View Full Version : NFL rule changes put safety first

03-18-2009, 11:53 PM
NFL rule changes put safety first

By Scott Brown
Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rich McKay, a co-chairman of the NFL's competition committee, said a proposed rule change that league owners will vote on next week does not target Hines Ward.

The kind of block that the Steelers' wide receiver laid on Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers last season, however, will become illegal if one of the new rules designed to protect players is passed.

Among the changes that will be enacted if it gets approval of 24 of the 32 owners who meet next week in Dana Point, Calif., is one that would prohibit helmet-to-helmet contact on blind-side blocks.

Ward broke Rivers' jaw while making a crack-back block last October. Ward, who has drawn the ire of opposing players and fans for his aggressive blocking style, did not get penalized on the play.

"We're trying to advance safety," NFL executive vice president of field operations Ray Anderson said during a conference call. "So, going forward, that would be a flagged play."

McKay said the suggested change in the rules came about after the league and the competition committee made a comprehensive review of game tapes from recent seasons.

"I don't think we focused on Hines' block at all to change the rules," said McKay, who is also president of the Falcons.

"It's not just one or two plays, and we get emotional about it," Anderson added.

Four of the seven changes put forth by the competition committee involve player safety, including one that aims to provide added protection for wide receivers.

If it passes, it would prohibit defenders from launching themselves at receivers that have not established position on the ground and are deemed defenseless by officials. Under current NFL rules, only helmet-to-helmet contact with defenseless receivers is not permitted.

Two hits by Steelers free safety Ryan Clark that did not draw penalties last season one against Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker and another on Ravens running back Willis McGahee in the AFC Championship Game would likely become illegal if the proposed change to the rules is made.

One change that won't come about at the owners' meetings involves the current sudden-death overtime format. Commissioner Roger Goodell had said before the Super Bowl that the competition committee would look into decreasing the advantage a team that gets the ball first in overtime has.

According to the NFL, teams that won the coin flip before overtime won 66.7 percent of the time and scored on their first possession 46.7 percent of the time.

McKay said such numbers concerned him, but he added the overtime format will not be on the agenda at the owners' meetings for a simple reason: There is overwhelming sentiment across the board to stay the course with overtime.

Said Anderson on the players' response to keep the format as it is: "I was a little surprised they were as strong about it as they were."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

03-19-2009, 12:01 AM
Ward's hit may bring change
Blindside blocks could draw flag
Thursday, March 19, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The NFL changed a rule more than 30 years ago that became known as the Mel Blount Rule, and now Hines Ward might have one to call his own as well.

A rule to eliminate a blindside block to the head of a defender will be proposed at the league meetings, which begin Sunday in Dana Point, Calif.

Those proposing the rule acknowledged yesterday that Ward's block in October, which broke the jaw of rookie Cincinnati linebacker Keith Rivers, was among the plays reviewed when they drew it up.

"It's one of several plays we looked at, that's correct," said Ray Anderson, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations. "Under this year's rules, that was a legal hit but we're trying to advance our player safety ... and that would be a flag play."

By that, Anderson meant that the hit raised a flag as to the new rules proposal, and even after viewing it on film they were not sure if Ward's would be a legal hit or not if the new rule passes.

The proposal, according to Anderson and competition committee co-chair Rich McKay, is to try to eliminate or penalize any helmet-to-helmet contact that occurs on a blindside block.

"We have people downfield -- tight ends, receivers or even linemen -- who head back to the line of scrimmage [to throw a block]," McKay said. "We're trying to protect that defender and so that you cannot block that defender in the head. We'd rather have the blocker attempt the block in the chest area, anywhere but the head."

It's not clear even by watching the video, the two NFL officials said, whether Ward's block was with his helmet or shoulder.

"I think there was some debate there," Anderson said. "Some of our eyes may have seen helmet to helmet, some may have seen shoulder to helmet."

Ward was neither penalized nor fined for the hit on Rivers.

"Certainly Hines' was one that was perfectly legal last year," Anderson said, "but as Rich said, the result of those types of hits led to the conclusion that for safety's sake, we want to eliminate those types of blindside hits if you will."

The NFL passed new rules in 1978 that benefited the passing game. Perhaps the major change was the one that become known as the "Mel Blount Rule" because defenders no longer could bump a receiver 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Previously, they could bump a receiver anywhere until the ball was in the air. Blount, a Steelers Hall of Fame cornerback, used his 6-foot-3, 205-pound size to overwhelm receivers before a pass was thrown.

McKay acknowledged that the competition committee focused on player safety when they came up with four of their seven rules proposals for the owners to consider next week. Another Steelers player might have helped inspire one of them.

Ryan Clark had celebrated hits on New England wide receiver Wes Welker and Baltimore running back Willis McGahee last season, which were decried by many but declared legal and never drew fines. Those might fall in a gray area if Rule Proposal No. 4 passes next week.

"In 1995, we passed a rule that allowed there to be protection for a defenseless receiver in the air, helmet to helmet," McKay said.

The new rule would expand that to include a hit with a forearm or shoulder to the head until the receiver has two feet on the ground.

"There were an awful lot of hits in the last couple of years that have been legal but very tough on the players," McKay said. "We're trying to expand that protection."

While Clark's hits came with his shoulder to the head, both receivers had their feet on the ground at the time, so that type of hit still might be legal if the new rule passes.

Other safety rules proposals involve the elimination of the "bunching" of players on onside kicks and limiting the number of players who can be used in a "wedge" on kickoff returns to two.

Some other minor rules adjustments will be considered, including a small expansion of plays that can be reviewed by replay. The owners also will continue to discuss expanding the regular season to 17 or 18 games but no decision can be made on that. The NFL Players Association would have to agree to such an expansion and that likely will be among the debates when the sides begin labor negotiations.

There is a proposal to change the draft order of teams involved in the playoffs, but there is little sentiment by players or club officials to change the NFL's overtime rules, the two league officials said yesterday.
Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.
First published on March 19, 2009 at 12:00 am

03-19-2009, 12:46 AM
I look forward to flag football in about 5 years. I think the NFL should change its acronym to one of two things, National Flag League or National Fine League. What a profanityfilterprofanityfilterprofanityfilterprofa nityfiltering joke.

03-19-2009, 12:49 AM
screw this bs

03-19-2009, 01:56 AM
My God this is football right? Man when I played highschool and college ball it was a alot different, now days they are turnign it into touch football which is so sad. Look we all know the sport can be violent and all the players know this as well. You know this is kinda like those that sign up to go to the military, yes they know the risk yet they are willing to still go to support thier country. All football players know very well the high risk in playign the game but they love the game and are willing to put everything on the line, week in, week out. Just let the guys play lets not turn this into Thursday touch football at the YMCA.

03-19-2009, 03:30 AM
NFL rule changes put safety first

By Rotorhead
Thursday, March 19, 2010

Rich McKay, a co-chairman of the NFL's competition committee, said a proposed rule change that league owners will vote on next week does not target the Steelers Defense

The owners will be voting in the coming weeks to ban the Steelers Defense from actually playing football. In their place, they will only allow a high school cheerleading squad . . . as long as they stay out of the way . . . to try to cheer fear into opposing offenses.

A spokesman for the NFL has stated that the Steelers Defense is far to aggressive and overpowers opposing offenses to dominately. In order to make games the ultra high scoring affairs we all want them to be, we must eliminate the top defense every season until it is just offenses on the field scoring as fast as possible. "It is ultimately do to the safety of the players, I mean, we don't want to see contact out there, someone might jam a pinky!" - Roger "Moron" Gooddell

In other news, the Steelers Defense has been seen around the Pittsburgh area with their uniforms on and capes - "We are trying out for our new jobs as Super Heroes" - Big Snack. Crime in the Pittsburgh area is currently down to 0% due to fear of being crushed like a quarterback.

Galax Steeler
03-19-2009, 03:37 AM
I guess they need to dress the players in there squirts and let them run around and play in the grass.:banging:

03-19-2009, 06:12 AM
Is every rule change going to be named after Steelers players from here on?

03-19-2009, 06:29 AM
I look forward to flag football in about 5 years. I think the NFL should change its acronym to one of two things, National Flag League or National Fine League. What a profanityfilterprofanityfilterprofanityfilterprofa nityfiltering joke.

Well said....slowly but surely they're trying to take the violence out of the game. Let's be honest, violence is part of football and always has been...you take away the violence and you take away part of the game.

The Steelers have always intimidated their opponents, it's part of their philosophy and this intimidation factor has paid huge dividends over the years. I hope Rooney fights this "panty waist" rule change as hard as he fought for the Rooney rule itself.

03-19-2009, 06:36 AM
What a crock of :poop: The players wear pads and helmets, not ballerina skirts and posies in their hair. :rolleyes:

03-19-2009, 07:12 AM
I wonder if they are going to change the rules for all the hits the defensive players get on the offensive players in the same manner?

It's all a crock!!

03-19-2009, 07:22 AM
Well let see, the powers that be have decided that overtime is just fine and needs no tweaking. What crap! Can you imagine XLIII going into OT after that amazing 4th quarter and one team getting the KO and scoring w/o the other even touching the ball?

And now they want to be able to review the 'Hoculi play' from the Denver-SD game. Hey, why not just review EVERY freaking play?

They are also going to go after blind-side blocks such as the one HW had on Rivers. What's one of the very first things you are taught when you start playing football? Put your head on a swivel. It's getting ridiculous. Eventually, it will be two-hand touch. Guys will no longer be willing to hit for fear they'll be fined for every tackle.

OK, I'm done ranting.

03-19-2009, 07:31 AM
Once again the league changes the rules because of the Steelers' style of play.

While ignoring that Silverback is held ridiculously, if not outright tackled, on every play.

This league sucks. But I guess we need it so the Steelers have teams to play. :chuckle:

03-19-2009, 07:37 AM
Once again the league changes the rules because of the Steelers' style of play.

While ignoring that Silverback is held ridiculously, if not outright tackled, on every play.

And letting Ben get manhandled and hit late constantly with nary a flag. "Player safety" my ass. For all the pussies out there that whined and bitched and moaned about Hines and Clark this past season that this meeting is intended to placate, If you want to watch a non-contact sport, watch tennis and STFU.

03-19-2009, 07:41 AM
When did Gary Bettman join the NFL? :noidea:

So I guess now the Steelers are being penalized and vilified because they "hit too hard." Give me a break. And please NFL, do not insult my intelligence by saying that these rules do not target Hines Ward and the Steelers' defense, because they clearly do. I already have to watch Disney on Ice when I watch an NHL game. Now I'm going to have to watch flag football every week? God, we've become SUCH a nation of sissies!

03-19-2009, 08:12 AM
They can't beat us on the field so rules get changed to penalize the Steelers. The same thing happened back in the 70's. Do you remember the famous Lambert quote?

From http://www.mcmillenandwife.com/lambert_man_of_steel.html

Then there were the three Brian Sipe incidents, during the '78, '81, and '83 seasons, three set pieces from the same script. Each time Lambert hit the Cleveland quarterback as he was releasing the ball. Too late, decided the referee, who was Ben Dreith the last two times. Each time Lambert got mobbed by the Browns' bench, each time he was flagged, and twice he was ejected from the game and fined by the league.

After the '78 hit he spent 20 minutes in Pete Rozelle's office. Lambert explained he had crossed both arms in front of him to soften the blow. The hit was still late, Rozelle said. [Ed. Note: This was the hit that spawned Lambert's famous "Quarterbacks should wear dresses" quote during a Monday Night interview with Howard Cosell the following week.]

"I asked him, 'How about the guys who came off the bench and mobbed me?'" Lambert says. "'Were they fined?' He said, 'No, but they got very strong warnings.'"

In the dressing room after the '81 game, the writers asked Lambert about the play.

"Dreith said I hit Sipe too hard," Lambert said.

"Did you?"

"I hit him as hard as I could."

The Steelers have become a dominate team again by playing tough, hard nosed defense and offense. Other teams like the Bunglas and Ratbirds can't handle it and get the rules changed to penalize the Steelers.

Well if we can not play hard nosed defense then we'd better use our first round pick on a CB because the league is going to go pass happy.

03-19-2009, 08:52 AM
"Two hits by Steelers free safety Ryan Clark that did not draw penalties last season one against Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker and another on Ravens running back Willis McGahee in the AFC Championship Game would likely become illegal if the proposed change to the rules is made."

Two of the most beautiful plays of the season last year, and now the bastards want to take this away from us. This is bullsh## and they know it. They just want to try to limit physical teams like the Steelers. :mad:

03-19-2009, 09:09 AM
roger and these ppl rly need to be shot... if they keep on effing up the game ppl will stop watching...

player safety?? if he is going to use all the "hits" this past yr or in yrs past.. then he should see that most of the player involved were fine... the worst was kevin everett.. but 1 player in the past 5 yrs...

03-19-2009, 09:45 AM
You can't expect for a defender to make split second decisions on whether or not a guy has "firmly" planted 2 feet in the ground when his livelihood depends on him separating the ball from the WR's hands. He doesn't make the play... he gets cut. A Safety has to process several things in the matter of 2 seconds and now you're adding that.

Do we really watch NFL Football to watch Wes Welker? I don't. In fact that was my second favorite play of the year (right behind Hines' hit on Rivers). Seeing that pest Welker get creamed was a delight.

If you have a hard hitting safety the offense shouldn't call pass routes that will put their guys in that situation. There are plenty of Safeties out there that you can call that route on because they are not going to be as agressive as Clark. They should call a personal foul on the offense for calling the play to begin with.

What we'll see are offenses calling plays knowing they can get personal fouls. They don't care about the safety of the guy. "Go run a slant toward that guy... you, the QB, pause a second and lead him into him... either he'll catch it or he'll get decapitated and we'll get 15 yards. We'll just shovel his remains off the field and insert they next guy."

03-19-2009, 09:51 AM
I'd like to line this whiny-*ss little b*tch Rich McKay up and take a few helmet-to-helmet shots on him. If they were so concerned about player safety, you'd see them taking bigger strides to improve the quality of the safety equipment the players wear. They're just trying to level the playing field so that their punk-*ss teams full of overpaid prima donnas can make it through a game without breaking a nail or getting too banged up for their upcoming promotional shoot for one of their lucrative endorsement deals.

These players are trained about the right and wrong way to hit starting in Midget League. Every high-school locker room in the country has the age-old "See What You Hit" poster in it reminding players about the importance of safety. Hell, in warm-ups for my first ever game of Midget League ball in 5th grade, my teammate and I hit helmet-to-helmet so hard that it literally snapped my face mask. I bet if that tw@t McKay had been there, he would have probably banned us from the game and sent us to our rooms without dinner for setting such a bad example.

03-19-2009, 09:57 AM
Pretty soon they'll all be wearing bubble wrap out there.

I hope they're smart enough to vote this DOWN!

Football is about the hits! Take that away and we've got sissies making the professional teams.

03-19-2009, 10:07 AM
It's all a bunch of BS so players like Lord Brady don't get hurt again. :banging:

03-19-2009, 10:25 AM
Wow. ten years into the future. nfl turns into the national two hand touch league. This is Football last time i checked. No ball prop celebrations. No hard hitting. whats next? Parker ran way to fast 15 yard penalty loss of down?

03-19-2009, 10:34 AM
... let's face it fellas.. they're trying to change the game.:mad: the powers that be don't want the NFL to be physical any longer. I think if they get their way eventually there wont be defenses on the field.
They'll just have the offensive team line up... (and oh hell no your not allowed to run or block oh no.. no.. no)...that might mean u actually touch another player....nope none of that.... its gonna be a quaterback inside a steel cage. with 6 wide outs all running fly and post patterns.
Points will be awarded on the grace and nimbleness of the catch. (the zebra's will be judges... like in figure skating) This will happen because this is what the casual fan loves to watch, casual fans (new fans) don't like hard hitting 17-14 contests between two of the best defenses... oh hell no they want 49-35 shootout between pretty boy..."How dare you try and trade me" QB's and spoiled brat ass"get your popcorn ready" wideouts. and the NFL is ALL ABOUT THE $... and the $ comes from these new fans. they've gotta change the game to cater to em...

.......Yes my friends... this is the FUTURE of your NFL......:banging: ENJOY! :mad:

03-19-2009, 11:32 AM
Why don't they just get it over with and say there's no touching the ballcarrier anymore.

Dino 6 Rings
03-19-2009, 11:37 AM


The Steelers HIT TOO HARD


Change the RULES its not fair!!!!


03-19-2009, 11:51 AM
wow, really? um i dont really no what to say about this except that it is pure BS :mad: if you dont like contact then get out, i know when i played back in high school and prior to that i couldnt wait for the first day of full contact....good job NFL keep f'ing it up for everyone:upyours:

i just dont get the leagues new logic, lets punish the ones who play the game correctly, but the ones who make a mockery of the league gets praise :shake01:

03-19-2009, 12:02 PM
I look forward to flag football in about 5 years. I think the NFL should change its acronym to one of two things, National Flag League or National Fine League. What a profanityfilterprofanityfilterprofanityfilterprofa nityfiltering joke.


They can fasten the flags to their garterbelts.

Steely McSmash
03-19-2009, 12:03 PM
Stupid suggestion. Hopefully it's empty talk to un-bunch someones panties somewhere.

If this BS passes it basically encourages you as a defender to go head first and be defenseless as possible so no one can legally hit you.

On half of these hits the player being hit moves their head into the contact. Maybe they should be fined for reckless play? Attempted self mutilation?

Maybe just play the f-n game?

03-19-2009, 12:16 PM
On half of these hits the player being hit moves their head into the contact. Maybe they should be fined for reckless play? Attempted self mutilation?

Yeah, and if you remember the Clark hits (especially the one on McGahee), they were the kind where he made a hard hit with his shoulder and then their helmets collided anyway AFTER that because of momentum. There's basically nothing anyone can do about that, it's just what happens when you have tackling.

If this passes, I foresee a lot of bullshit 15-yard penalties that keep bullshit drives going after a pathetic incompletion on a third-and-22 desperation pass. And at least one of those will lead to Tom Brady or Peyton Manning (your pick) getting within range for a bullshit field goal to beat us 19-17 as time expires. Probably with the help of another bullshit pass interference penalty where they just chucked the ball blindly 40 yards down the field.

Oh -- and it won't be a touchdown, mind you. Brady and Manning drive for game-winning field goals and walk off the field to golf claps. It's part of what makes them so likable and proper. League bylaw.

03-19-2009, 12:23 PM
Ahh yes, there it is----the Ongoing Pussification of the Greatest Game on the Planet...

where's the "BarfingSmiley"?