NFL Makes Another Rule Change to Try and Stop the Patriots

USA Today – Special teams players trying to block a kick might have to resort to a new set of tricks next season. On Tuesday, NFL owners voted to outlaw players from leaping over offensive linemen on field goal or extra point attempts. The competition committee’s measure was endorsed by the NFL Players Association, with union president Eric Winston saying at the scouting combine that the tactic put players at risk. Players previously were permitted to vault over the line of scrimmage so long as they did not land directly on another person or use their hands or arms to gain leverage.

Just when Belichick is starting to get the hang of something the NFL goes and bans it. Yesterday the league voted to prohibit players from jumping over the offensive line to block a kick.

Why you ask? Because apparently playing a game of leap frog is a tactic that “puts players at risk.” Bullshit. You know what is a tactic that puts players at risk? Slant routes across the middle of the field.

This isn’t rugby where you have to lock arms with other players with no way of protecting yourself if you fall forward. This is a bunch of 300 pound guys in armor that would rival the Kingsguard.

I’m sure they can handle someone trying to Air Bud over them. I mean maybe the NFL worries about the guy jumping over the line getting speared to the moon, but hey thats the risk you take when you play the most violent sport in America.

I still picture Bill Polian at these meetings openly petitioning against this play like he’s lobbying against Big Tobacco because its something that Belichick and the Patriots have gotten good at. Like the time Polian openly bitched and moaned (while on the NFL Competition Committee) after 2003 when the Patriots absolutely mauled Peyton Manning and the Colts in the playoffs. So much so that the league created the new rule Illegal Contact, which helped spawn the flag football league that we know today.

All in all pretty uneventful rule changes, but the league is getting rid of the replay monitor on the sideline. Starting next year referees will have a handheld device and won’t have to run over and get under the hood for 20 minutes to determine a replay. So thats a welcome change. One rule change that didn’t pass that sounded excellent:

  • A proposal that would have placed the ball at the 20-yard line (rather than the 25) if a kickoff went through the uprights did not pass.

That would be awesome. Sebastian Janikowski just BOOTING the ball to try and save his teams 5 yards of field possession. I feel like theres going to be a change made to touchbacks sooner than later though since Belichick and other coaches have figured out they just can kick the ball to the 1, force the return man to come out and still bring them down before the 25. So that kind of negates the intentions of that initial rule change.

But hey, you mess around with the rules and smart coaches are gonna figure out the best way to manipulate them.

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