The NFL must stop trying to control the uncontrollable. A lot of things got done at the NFL Annual League Meeting from March 25-28. The finally revised the catch rule and handle a couple of other matters. Here are all the rule changes so far:
- The spot of the next snap after a touchback on a free-kick will now be the 25-yard line.
- The standard for a catch has changed so that a catch will be considered completed when the receiver gets control of the ball, gets two feet or another body part on the ground inbounds and completes a football move (third step, reach/extending for the line-to-gain, or having the ability to do so).
- The penalties for illegal batting and illegal kicking will both be 10 yards.
- A designated member of the officiating department will be able to instruct on-field officials to disqualify a player for a flagrant non-football act when a foul for that is called on the play.
- When a team wins a game with a touchdown as time expires in regulation, the team will no longer have to try an extra point or two-point conversion.
- When the first team to posses the ball in overtime makes a field goal, and the second team to posses the ball fumbles the ball or throws and interception, the play will run its conclusion, including awarding points scored to either team.
- Lowering the head to initiate contact with the helmet is a foul.
Some I agree with and they have also considered removing the kickoff as a whole if injuries don’t cut down on kickoff returns. But the rule change that gets me the most is the last one. There will be a 15 yard penalty for lowering head to initiate contact with the helmet. I’m not sure when we forgot that football was a physical sport.
I understand the NFL committee calls this protecting the players but it’s really a move to continue to protect themselves from lawsuits. Yes there is a proper way to tackle but sometimes stuff just happens and you cant stop momentum all of a sudden to when your body is in motion. Targeting can be a problem and the NFL wants to cut down and punish players that target, but what if its not targeting and it just happens? Are we going to consider every hit like this targeting or a penalty? This rule will be a huge game changer and its going to catch a lot of heat over the season.
The NFL is not done with this rule yet as they also are implementing ejections. On May 21-23 the NFL committee will meet once again to talk about how they will go about ejections when it comes to this matter. One huge thing I hope they think about is the fact that PLAYERS LOWER THEIR HEAD TO INITIATE CONTACT ON VARYING LEVELS ALL THE TIME!!! This is going to be like the Oprah Winfrey show in reverse. Nobody gets a car or anything nice instead it will be…
It will be interesting to see how this plays out but physicality is just apart of the game and I think this rule will lead to a lot of unnecessary ejections. It makes me think, what if a player just get hit really hard and it’s clean? Will they get ejected? Stephen Jackson said it best: “They are trying to take football out of football”.
Tackling has been apart of the sport since the beginning and lowering your body for a hit is the way its been taught. Maybe instead they can just figure out better ways to hit or some type of tackling training for every team. Pete Carrol said he found a safer and better way to tackle; maybe they need to go talk to him.
Overall I cant wait to see how this plays out but I don’t think its going to end well. A lot of late game situation are going to get screwy if someone lowers their head to initiate contact or what if a top defensive player gets ejected from a simple hard hit? This might be the most interesting season to date and if the NFL continues to change the rules for hitting and contact then they mines as well talk to Jeff Lewis about merging and having and overall flag football league.