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NFL Penalty Flag

The NFL Considering New Rule Changes – Here are a Few that NEED to Happen

The NFL is considering 19 different possible rule changes. Of course, most will not be approved. There are a few that will, and here are my thoughts on each.

First, one not on the agenda is the “catch rule”. Many fans are curious as to why it isn’t being tweaked. There have been some high profile “no-catches” ruled the last couple of years. Former GM and Hall of Famer Bill Polian says the league and its officials need to do a better job of explaining the existing rule. My thought on this: I have a hard time figuring out what a catch is or isn’t and I played in the NFL. It just seems logical to me…that if a player has possession of a ball and makes a move with it, it’s a catch. Common sense sort of says you can’t make a move with the ball if you don’t have possession and control of it. 

Here are a few being considered with my thoughts on each.

1: Automatic ejection after 2 personal fouls

This will not include facemask or excessive celebration by a player. I watched Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill discuss this rule change. Bidwill’s comment about how players are being watched by millions of kids is a spot-on reason for this rule. The challenge is that it leaves for officials the discretion as to what is flagrant or not. According to league reports, there were 75 unsportsmanlike penalties called last year…when on average, the league has experienced around 50 per season. My thought on this: I like it! Like Bidwill, as a former player, we need to protect the integrity of the players and the game. These kids who watch Sunday’s action turn around and mimic them during their youth and/or high school games. FYI…I was surprised to learn there were only 75 unsportsmanlike penalties last year. Just seems like a low number considering all the games being played.

2: Horse collar to include the nameplate

Tyrod Taylor Horse Collar TackleCurrently, the rule is specific to grabbing the “collar” of the jersey and pulling a player down. It will now include the “nameplate” or top part of the jersey in the back. My thought: Love it, too! Ball carriers are put in a very unsafe body position when they are pulled down from behind on this type of tackle. This is part of the theme to many of these changes: player safety!! 

3: 25 yard line on touchbacks

Following a kickoff that goes into the end zone or out of…and if a player elects NOT attempt a return…the ball will be spotted at the 25 yard line for the next snap. My thought: this won’t stop some returners from bringing the ball out after a deep kick, but it will have coaches pressing return guys to make a “good decision” about whether or not to bring it out. Coaches would far prefer the ball at the 25…than say the 18. 

4: Ban the chop block

This needs to be clear and understandable by offensive line coaches and players. If a defender is currently engaged by an offensive player (A), then his offensive teammate (B) can’t hit the defender below the waist. Period. My thought: again, this is a must and good for player safety. We have to get to a point where blockers don’t take the risk of such a hazardous block. I’d consider making the penalty 20 yards for a chop block. That will get the attention of players. 

As always, I’d love to hear from you. Let me know your thoughts and I’ll try to answer them. Have a blessed day.