Category Archives: NFL Rules Committee

25

March

NFL Approves Rule Changes

NFL Owners meeting

NFL Owners voted to approve rule changes at this week’s meetings

With the NFL owner’s meetings taking place this week, one of the major topics of concern are the proposed rule changes.  I’ll delve into some of those shortly.  There have already reportedly been three rule changes that have been approved to take effect immediately starting in 2014.

The first has to do with the process of instant replay.  NFL owners voted to allow referees to communicate with the officiating command center in New York during on-field reviews.  Previously, referees were afforded several angles of a play under review and then had to make a final ruling.

Now, the command center in New York will closely monitor and begin reviewing potential reviewable plays right away.

When the official contacts them, they will likely have already viewed the play and can help guide to the correct ruling.  The final call is still the referee’s to make, but the command center will ensure that all aspects of the review and play are correctly assessed.

The next is the elimination of a “roll up block” to the side of a player’s leg.  This was a modification of a previous rule that banned roll up blocks from behind.  The biggest beneficiaries of this rule are likely to be defensive players.  Many knee injuries had occurred to players who couldn’t see such a block coming.  After many rule changes that have seemingly favored the offense, the defense scores one here.

The last is the elimination of the “slam dunk” touchdown celebration.  While the exact reasoning for the rule change hasn’t been explained, it would likely be due to the few instances where the contact with the goal posts caused them to become altered or uneven.  The process to correct this is a quick one, but I think we can all live with a little added protection to the integrity of something that affects a score.

The most famous user of this touchdown celebration ironically may have just played his last down this past season: Tony Gonzalez.  When told about the rule change, Gonzalez tweeted that he is glad he got out when he did.  Another tight end who will be coming up with a new scoring celebration is Jimmy Graham.  Graham is currently negotiating with the New Orleans Saints on a long-term contract.

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24

March

Cory’s Corner: The NFL isn’t broke, don’t fix it

The NFL has talked about moving back the point-after touchdown and adding two playoff teams.

The NFL has talked about moving back the point-after touchdown and adding two playoff teams.

First it was making extra points 43-yard kicks.

Now there’s talk about expanding the playoffs.

It should be obvious to the owners and NFL commish Roger Goodell that the National Football League is hands down the best professional sports product on the planet.

Sorry Premier League, but the NFL continues to get eyes glued to its games. For the fourth time in five years, last month’s Super Bowl has set viewership records in the U.S. And that was for a pretty much blah game with a final score of 43-8.

And so I ask you, why for all that is holy is the NFL even considering tinkering with its untouchable product? Leagues like the NHL, MLB and NBA would kill for the exposure, which allows the financial floodgates to be opened to the tune of over $39 billion just for broadcast rights.

Many might say you have to change or reinvent yourself in order to stay on top. That’s a valid argument but it doesn’t hold water when there hasn’t been any evidence of the NFL eroding. The game’s popularity has only exponentially grown thanks to things like fantasy football and the Madden video game, which continues to cultivate a younger audience.

Actually the NFL has changed. It has added things like replay challenges — even though a certain Lions coach really never understood how it worked — the two point conversion and less clutching and grabbing from defensive backfields.

The game is much more open now. The quarterback may still be protected a tad too much, but I’m willing to live with all the minor tweaks the shield has made over the years.

But seeing a kicker have to boot a 43-yard extra point in December just to secure a playoff berth seems a bit preposterous. And adding two more playoff teams into the mix sounds like a great idea right? It’s the simple math of more teams, the better.

However, all it would do is just dilute the postseason to NBA levels. How many people care or watch the 8th seed get trounced by the No. 1 seed in the NBA playoffs? Yes, I know Dikembe Mutumbo and the Nuggets bucked the trend by beating the Sonics. But that never happens — and worse yet, hardly anyone watches or cares.

20

September

Ruling Down The Merriweather Hits

A lot of fans were angry and confused in regards to the Brandon Merriweather hits on Eddie Lacy and James Starks.  And rightly so, Eddie Lacy suffered a concussion on his first carry and was done for the day and naturally there was a lot of outrage as to why no penalty flag was thrown.

Afterwards, many fans have been calling for more consistency in terms of penalties, as they don’t understand why Merriweather wasn’t penalized on the Lacy hit but Dashon Goldson and Bernard Pollard were.  Obviously Packers fans were a little happier with “karma” being served with Merriweather ultimately knocking himself out on the James Starks’ hit but some Washington Redskins fans have complained that actually Starks should have been penalized for knocking Merriweather out (which is pretty ridiculous since defensive players attack the offense, not the other way around).

I think that realistically fans don’t really understand the rules of the game and only use them when it benefits their team, so in an effort to see what the rules are exactly and how they apply to these hits, I’ve gone through the NFL rulebook and some of their ruling memos in an attempt to see what exactly is going on.

Brandon Merriweather hit on Eddie Lacy (click to see the video)

From the first look I think many fans would claim that this should have been a penalty because Merriweather leads with the crown of his helmet on Eddie Lacy, who appears to trip over Jordy Nelson (who was blocking), gets turned towards the sideline and therefore does not see Merriweather coming.  The rule that most fans are thinking about in this case is Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7 (b): Players in a defenseless posture.

Prohibited contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture is:

(1)Forcibly hitting the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder, regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or grasping him; or

(2)Lowering the head and making forcible contact with the top/crown or forehead/”hairline” parts of the helmet against any part of the defenseless player’s body; or

10

October

Packers News: Nick Perry fined $15k for hit on Luck

Nick Perry hits Andrew Luck in the chest, gets flagged and fined

Nick Perry hits Andrew Luck in the chest, gets fined

In the latest edition of players getting fined for playing football, Packers linebacker Nick Perry was fined $15,000 for his hit on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck this past Sunday.

According to Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Perry plans to appeal the fine.

On the play, the official referred to Luck as a “defenseless player,” which is usually a term reserved for a receiver attempting to make a catch with no way of shielding himself from an coming collision. Luck, however, was standing in the pocket with five competent offensive linemen in front of him.

So in essence, labeling Luck a “defenseless player” is perhaps the biggest slight one could possibly give to an offensive line. Watch the play again, and see exactly what Perry was flagged, and fined, for.

Luck clearly didn’t see the Perry coming, and as a result, he was smacked by a 270-pound freight train. Perry does something that players nowadays are taught not to do, which is leading with the helmet. However, Perry hit Luck directly in the acceptable, yet constantly shrinking region to hit quarterbacks–square in the chest. The ball popped lose, and Packers linebacker D.J. Smith recovered.

The nine-yard sack was Perry’s second of the season, but a 15-yard penalty negated the turnover altogether. But if there’s a bright side to the story, it’s that Perry finally flashed his massive potential.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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25

September

Packers-Seahawks: Replacement refs take NFL to all-time low

"Touchback," signals one. "Touchdown," signals the other. Apparently.

“Touchback,” signals one. “Touchdown,” signals the other. Apparently.

There’s nothing funny about it. The NFL’s replacement officials have officially cost a team a win that they rightfully earned.

“It was awful. That’s all I’m going to say about it.”

Aaron Rodgers was dumbfounded following the Packers’ 14-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night football. While the Packers quarterback and head coach were able to keep their composure at the postgame press conference, fellow NFL players and fans of the sport reacted differently.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King called the game “one of the great disgraces in NFL history.”

The play in question was, of course, the last play of the game. As Seattle faced a fourth-and-ten on the Packers’ 24 yard-line, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson kept the play alive with his legs and fired the ball towards the endzone.

Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate pushed Packers cornerback Sam Shields to the ground, but the ball hit safety M.D. Jennings right between the numbers. Jennings cradled the ball to his chest, while Tate tried to wrestle the ball from him.

But nonetheless, two officials walked over towards Jennings and Tate, who are wrestling for possession of the ball. One official waves his arms, suggesting the pass was intercepted and the game was over. The other official, who ignored Tate’s “Shields shove,” rushes to the scrum and signals “Touchdown.”

The play was reviewed, and the call stood as called. Touchdown.

Seahawks win.

The pass was clearly intercepted by Jennings. At one point during the fight for possession, Tate’s right arm is completely off the ball while Jennings maintains possession throughout. In reality, Tate had more possession of Jennings than he did of the, you know, football.

The NFL rule book states the procedure in which a simultaneous catch should be handled, “If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible opponents, and both players retain it, the ball belongs to the passers. It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control.”

The latter part of the rule clearly suggests that Jennings should have been granted the interception. He gains control, before Tate fights for possession. So, there you have it. By NFL rules, Jennings intercepted the pass, and the Packers won the game.

21

March

Saints had Bounty on Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers throws a pass against the New Orleans Saints in last season's opening game.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell came down hard on the New Orleans Saints for paying bounties on opposing players. The punishment:

  • Indefinite suspension of former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams
  • One-year suspension of coach Sean Payton
  • Eight-game suspension of general manager Mickey Loomis
  • Six-game suspension of assistant-head coach Joe Vitt
  • A $500,000 franchise fine
  • Forfeiture of second-round draft picks in 2012 and 2013
  • Future discipline of individual players to be determined

The NFL also confirmed that the Saints had a bounty on Vikings QB Brett Favre in the NFC championship game and on Packers QB Aaron Rodgers in the 2011 season opener.

Here’s more on the Rodgers’ bounty:

“Further, prior to the Saints’ opening game in 2011, Coach Payton received an email from a close associate that stated in part, “PS Greg Williams put me down for $5000 on Rogers (sic).” When shown the email during the course of the investigation, Coach Payton stated that it referred to a “bounty” on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.”

Thanks to the Saints being docked a second-round pick, the Packers will move up one spot in the second round of this year’s draft, jumping from 60th overall to pick No. 59.

My only concern with the punishment is letting the Saints keep next year’s first-round pick. What if the absence of Payton and a few key injuries cause the Saints to have a season like the Colts just had and they end up with the No. 1 overall pick in 2013? I would’ve docked the Saint’s third- or fourth-round pick this year and taken away their first-rounder next year.

Also, if any Vikings fans whine too loudly about the beating Favre took in the NFC championship game, remind them that a bounty didn’t prevent Rodgers and the Packers from beating New Orleans last season.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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1

October

Packers Roster Transactions: What’s Up With Nick Collins?

In week 2, starting safety Nick Collins was lost for the year with a neck injury, and yesterday it was announced that Collins underwent neck surgery. Head coach Mike McCarthy was completely devastated when announcing the news to the media and insisted that there is a 0% chance that Collins will play another down in 2011.  And yet, nearly two weeks later, Collins remains on the team and is still listed on the team’s weekly injury report.

This is especially odd when you consider how precious a roster spot truly is.  Here at AllGreenBayPackers.com, the staff each predicted the 53 “starting” opening day roster, and each of us had to cut players who we felt deserved a spot on the roster.  Obviously, none of us were really remotely close (I think we all had 6 wide receivers on the roster for one), but the fact remains, I think we all wish that we had 54 roster spots to work with.

The Packers, however, seem to be going about it from a completely opposite approach.  The Packers are essentially playing with 50 players at the moment; Collins is out for the year, defensive end Mike Neal looks to be out at least until after the bye week if not entirely with a knee injury and outside linebacker Frank Zombo is out with another long injury with a broken shoulder blade.

Traditionally, when a player sustains a type of injury that is season ending, the team would immediately place that player on injured reserve and then usually sign or trade for a player who plays the same position to compensate.  This is even more true for playing making starters going on IR, since depth is needed at that position.  For instance when Tennessee Titan’s wide receiver Kenny Britt, a focal point on the Titan’s passing game, was placed on IR after tearing his ACL, veteran free agent wide receiver Donny Avery was signed immediately to replace him.  There are stories where general managers will call up free agents during a game to sign them when they are sure that they’ve player will be lost to IR.

So what are the possible reasons that the Packers would be keeping a roster spot for a player already for all intents and purposes on IR?