NFL Rules Changes 2011
While most of us hate what the owners have done, effectively stopping football until they get a better deal by locking the players out, on tuesday the owners unanimously approved of stricter rules. They placed further placed restrictions on the players, finally cracking down on violent illegal hits. Sure, who didn’t like the segment “Jacked up” on ESPN, but I’d rather see my favorite players not suffer from health problems in their old age. Last season, the NFL started to discipline for egregious hits and will continue to do so through fines.
1. Launching Banned: It’s about time. I can’t believe how many players launch themselves into another player, leading head first and aiming for the head (even after the play. Kinda disturbing. They don’t understand that they are in the same boat. Brandon Merriweather had two unforgettable “launches” against Todd Heap last year and that kind of play should be disciplined. Under the new rule “Launching” requires:
- leaving their feet, to make a hit to make upward contact with their helmet AND
- launching into another player helmet first (any part of body).
2. Defenseless Receiver: Extended protection to players who receive blindside blocks and K, P, & QB after change of possession. This rule is probably the most debatable of all three changes because of the wide receivers. It states that, “a receiver who has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a runner even if both feet are on the ground is considered defenseless.” Defenseless players cannot be hit in the head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm or shoulder. Basically, Wide Receivers can now be a defenseless player.
3. “Forcible Blows” to QB head: Not a new rule, but thankfully tweaked this rule. Formerly any touch to the QBs head was grounds for a personal foul previously (see: Colts @ Eagles, ’10), which was unjust. Under the new definition, there needs to be a forcible blow, not merely incidental contact.