The owner meetings concluded this week in Phoenix and there are a couple of rule changes that need to be addressed. To no true surprise peel-back blocks are now illegal as well as the defense can’t overload one side of the ball on field goal and point after attempts.
A lot of fans and offensive players are in an uproar over the new “Crown-to-Helmet” penalty. You’ll hear the quotes “they’re taking away the game”, “pretty soon they’ll just being wearing flags” and so on and so forth.
With the amount of ex-players suing the NFL, the league isn’t left with much of a choice. The NFL isn’t taking away big hits, well not completely, they are taking away hits to and with the helmet. Any player safety rule coming up the next few years will ultimately be passed because the league has to show they are taking a proactive approach to player safety. If you don’t like it, there’s always soccer. Okay, so perhaps I shouldn’t use soccer it is a collision sport, in fact I know someone who had to stop playing due to concussions, there you go Mel, happy birthday.
What fans need to understand about the rule is that it’s not taking away the ability of a back to lower his head. A runner can still deliver a hit using his shoulder, face mask and all the way up to his hairline. All this is taking away is a runner lowering his head and using the top “crown” of his helmet as a weapon. If you’ve ever put on a helmet the warning label is on there.
“Do not use this helmet to butt, ram or spear an opposing player. This is in violation of the football rules and can result in severe head, brain, or neck injury or paralysis or death to you and possible injury to your opponent. There is a risk these injuries may also occur as a result of accidental content without the intent to butt, ram or spear. NO HELMET CAN PREVENT ALL SUCH INJURIES.”
This rule will create more buzz than it will change the game. Most backs keep their eyes up so they can see where they are going, if anything this will just be beneficial to coaches teaching guys to keep their heads up and down the field.
If you don’t like, again there’s always soccer baseball, no different than taking away clotheslining, roughing the passer, or moving the kickoff back to the 35, it’s all a part of protecting the players from themselves. It’s just one more warning label that can help eliminate a sue-happy society. Who know coffee was hot?
As for the elimination of the Tuck Rule, the NFL might be making a big mistake.
While the Tuck Rule was ambiguous to say the least, it had more clarity than the alternative. Now we are asking for an official to determine where a quarterback’s release point is. Yep, see the problem, I’ll go on record right now saying this rule change won’t last.
Take for example, a quarterback drops back to pass, his arm is coming forward then he gets hit, at what point does is go from being an attempted pass to being a fumble? The Tuck Rule stated that is the arm was still come forward even after he passed his release point, even if he was bringing it back to his body, it was to be viewed as a pass. Now we are asking the refs to determine when it switches from his arm going forward to attempt a pass, to where he would be bringing it back to his body. The biggest problem is that will change depending on the quarterback throwing motion, his normal release point, and the place he was planning to throw the ball.
The 14 year old rule most notably is know for the 2002 AFC Divisional Playoff game in which Brady was hit and lost control of the ball as his arm was coming forward but back towards his body. To that point the rule wasn’t widely known. Since then the rule has taken place in many games, but none of that caliber. Photo to the right shows Brady getting hit by Carlos Rogers while attempting a pass. In this situation at what point does the ball when moving forward change from a pass to a fumble?
Tuck rule arm going forward, pass. No Tuck Rule arm going forward, ?????. Asking a ref to see if a guy’s arm is going forward is one thing, asking him to find the point where is switches from being a pass to bringing it back to his body is a disaster waiting to happen. Raider fans among many others will rejoice over what they view as a victory over a rule they didn’t understand, but the NFL is bringing on a lot more problems than what was solved.