Robertson against the NCAA for the unlawful use of their likenesses.

        In the Eller case, Hausfeld believes a crack has been found in the NFL’s armor.

        “How silly is it to have a draft in April and then say, congratulations, you’re locked out?” he asked.

        By using the window between now and the start of the NFL draft on April 28, the NFL is exposed...
        -03-29-2011, 12:24 PM
      • Nick
        NCAA extends play clock among other rule changes
        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, 06:51 PM
      • MauiRam
        Burwell: NFL owners try to pull a fast one on players ..
        Bryan Burwell Friday, July 22, 2011 12:05 am

        The fans of pro football — those faceless loyalists who buy the expensive tickets, drink the $12 beers and eat the $8 hot dogs, devote countless hours finding new ways to profess their love of America's favorite game and constantly grouse about how they have largely been left out of the picture in the NFL's grueling labor conflict — now have exactly what they've always wanted: a voice in the process.

        Thanks to a carefully crafted, well-scripted 11th hour gambit by the owners, management has not-so-subtly shifted the public pressure of millions of football fans square into the players' chests. The NFL owners have cleverly implemented the court of public opinion as a giant cudgel in a four-month long labor dispute that they now conveniently want everyone to forget that they created in the first place. Standing in front of live television cameras on Thursday evening in Atlanta, commissioner Roger Goodell and lead negotiator Jeff Pash told everyone that they ratified an agreement that could open the doors to team facilities all over the league by Saturday morning.

        They followed it up with some carefully worded mumbo jumbo that basically made everyone who was speed reading through the highlights and skipping over the essentials believe that the only way the lockout will go on is if those darned players choose to give it breath.

        Goodell and the owners no doubt believe the best way to push this negotiating football over the goal line is with the leverage of public pressure. They have activated the potential wrath of millions of fans as if they were 'sleeper" secret agents. Imagine the force of essentially unleashing an angry mob on the players if they dare to delay a deal being shoved down their throats.

        So now after months of being ignored by both sides, the fans think that through the owners they have been empowered to affect the process.

        But it is a voice the players must ignore, consequences be damned.

        What we know now more than ever is that the owners and players are still involved in a deadly serious, contentious relationship that is teetering on the brink. What that brink is — a resolution of the deal, a blown-up disaster that will send the NFL hurtling towards an ugly extended work stoppage, or a simple bump in the road that could be resolved within the next 48 hours by cooler heads — no one knows for sure. But we all need to understand this: whether they are within an inch or a mile, there is no end to the lockout until a deal is done.

        But the players can't let the wrath of public opinion be injected into their thought process now when it hasn't been a factor for the last 130 days. They have to know that the majority of public opinion has never been behind them since the start of this dispute, and there's no point in worrying about what outside forces may think of them...
        -07-22-2011, 11:41 AM
      • txramsfan
        Mourinho rules out Becham swoop

        Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has ruled out ever signing David Beckham or any of Real Madrid's other "Galacticos".
        Beckham reportedly told Chelsea last summer he wanted to join them at the end of this season.

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        "What the devil is a Galactico anyway? The image comes from the social lives, and fame the players have achieved. It is those Galacticos that I distrust."

        Mourinho, speaking in the News of the World, added: "My doubt about them does not concern their ability but what surrounds them and makes their performances inconsistent."

        The Chelsea manager has made it clear he favours youngsters who crave success rather than big-name players known for their ostentatious displays of wealth.

        Beckham has made headlines on the front pages as often as the back ones and, at the age of 29, he does not fit that profile.

        Mourinho's transfer policy, which has been backed by club owner Roman Abramovich, served him well at Porto, where he won the Champions League last season.

        The Blues boss - whose team are 11 points clear at the top of the Premiership - added: "I prefer players like Paulo Ferreira and Didier Drogba.

        "I have an expensive car, but I don't make a collection. I don't have a taste for having 10 cars."
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      • ramsanddodgers
        Teams to start being accountable?
        NFL teams will be held accountable for draft-day gambles

        05:38 PM CDT on Monday, April 28, 2008

        NEW YORK – Wide receiver Mario Manningham admitted to NFL teams during the 2008 draft process that he failed drug tests at the University of Michigan.

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        Draft prospects with suspensions, arrests and failed drug tests have tumbled down the board the last two drafts following NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's crackdown on player misconduct in 2007. They may tumble farther and faster in 2009.

        Goodell informed NFL teams at the league's annual meeting in March that he would begin holding the clubs accountable when their players stray.

        "If you have an individual player that has discipline from the personal conduct policy, a portion of that salary is going to be withheld as a fine," Goodell said Monday. "And that's going to escalate."

        In the past, if a player was earning $500,000 and was suspended by the league, he would not be paid his salary and his team could just pocket that money.

        "Now I may say pay $250,000 of that to us – 50 percent of it," Goodell said. "If it's his second incident, it might be $300,000. If it's his fourth incident, it might be $500,000."

        That's how you get the attention of teams – hit them where they feel it most. In the pocketbook.

        Right now, there is little risk for the club. A team can draft a player with first-round value but character concerns in the fifth round and view him as tremendous bargain.

        If the player doesn't work out, he doesn't work out. There's no real damage to the team. He's just another fifth-round pick who didn't make it. Except that now the clubs will be held accountable for those draft-day gambles.

        "At a certain point, we can have all these policies and resources available," Goodell said. "But if you start picking the wrong people, there's nothing I can do about that. I'm not ever going to make the choices of who you can have – but you're going to have to make better choices of the people you do [bring in]. That's the only way I can get to that [point].

        "And I haven't ruled out competitive consequences, by the way – draft choices and such."

        But Goodell said those details are still being worked out.

        In 2007, Goodell took the first step toward cleaning up the league's image by cracking down on the players, suspending Pacman Jones, Odell Thurman and Chris Henry.

        The second step by Goodell in 2008 will be the crackdown on...
        -05-06-2008, 09:26 PM