The NFL’s labor situation has put most non-courtroom football news to rest for the past few months, but today we actually have some on-field football news to report, thanks to the NFL Owners’ meetings that are going on this week in Indianapolis.
According to this article by Albert Breer of NFL.com, NFL owners approved unanimously on Tuesday rules changes that regard player safety. We’ll do our best to breakdown the new rules changes right here but we also expect more clarification to come out in the hours and days ahead. None of these changes are necessarily drastic in terms of how they’ll impact the product on the field, but they are significant changes in that they protect players from harm.
The first change expands the definition of “defenseless player” in the “unnecessary contact” rules, Breer writes. The following types of players will now be considered defenseless: a receiver who “has not clearly become a runner,” a kicker or punter during a return, a QB following a change of possession, as well as a player who takes a blindside block from an opponent “moving toward his own endline” and approaches from the back or side.
The second change relates to the NFL’s “launching” rules, which will now include players who leave both “prior to contact to spring forward and upward,” and a player who “uses any part of his helmet.”
The third change is one I think both defensive players and coaches as well as fans will appreciate. It adjusts the rules prohibiting blows to the head of the QB, specifically making accidental “grazing” a judgment call for officials, rather than an automatic foul.
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