Weeks after announcing that players will be fined for over-the-top end zone celebrations, the NFL Rules Committee continued to tweak the rule book Wednesday, saying that beginning in 2006, defensive players attempting to intimidate quarterbacks by using the phrase ?Neener, neener, neener? will be penalized and kicked out of the game.
Rules protecting quarterbacks have increased over the past several years. Most recently, the League instituted the Carson Palmer rule, names for Cinncinnati Bengals QB Carson Palmer, who severely broke his leg in a playoff game last year after being sacked. Beginning next year, defenders cannot hit the QB below the knees, unless they are blocked into them.
?Eliminating ?Neener, neener, neener? from defensive players? vocabulary was the next logical step,? said NFL Rules Committee Chairman Vince Hendrickson. ?We?ve completely eliminated the possibility that quarterbacks can be hurt physically. Now we need to ensure they can?t be hurt emotionally. The QB is a team?s biggest asset. We can?t have the league riddled with guys that feel sorry for themselves, especially signal callers. We?re taking some heat for this decision, but we had to do something. The NFL was turning into ?Mean Girls.?
Under terms of the new rule, #15B - Malicious Language (informally being referred to as the Ray Lewis Rule), players cannot direct the phrase ?Neener, Neener, Neener? at an opposing quarterback on the field on play. But the rule is more far reaching than that. Defensive players are also not allowed to call quarterbacks the following names: ****face, retard, douchebag, ****nuts, dingle berry, homo, fudge tunnel, nut job, wanker, peackerhead, ****wit or Joey Harrington. Big stupid poopy head and dummy face will continue to be acceptable insults.
?There?s a popular saying that goes, ?Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,? but that?s just simply not true,? said Chairman Hendrickson. ?Words do hurt. They hurt guys? confidence and self-esteem. And If we don?t have quarterbacks running out there believing ?I am lovable and capable,? then what are we doing you know? All I know is that if we don?t do this, we?re going to come across like, pardon my French, a bunch of **** gobblers.?
Defensive players will also not be allowed to use quitsies, startsies or erasies. Nor can they triple stamp a double stamp. Offensive players will not be allowed to put their hands over their ears and shout ?LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!?
?I?m not going to sit here and say that something didn?t need to be done, but I do think they went too far,? said Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ed Reed. ?It?s like, OK, you want to stop us from tackling below the waist. Fine. You want to get rid of helmet to helmet contact. Fine. I can even sort of understand why the League would want to get rid of hurtful language. After all, if you can?t say something nice, you shouldn?t say anything at all. But what?s this about not letting us use quitsies, startsies or erasies? Seems a little extreme to me. You might as well get rid of the 3-4 defense.?
Chairman Vince Hendrickson said the Rules Committee has yet to hand down a decision on the use of ?What you say is what you are, you?re a naked movie star.?
?That?s a tough one,? said Hendrickson. ?Because who wouldn?t want to be Brad Pitt doing a naked scene? Then again, calling someone Pauly Shore or Wilford Brimley would be a huge insult, and we don?t want that. I don?t know. I keep going back and forth on this one. I?m thinking of allowing ?What you say is what you are, you?re a B-list movie star.? That doesn?t seem so bad. Not as bad as ?C-list movie star? anyway. Again, it?s about making sure the quarterbacks in this league feel pretty, inside and out.?
Swirlies will also be no more.