FanDuel - WFBC

March 25, 2009

NFL Changes Rules for Player Safety: The NFL has changed several rules "to make the game safer for the guy getting hit and the guy doing the hitting," said league director of officiating Mike Pereira. New rules prohibit defenders from lunging at players while on the ground, prohibit blindside blocks to the head or neck, prohibit head shots to a defenseless receiver, prohibit blocking wedges on kickoffs with more than two players, prohibit five or more kicking-team layers from bunching together on an onside kick, and prohibit anyone from mentioning the years Terrell Owens played for Dallas. (Correction: That last one didn't pass, unfortunately.)

posted by rcade to football at 09:32 PM - 47 comments

What? They didn't decide to have quarterbacks wear frilly pink skirts? How about penalizing kickers and punters for "simulation?" I mean, I like kickers and punters, but they really are bad actors!

posted by jjzucal at 10:38 PM on March 25

Maybe they could just go to "flag football". I will have to see the details on the rule regarding on-side kicks. Are they saying that there always has to be five players on each side of the kicker, or 5 on each half of the field?

posted by dviking at 11:42 PM on March 25

What? They didn't decide to have quarterbacks wear frilly pink skirts?

Yeah, because taking cheap shots out of the game is so fucking female.

We figured out that brain and spine damage after a career is over are often directly related to these kinds of hits. How tough do you think some of these ex-linemen are in their wheelchairs? Christ.

posted by dfleming at 12:16 AM on March 26

Just another step to show how nutless,and gutless the No Football League has become. Time to watch rugby.

posted by scotsman at 06:11 AM on March 26

"Yeah, because taking cheap shots out of the game is so fucking female."

This hits that injured Brady and Carson Palmer before him were not cheap shots.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 09:39 AM on March 26

Hitting a QB while you are on the ground is hardly a cheap shot. Going for the knees at full speed while on your feet would be which is not what the rule addresses. I agree with jjzucal why not just put a pink jersey on the QB and make hitting them at all off limits.

My understanding of the kickoff rule is 5 players on either side of the kicker. The explanation I heard said you could bunch the players up similar to a line of scrimmage even but there just had to be 5 on each side.

posted by scottypup at 09:49 AM on March 26

Every time a rule change protects quarterbacks we hear the same refrain about how it's wimping out football. Yet when star QBs go down to injury the quality of play in the league suffers dramatically.

Do you really want to go back to the old days when quarterbacks could take more shots to the head and knees? I don't want to see a bunch of backups throwing dink passes and playing not to lose. As defensive players get bigger and faster every year, the number of quarterbacks who can shred them seems to get lower and lower.

posted by rcade at 10:45 AM on March 26

Yeah, because taking cheap shots out of the game is so fucking female.

Nice!

Golf channel, here I come. Probably more contact there than the NFL.

posted by BornIcon at 10:59 AM on March 26

We figured out that brain and spine damage after a career is over are often directly related to these kinds of hits. How tough do you think some of these ex-linemen are in their wheelchairs? Christ.

I couldn't agree more. I love football, but I also have a conscience. I don't want these players to be in wheelchairs or committing suicide at 50 for my entertainment. The drama of the pink skirt crowd is such that you would think the NFL was prohibiting tackling. I promise the game will still be plenty violent, folks!

posted by bperk at 12:02 PM on March 26

This hits that injured Brady and Carson Palmer before him were not cheap shots.

... depends on your definition of "cheap". They were within the rules, yes. However, IMHO wrapping a QB's planted ankle and driving your shoulder or helmet into their knee is a cheap shot that's going to snap an ACL every time.

posted by srw12 at 12:26 PM on March 26

I agree with jjzucal why not just put a pink jersey on the QB and make hitting them at all off limits.

Yeah, because people are so restricted in their hitting. I mean, they can't hit after the ball is thrown and they can't dive at the knees at the quarterback. Christ, what's next? Floaties in case he falls in the gatorade bottle? I mean, that's what they're after, right?

The defensive players are bigger, stronger and faster than they ever have been. As a result, the number of gruesome injuries coming from the physics of larger objects moving faster is up too. The NFL coping with the changing physics of the game in an attempt to avoid career-threatening injuries.

posted by dfleming at 01:17 PM on March 26

However, IMHO wrapping a QB's planted ankle and driving your shoulder or helmet into their knee is a cheap shot that's going to snap an ACL every time

That is if you think that the D-lineman getting pushed into the quarterback by an O-lineman is the D-line players fault. If that's the case then you're absolutely correct.

The drama of the pink skirt crowd is such that you would think the NFL was prohibiting tackling. I promise the game will still be plenty violent, folks!

You're missing the point. The NFL already has rules about going after the QB. To change the rules now just because Tom Brady was injured for the year is ridiculous. Brady already had a rule changed because of his actions on the field (Tuck rule anyone..?) but to attempt to make a rule that will affect the way that players play the game of football is nuts.

NFL players are told to play the game at full speed, they don't go out of their way to hurt another player (or at least I don't think they do). Once the whistle is blow by an official, play is halted. Injuries are part of the game, it's unfortunate when a player goes down for the year but that's still part of the game.

posted by BornIcon at 01:19 PM on March 26

"Brady already had a rule changed because of his actions on the field (Tuck rule anyone..?)" Sorry to burst your bubble, BornIcon, but the Tuck Rule hasn't been deleted, changed or modified. It has come up for review a few times, but not much else. I think Jim Rome said it best when referring to that play: "It wasn't a bad call, it was(is) a bad rule". However, the fact that the owners nor the Competition Committee can offer an alternative should say something.

These rule changes seem a little confusing to me and I feel leave too much open to the referee's interpretation. I do think the issue of player safety needs to be addressed. I'm just not sure they are going about it the right way. I wish I could offer some suggestions, but I can't

posted by crqri at 02:05 PM on March 26

So, really, how many total hits that happened this season does this effect? 10? 11?

posted by Joey Michaels at 02:21 PM on March 26

Sorry to burst your bubble, BornIcon, but the Tuck Rule hasn't been deleted, changed or modified

It's cool but you didn't burst my bubble, crqri since I never implied that the rule was deleted, changed or modified, I said that it was created because of Brady's actions on the field.

I am with you that these rules can get confusing. The only thing that matters is the players safety, even in a collision sport like football.

posted by BornIcon at 02:22 PM on March 26

BornIcon, If you watch the replay (which is all I'm privy to because I'm stuck in Bengal-land where highlights of other games are always more interesting than the one I'm watching) he's blocked into the ground and then gets up about half-way and lunges at Brady's lower leg. He was not "pushed into the quarterback by an O-lineman."

posted by srw12 at 02:28 PM on March 26

To change the rules now just because Tom Brady was injured for the year is ridiculous. Brady already had a rule changed because of his actions on the field (Tuck rule anyone..?) but to attempt to make a rule that will affect the way that players play the game of football is nuts.

All rules affect the ways players play. That is the point. If players are getting hurt, big star or not, it is worth checking to see if a rule will eliminate such injuries. If a minor rule change like this or an adjustment in calling mitigates the risk, then good. They eliminated horse collar tackles with TO being the most visible victim, and I thought that was a good move as well.

posted by bperk at 02:30 PM on March 26

srw12, I was talking about the game against Oakland where Brady fumbled the ball but it was overturned because of the so-called Tuck rule.

They eliminated horse collar tackles with TO being the most visible victim, and I thought that was a good move as well.

Which is another ridiculous rule that was made because a star player was injured. Horse collar tackles were always a part of the game but they rarely do happen. It's unfortunate when a player gets injured but again, that's the game these player chose to play. This isn't flag football and I'm not some barbaric individual looking for blood but I just would like for the game to be played the way it was meant to be played. Football players play with pads and a helmet for a reason, it's not like they're out there in street clothes. I just think that they're taking the soul out of the game.

Just imagine if NBA officials decided one day because a player went up for a dunk and broke the backboard that players are no longer allowed to dunk the ball in a game.

posted by BornIcon at 03:06 PM on March 26

I don't have much of a problem with the rules they've added. They all seem to basically make sense. My only problem is if it's, for example, Kyle Orton who gets injured the first game of the season nobody even says a word or proposes a rule change (with regards to the lunging-at-the-quarterback-when-you're-already-down rule). This particular change isn't so much aimed at protecting quarterbacks as it is to protect the marquee, money-generating personalities for the NFL.

posted by dyams at 05:52 PM on March 26

Which is another ridiculous rule that was made because a star player was injured. Horse collar tackles were always a part of the game but they rarely do happen.

They weren't rare at all. Roy Williams of the Cowboys was doing them all the time before the rule change.

This isn't flag football ... I just would like for the game to be played the way it was meant to be played.

You want to remove facemasks from helmets, go back to three downs and eliminate the forward pass?

posted by rcade at 06:00 PM on March 26

We figured out that brain and spine damage after a career is over are often directly related to these kinds of hits.

When did "we" figure this out? As far as I know there have been no investigations on "these" kinds of hits and how it correlates to brain and spine damage. In fact, the lineman in wheelchairs you refer to aren't involved in either of the contact rule changes (tackling at QB's knees and helmet hits on defenseless receivers).

So, really, how many total hits that happened this season does this effect? 10? 11?

Hines Ward has about 2 or 3 of these hits a GAME.

I'm all for protecting the players, but a) hitting a guy in the helmet with your SHOULDER is not a vicious hit. I've delivered hundreds of these hits in my life and had them delivered on me. In fact, I'm not sure how you hit a guy WITHOUT occasionally hitting them in the head with your shoulder, or even your head. Those are the 2 things you lead with. What are you supposed to go feet first now? b) In the case of the Palmer and Brady injury, what would you have the lineman do? He's blocked to the ground. The QB's legs are right in front of him. Is he supposed to STAND UP and then try to bring the QB down? He's ALWAYS going to lunge at the legs. Are you going to throw a flag for that every time? Seems asinine to me.

posted by bdaddy at 06:33 PM on March 26

When did "we" figure this out? As far as I know there have been no investigations on "these" kinds of hits and how it correlates to brain and spine damage.

Dead athletes' brains show stunning damage

posted by rcade at 06:47 PM on March 26

Dead athletes' brains show stunning damage

concussion related. There maybe some correlation between hitting someone's head with shoulder pads and concussions, but I would imagine the risk to be negligible and not even measurable (else I would have had hundreds in my lifetime...literally). If shoulder to helmet hits were causes of concussions (much less brain damage), you'd see players going down every week as a result. It just doesn't happen.

And tackling a QB at the knees certainly doesn't relate to the above link.

posted by bdaddy at 09:22 PM on March 26

What level of football did you play?

posted by rcade at 10:17 PM on March 26

If shoulder to helmet hits were causes of concussions (much less brain damage), you'd see players going down every week as a result. It just doesn't happen.

61% of NFL players report having at least one concussion during their career. But, you know, don't let the facts stop you.

posted by dfleming at 11:13 PM on March 26

I really can't believe how spectacularly Neanderthal you guys are with your misogyny.

But hey, if it's manly to take cheap shots and bedead or paralyzed, and girly to be strong and healthy and fair-minded, hey, color me pink.

posted by brookish at 04:27 AM on March 27

Don't paint the whole community with such a broad brush, Brookish. And by broad I mean general. I ain't making a crack about dames.

posted by rcade at 09:24 AM on March 27

What level of football did you play?

Agreed. Every year a rule change in football brings out the Running of the Internet Tough Guys. Never mind what level of football, I'd like to know the last time you made high-speed contact with another human being on purpose. Because it feels like the majority of people crying about the pansification of football are either trying to pump up their memories of how great they were or don't know what it feels like to be hit. You can talk about how much tougher people were back in the Great Old Days, but those people were hitting each other at about 80% of the speed and 50% of the weight. Chuck Benardik would be the one laying unconscious on the field if he were transplanted from the '60s to the modern game. Of course, he wouldn't be big enough to make a team, but you know what I mean.

In the interests of full disclosure, the last time I made high-speed contact with another person on purpose was around 1997 in college lacrosse. The last time I took a really good hit was January 24th of this year. The ladder lost.

posted by yerfatma at 09:34 AM on March 27

I'm not against stopping cheap shots. But the lunge rule we are talking about as well as other rules recently have made it so players can not go 100% full speed all the time. The problem with that is nothing is stopping the O-lineman from going full speed. You have a D player having to let up and he can still get hit full speed while he is on the ground. Or he backs off because he may hit the QB a fraction of a second after he has released the ball, but the OL to his side knocks him on his a** when he lets up.

I don't have a problem with making the game safer. But do it for everyone. It seems like most of the time when we see rule changes like this it because a big star has gotten hurt. Not the lineman in the trenches or the back up QB.

posted by scottypup at 11:07 AM on March 27

They weren't rare at all. Roy Williams of the Cowboys was doing them all the time before the rule change

Ok, so let's say that Roy did them "all the time". Out of "all the time(s)" that Roy horse collar tackled a player, how many time were those player injured? Once?

You want to remove facemasks from helmets, go back to three downs and eliminate the forward pass?

Ahh, the ol' let's go back to old school football quote, eh? Like just about every sport, the game of football has evolved into the game we see today. To take the game back to the way that it used to be played will only cause more injuries and that would be a huge mistake.

posted by BornIcon at 11:25 AM on March 27

To take the game back to the way that it used to be played will only cause more injuries and that would be a huge mistake.

So you have defended the opposing argument? Since the game has changed, the rules should as well. To keep up with the ever-changing game.

Personally, my feeling is that this rule change (lunging) will cause very few, if any, debate in the years to come. This situation is just not going to occur as frequent as most are claiming. I'm all for debate, but let's try to keep everything semi-close to reality here.

posted by BoKnows at 11:34 AM on March 27

Like just about every sport, the game of football has evolved into the game we see today.

And with every step of that evolution, some people complained that we should go back to "the game to be played the way it was meant to be played." Surely you recognize the irony.

Ok, so let's say that Roy did them "all the time". Out of "all the time(s)" that Roy horse collar tackled a player, how many time were those player injured? Once?

Stop moving the goalposts. You said horse collar tackles were rare, and now you acknowledge that they're not. So if they're not rare, they should be illegal because the chance for injury is obvious. Also, grabbing a player's shoulder pads and leaving your feet is a dirty way to make a tackle.

posted by rcade at 01:17 PM on March 27

The problem with that is nothing is stopping the O-lineman from going full speed. You have a D player having to let up and he can still get hit full speed while he is on the ground.

I partially agree with scottypup. I'm not so worried about the D player being hammered on the ground as much as I'm worried about someone "blocking" him in the knees as he's getting up. If the D player has to get up before he can continue to play Football, then maybe he should get the equivalent of chop block protection while he's doing it

posted by offsides at 01:24 PM on March 27

You guys are nuts. Do you really think the NFL is in the business of making the game safer/"less tough"because they're just a bunch of pussies? They stand to lose more money by making unfavorable changes for the sake of it. They're doing it because the league is suffering badly because of injuries. And not just quarterbacks, but yes, this position is more important - geez, everyone who watches football knows this. That just makes sense. These guys are literally fucking dying 20 years before the average citizen. They're dying because of the toll that pro football takes on the body. The players are bigger, faster and stronger than ever. The game has to adapt or you're going to see this worsen - not improve. This has largely been ignored by both the league and the players for years. It's well past time that these guys are better protected. And that can only successfully be done by adapting the rules of the game.

But, hey, don't watch if you can't take the changes. 'That's an option. Methinks you will though.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:14 PM on March 27

Weedy you are pretty naive yourself if you think the NFL is worried about anything more than the current players drawing power. They know that the Bradys and Mannings draw the fans and the revenue. They are not concerned with the players after they retire or they would be doing something to help the already retired players.

Brady gets hurt in a somewhat freak play and they make a rule to keep another big draw player from getting hurt, plain and simple.

posted by scottypup at 05:30 PM on March 27

scottypup,

This rule could very well have been put in place following Carson Palmer's injury. The fact that Brady was the most recent injury, is the only basis for the claims that this has evolved directly from his injury. Which, just isn't true. Yesterday, on the radio (ESPN), there were a few former football players who claimed that they were made aware for several years prior, that refs were looking for this situation, and could very well call penalties if it occurred. Players were warned in training camp/pre-season, not to lunge at the QB, whilst on the turf. The fact that it has been implemented now, is coincidence. And you are naive to think that a rule change such as this could be created, discussed, researched, approved and implemented in 6 months. Nothing in the NFL business is plain and simple.

posted by BoKnows at 05:40 PM on March 27

Weedy you are pretty naive yourself if you think the NFL is worried about anything more than the current players drawing power.

Au contraire - this is precisely what I think. Hence the rule changes. The modern game prevents the powers that be from waiting until retirement before the combined weight of injuries affects lives out of the spotlight. It's happening much more quickly while these guys are in the prime of their careers.

They know that the Bradys and Mannings draw the fans and the revenue.

Yes, but what about those teams that don't have a Brady or Manning? Are they not drawing revenue? The integrity of the league depends on keeping the good players on the field. That the QBs start the ball rolling makes sense, but the benefit is to more than just these players.

Additionally, it is precisely because the TV money depends on the marquee talent remaining in the league that these rules are good for the league. That TV money means that virtually every dollar of salary is paid before the season starts. This helps keep ticket prices affordable for smaller markets, and helps maintain one of the genuine advantages that the NFL has - it's a billion dollar league that average income fans can still afford to buy tickets for.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:14 PM on March 27

were hitting each other at about 80% of the speed and 50% of the weight.

200 lb weight limit and they play in deep sand. Problem solved!

And now I'm imaging a league with a 200lb weight limit(on normal football surfaces) and am fairly intrigued.

posted by tron7 at 07:27 PM on March 27

Shutdown Corner has a breakdown on all the rule changes.

Interesting how people are harping about the safety rules, but no one has mentioned the "Ed Hochuli Rule". To me, the biggest real change is the complete elimination of the wedge (speaking of the game going soft, flying wedges used to be a regular part of the game-along with people dying during games).

Agree with the stated beliefs that the rules are good overall for the game. People like to talk about the gaming becoming softer (and maybe it is), but it's also a heck of a lot faster, too. No one seems to be complaining too much about how exciting offenses still are, and the rule changes don't seem to be stopping teams like Pittsburgh from becoming dominant defensive forces.

posted by Bonkers at 12:44 PM on March 28

Stop moving the goalposts. You said horse collar tackles were rare, and now you acknowledge that they're not

Actually, you were the one that said that Roy Williams horse collar tackled all of the time, not me. What I did say was, "Ok, so let's say that Roy did them "all the time" to coincide with what you said. I love football and watch it all of the time but I rarely saw a player making a horse collar tackle and it only became a big deal when T.O. was injured.

Also, grabbing a player's shoulder pads and leaving your feet is a dirty way to make a tackle.

Don't you think that using the word "dirty" is a bit unfair considering that most football players have been taught to take a man down by any means? Most football fans knows what a dirty hit might look like and then there are the subtle things that can make a player look like a dirty player. What happened to Tom Brady wasn't a dirty play, it was unfortunate but it's a stretch to proclaim it to be a dirty play.

Helmet to helmet hits are considered to be a dirty play but if a player lunges to make a tackle towards the player who has the ball and that player moves his head 1-2 inches in the right or wrong way (depending which player you ask), that can be labeled a dirty hit...but is it?

Brady gets hurt in a somewhat freak play and they make a rule to keep another big draw player from getting hurt, plain and simple.

So what if this had happened to...let's say David Carr? Would it even be an issue?

posted by BornIcon at 01:47 PM on March 30

Don't you think that using the word "dirty" is a bit unfair considering that most football players have been taught to take a man down by any means?

Tacklers aren't being taught that everything goes. They can't spear, trip, grab the facemask or clothesline a player, among other tactics.

posted by rcade at 02:36 PM on March 30

In fact, they're taught a couple of specific techniques. It's not like there's a coach handing out blackjacks. But don't let the facts get in the way of your pursuit of truth.

posted by yerfatma at 02:39 PM on March 30

Tacklers aren't being taught that everything goes. They can't spear, trip, grab the facemask or clothesline a player, among other tactics.

Again, most football fans and players know the difference between right and wrong and that there is in fact a technique to it all, if it were actually easy, we would all be millionaires right about now. As fans, we know that grabbing the facemask is a 15 yard penalty. Clothelines are either in the WWE or where we used to hang our clothes to dry (ahh, the good ol' days). Let's be clear about one thing here, no one is trying to argue about who is right or who is wrong. We both want the game to be played where no one gets hurt but then again, we know that football is an ultra-violent sport and injuries do happen to occur.

But don't let the facts get in the way of your pursuit of truth.

And the peanut gallery speaks..

posted by BornIcon at 03:22 PM on March 30

Right, anyone disagreeing with you outside of the first person in your stand-off is just some heckler. I forgot that rule of trying to interact with you.

Again, most football fans and players know the difference between right and wrong

How would players know a difference between right and wrong when there isn't any? Or did you mean something other than "by any means"? All-Pro cornerback back-peadling.

posted by yerfatma at 03:55 PM on March 30

I forgot that rule of trying to interact with you.

I have no problem with anyone disagreeing with me or interacting with me, but you didn't try to interact, you want to be sarcastic in your approach. Instead of coming at me with your own opinion about whatever we may be speaking of, you want to make snide comments.

How would players know a difference between right and wrong when there isn't any?

As I recall, there is a right or wrong way in the sport of football, what game are you watching? You want to take what I said "by any means" and make it sound the way you want to make it sound like. What I meant by "any means" is by any mean within the rules of what they were taught. Every player is taught the proper techniques of the fundamentals at an early age in every sport, not just football. You & I know that as well as every individual that has a love for a sport.

By the way, I don't backpedal. Call me John Lynch because I go for the big hits at full speed.

posted by BornIcon at 08:43 AM on April 01

What I meant by "any means" is by any mean within the rules of what they were taught.

But we do agree it's not what you said then.

posted by yerfatma at 03:36 PM on April 01

But we do agree it's not what you said then

Agreed but I didn't say my definition of "by any means" was to shank the man with the ball at the 15 yard line either. I keep forgetting how people tend to take things out of context in order to make their opinions sound legitimate.

posted by BornIcon at 08:47 AM on April 02

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.