Dec 23, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Referee Ed Hochuli talks with his crew during the fourth quarter of a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field. The Redskins defeated the Eagles 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Six New NFL Rules & Three To Consider

In two short days the Chiefs will begin their 2013 preseason games. So, technically this is still the off season? Well, maybe not but, with the kind of negative-press-off-season the NFL has had this year it might be a good idea to explore ways to make life a better place. Well, at least better in the NFL.

Before getting to the rules I believe can make this football world a better place, let’s take a look at what owners have actually adopted this off season. In no particular order, the first rule that stands out is:

R.I.P “Tuck Rule”

Forget everything else you knew about the so-called Tuck Rule. It’s history. Now, if a player has started a throwing motion and loses possession, it’s an incomplete pass. Period. Let the “JustBlogBaby” babies cry about the Raiders real place in history. The flip side of the Raider nation pain coin has always been a reason for Chiefs glee. In that way, the Tuck Rule is a rule that keeps on giving and giving, even after it’s dead and buried beneath the snowy tundra of Gillette Stadium. They should have called Tom Brady’s Tuck Rule play “The Immaculate In-completion” because after 2002 the Patriots went on to win 3 Super Bowls in 4 years on the wings of his little “tuck.” Quack!


No More “Peel Back” Blocking

Players may no longer use a “peel-back” block anywhere on the field. Not down field. Not in the tackle box. Thank God. It’s about time. Now, the team receiving a flag for a “peel back block” will receive a 15 yard penalty. I don’t think that’s enough. If a player is hurt as a result of such a block that player should be considered for sanctions. Limited time. Limited pay. And those rules should begin to be written into players contracts. I like big hits with the rest of them. But, who wants to see a good player’s career cut short by some sixth round cheap shot artist. Now, Rex Ryan can’t stick up for Matt Slauson.

Castle Walls For FG Kickers: No Defensive Overloading, No Stacking the Long Snapper, & No Pushing and Shoving (kind of)

During a PAT (or field goal), no member of the defense can stand over the long snapper. Defensive players must line up outside each shoulder of the long snapper. Plus, the defensive team may have no more than six players on any one side of the center when trying to block the kick. No overloading one side. Also, defensive linemen may not push each other into an offensive linemen. 15 yard penalty ensues. Expect more field goals and field goal tries.

See No  Evil – Hear No Evil: A Coach Mistakenly Challenges a Reviewable Play, Is No Longer a Penalty

Now known as the “Jim Schwartz Rule,” if a play is automatically reviewable the officiating crew will proceed to look at the replay, regardless of whether a coach has thrown a challenge flag or not. “Ma’am did you drop your hankie? Hankie? What Hankie?”

A Set of Jersey Numbers Must be Worn by Specific Position Players

For some reason owners felt the jersey numbers needed a little clarifying so only players wearing a specific set, in a ten number range, may be worn by that group of position players. For instance, tight ends must wear numbers 80 to 89, while H-backs and fullbacks will only wear jersey numbers 40 to 49. Wow, let the wild confusion dissipate!

RBs Crown of the Helmet Use is Restricted

In recent years the NFL has limited the use of the crown of the helmet hits, by the defense. However, offensive players have abused the rule. So, we now have a rule to limit running backs who use the crown of their helmet outside of the tackle box. This new rule got more response from players than any other this off season.

~ ~ ~

I know, there are enough rules in the NFL already. However, I believe that the following three rules “could” make the game more enjoyable to watch or improve the integrity of the game.

1. A No Late Hit Rule Following a TD

A penalty should be given to any defensive player who pushes, hits or intentionally bumps an offensive player 5 yards deep, or deeper, in the end zone after that player has scored a TD while running the ball across the goal line.

I’m tired of seeing sorry-ars defensive players who have been beaten, expressing their frustration by hitting a defenseless player who is gearing down following a TD in the back of the end zone.

Recently, I was re-watching a Jamaal Charles highlight video and after JC had finished one of his long TDs against the Steelers, one of their players pushed Charles in the back after he scored the TD… SEVEN YARDS DEEP IN THE END ZONE.

This situation with the late hits in the end zone reminds me of a dangerous cross section near to where I used to live in city in Missouri, very close to KC. Someone was killed at the cross section but the city did nothing and added no traffic light. It wasn’t until another person was killed at the exact same spot before the city took action and added the necessary caution equipment and traffic signals.

That might be overstating things here but, what will it take before the league takes steps to protect defenseless players who have just scored? These players believe the play is long over… which it is since technically the play ended once the ball crossed the plane of the goal line… but then all of a sudden poop happens. Well, the poopers should get penalized!

The league talks a good talk about wanting to take steps to make the game safer. They “could” take steps in advance of injuries coming.

The question is if they will.

2. A Celebration Zone Rule

Let the TD celebrations get creative! I’m in favor of players who score being given more time to celebrate. One full minute. 60 long seconds!

Others want to keep the length of games from getting out of hand. What if they could do both? Would you be for it then?

Give players who score a TD… room on their own sideline “next-to the endzone” time to celebrate for one minute. However, game-play and the clock would not be stopped for this and the extra point will ensue at it’s usual time.

I don’t know why… if someone scores the last point in a game in overtime, or with no time left on the clock to win the game… then they are allowed to celebrated for days and sometimes months if it’s the last game of the year. But, if a player scores a TD or a field goal or a pick-six, they pretty much have to get right back off the field. Some players, such as defensive players, dream their whole life of scoring even one TD and when they do, they should have their moment in the sun. And, that “moment” should last longer then ten seconds.

If you’re playing in Lambeau Field you’re allowed to jump into the stands and celebrate with fans. If they can do that there, then why not designate a specific area so players everywhere, in all stadiums, can take a minute to express their joy without interrupting the flow of the game.

I suggest the following four locations to celebrate as shown in yellow.

Once a player scores they would be given the Touchdown signal by officials then given the following “Celebrate Over There” signal and directed to the Celebration Zone.

If the player doesn’t immediately go there or to their own sideline they may be given a Delay of Game Penalty.

A player who scores would be directed to the Celebration Zone on their respective team’s side of the field. If they don’t go there it could also result in a taunting penalty.

Other players, who are on the scoring player’s team, may also go to the Celebration Zone to celebrate with that player for one minute.

These are areas of the field normally occupied by the press, photographers and cheerleaders. Having press and cheerleaders surround those areas once there is a score will give a wider public the view to the moment. TV interviewers could step in quickly and ask a single question to find out first hand what happened on the play… much the same way interviewers are given access to coaches before and after half time. These can be great “in the flow of the game” moments for fans — at home and in the stadium — to feel closer to the action.

Owners could publicize the sale of seats that are near the Celebration Zone. These seats, which may have been thought to be “less than the greatest” seats in the past, could be a boon and, the opportunity to purchase these “Celebration Zone” seats so close to the area where players would go to let loose following a TD could be a major attraction and reason to raise ticket prices… for the “budget conscious” owner.

I say let the extended celebrating begin and let’s find more ways to incorporate it into the flow of the game without making the game longer. I have always kind of enjoyed the hidden marker in a sock routine. No need to penalize it. Let’s get this party started!

3. If You Can’t Do the Time… Don’t Draft The Slime!

If a prospect has had any kind of criminal history prior to being drafted, and then has more trouble with the law once they are a signed NFL player, the team who drafted that player should have to lose a comparable draft pick.

So, as a hypothetical example… let’s say a team called the New England Patty Cakes once drafted a player… fictitiously named… Aaron Homicidez in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft. He had a criminal record while he’s in college but the team ignores this and so drafts him… cuz he cud katch dat ball so dang gud. Three years later his criminal instincts take over again and he finds himself in jail and the team is so aghast. A life is lost and the team is left troubled and humiliated.

The league should step in and require that team will lose a comparable fourth round pick in the next draft.

If this kind of player turns into a Pro Bowler then the organizational and league embarrassment is even greater and so the punishment should be extended and greater.

For example: if a similar player like Joe McKnutt of the New York Jokes was drafted one player right before Aaron Homicidez in 2010 but, McKnutt remained rather undistinguished in his career and not greatly popular… then that player and team should not receive the same extended league penalties. So, the Mr. Homicidez team might lose a pair of fourth round picks for taking the reckless risk of drafting him whereas the New York Jokes would only lose one fourth round selection even though they could have drafted Mr. Homicidez to begin with.

The point is, NFL teams need to have the real consequences of their draft choices firmly tied to the players they are selecting. The only way to do that is to make the consequence fit the action… the action of the team taking a high organizational risk on a highly risky character.

We hear a lot of “talk” about cleaning up the image of the league… while simultaneously this has been the worst off-season for that image. If you want to purge these characters from the league, let the purging begin with the teams themselves.

You know the old adage: put up or shut up.

What do you think Addicts? Is there a rule you’d like to see adopted or altered?

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  • Tarkus

    Your first suggestion is a good one and a no brainer. I don’t know why that’s not a penalty. To me it’s no different than hitting a player out of bounds, since, as you pointed out, the play is over when he crosses the goal line.

    Regarding your third suggestion, the team is already penalized a draft pick. New England lost the pick they used to draft Hernandez.

    • steve james

      My thoughts exactly. Being a star athlete then making it to the NFL and making crazy money so young would be a tough situation for anyone. Poop happens. Hitting women etc is never acceptable but what you propose is not logical. How many picks should the Chiefs loose for Jovans selfish acts?

      • ladner morse

        He was never drafted.

        • steve james

          Forgot that but the premise of my question remains, if you hold the club accountable for player bad behavior. Do you get extra picks if like Tebow they go on missions etc?

          • ladner morse

            I don’t think the two are related. We’re talking about bad “criminal” behavior, not questionable “employee” behavior.

            I’m a teacher and I can tell you this…. if I go out and get a DUI… my teaching career is over. Period. Most states, it’s the same way. But, if I decide to take a year’s sabbatical to study and get my doctorate in India — my school district will either have provisions for that or not. Those two events and types of behavior are on no way related.

          • elly violette

            I understand what you are saying about “some” punishment being handed out but, why would a team have to lose TWO draft picks. If they are punished, once is enough. Don’t you think?

          • Tarkus

            If you get a DUI, is your school punished? That would be the proper analogy for your post, since Hernandez has not only lost his job, but also his freedom. What you’re proposing is punishing his employer too (beyond what they’ve already lost).

          • ladner morse

            The difference is I am not the entertainer and public face of the school district. A.H. is. Everything about football is entertainment. Vikings owner Ziggy Wolf could be caught in a major fraud case and do you think he’ll be around for long? The difference between him and a player is… the player is the public face and the product. There is no football without the product.

          • Tarkus

            I’m not following you. Because he’s an entertainer, his employers should be punished for his wrongdoings? Why? (Never mind that they’re already being punished.)

            Regarding Ziggy Wolf, if he’s caught doing something wrong, he should be punished. No question. That’s different from punishing him for something that one of his players did wrong.

      • Jim Harper

        And lets not forget LJ. How many times did he get in trouble before the Chiefs cut him loose. Then there was Pac Man Jones. The list goes on and on. I would never be in favor of punishing a team for a player’s mistakes, and the courts tend to take care of him. What about Big Ben? Two separate instances of rape. No priors to my recollection, so why would it be fair to punish the Steelers.

  • chiefridgy

    IMO a team shouldn’t be penalized , a draft pick, for the actions of a player on their team. Ultimately, they don’t have control over a players actions on or off the field.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Not at all. That would be completely and utterly unfair.

    • elly violette

      So, are you saying that teams don’t get a black eye from their own players bad behavior? I think the whole league suffers when one of their star players goes out and murders someone. I also think the team should pay some consequence if that player was first a criminal, then the team drafted them.

      • chiefridgy

        Teams do get a black eye from their players bad behavior and the whole league does suffer. So why should the team pay more consequences for their players actions that the team has no control over?

        • elly violette

          We’ll don’t you think the league should at the very least give the appearance of being a stand up league? They must do something, right?

          • chiefridgy

            The league, IMO, is a stand up league. What can they do? People commit crimes all the time. People make bad choices…..they are only human.

            Example: If I committed a crime in the past….did my time….later my parents allow me to move into their house. A year later I get a dui or i murder someone. Should my parents be held responsible because they let me move into their house?? I don’t think it would be fair for them to punish my parents. I’m an adult. They had no idea what things, good or bad, I would do in the future. On top of that, my parents have already suffered the loss of their son when I have to go to prison. Whatever time or money they had put into my future when I was living with them is gone as well.

          • elly violette

            It MIGHT be comparable if… your parents were running a reality TV show and getting millions from your famous face being on the tube once a week. If your parents had a show and had negotiated with the networks to make a good and upstanding show… then this might be a fair comparison. Besides… no one is even suggesting that the teams be put in prison too… so your analogy doesn’t wash. It might make a fair comparison to say that your parents network would move your show out of prime time or some other move like that… then perhaps we’d be talking apples and apples. Otherwise… you’re way off. The big question remains: do you think the league should have to take some resonibility for hiring a person with a criminal record who then perpetuates crime and brings a black eye to the league? Right now, you’re saying it’s alright… which to me means that the league is not a “stand-up” league.

          • ladner morse

            Alright Miss Elly, what do YOU think would be an appropriate “consequence” in this case? A lot of fans seem to think my “lose-two-picks” punishment is way overboard. I’m all for the league staying away from such “characters” and I can see no other way to punish them except to “burn” them for hiring criminals. What’s you’re solution???

          • elly violette

            Maybe the league could wipe all records away of that player from the league record books. I know many people won’t like that but, in other sports they sometimes place an astrick by a players name with an explanation of what happened. I think the league should do all it can to distance themselves from such people. That might be a good place to start.

          • ladner morse

            So, what if the Pats had won a Super Bowl with A.H. do you think they would then have to forfeit their Lombardi trophy because he turned out to be a criminal? I’m not for that… but I know something more has to be done than they have done so far or else it’ll totally become a thug-it-up league and won’t that be lovely.

          • chiefridgy

            I’m just saying you cannot punish someone for someone else’s actions that you had no idea they were going to perform

        • ladner morse

          Not true. The one thing the team DOES have control over before they draft a player is….. whether or not they draft that player. Since they did….. that’s where the consequence should be.

          • chiefridgy

            It’ll never happen.

  • Altarium

    It’s kind of sad that I was a little bummed that the Tuck Rule was laid to rest… Sad because it’s helped us avoid a lot of fumbles over the past several years… hopefully that won’t be an issue this year!
    As for the draft pick penalty suggestion… part of me agrees that the team who drafted someone in trouble with the law should have some sort of penalty, but I believe that the individual who gets himself in trouble should ultimately be the one responsible for his own actions. However, I do think that teams and the NFL should do a better job of providing services to prevent such situations (counseling, rehab, etc.).

    • ladner morse

      I look at it like… if no one had drafted A.H. and all the recent happened anyway…… how would the public have looked at it? They would have connected him to Florida but then that’s about it. No black eye for teh NFL or the Pats. Now… because one team… and one team only… had decided to bring him into the league… it may not be “guilt” by association… but it is certainly shame by association and all the other teams in the league get dragged into the same mire along with the team who choose him. It’s on the Pats to make some kind of restitution — which they really can’t — so they should simply be punished so they will not do that same thing over again. You CAN NOT have the “win at all costs” mentality taking over the league… but N.E. has been a good example of doing just that… so there have to be sanctions.

      • elly violette

        I can buy into the punishment… but the two picks just seems like too much. I’m thinking about the Chiefs and if we were on the bad end of that deal… I wouldn’t want to see them losing two players just because some player goes AWOL.

      • Altarium

        That’s a good point, and I’ll agree that there should be something done to put SOME sort of responsibility on teams and the NFL in general to do something to prevent situations like Hernandez (even if he’s innocent) or Belcher. I guess I think a draft pick would be a little too harsh… and I’d rather see some more responsibility put on players so they’re held accountable for their actions, and not necessarily the team (but consideration for negligence of course). I dunno, I could probably write for pages on my feelings on this topic lol

        • ladner morse

          The question is… what would this “responsibility” be that the league would impose on a player who killed someone? It’s touchy and difficult, I know. That’s why, when I think about the harshest kinds of penalties the league could hand down… those kinds of penalties seem appropriate here.

  • [email protected]

    It’s bad enough losing the player then the team has to lose a compatible pick on top of it, just for giving the guy a chance…remember everyone passed up justin Houston(I wanted him in the 1st) and it worked out you never know

    • ladner morse

      Houston lost millions of dollars by dropping to the third.
      Plus… he hasn’t done anything wrong since being drafted. Why bring him up?

      Smoking Pot vs. Murdering someone? Not comparable.

      • Tarkus

        Hernandez didn’t murder anyone before he was drafted. We’re talking about red flags at the time of the draft, right?

        • ladner morse

          I never said he did… but, their are plenty of players who do have a criminal record before they ever get drafted. Once players become risk-factors… that usually doesn’t change. No matter how slowly Mr. Belichick speaks to them.

      • MrChrisSays

        But still offense. I agree they are not in the same league but you were talking about players not having a criminal past correct?

        • ladner morse

          Yes… but not only those with a past… those who also have acted criminally again as a pro… which Houston has not.

    • elly violette

      Justin Houston hasn’t done anything worng since then. So, it’s a non-issue isn’t it?

  • Chris Tarrants

    I think the celebration should be kept somewhat in check but spiking the ball, spinning the ball thanking god those kinda things should be allowed because they don’t effect anyone. Hell I would even say some group celebrations are even alright as long as they are not offensive! Ok here is a poll for people, which celebration was better. Jared Allen ” calf roping” sack dance or the falcons ” original” dirty bird?

    • ladner morse


    • chiefridgy

      Ickey Shuffle!

  • elly violette

    I agree with the No Late TD Hit rule you made up. It should be just like a runner going out of bounds. No one is allowed to hit a player going out of bounds and if the play is officially over once the ball crosses the goal line……. why can players hit them after that? Good rule!

  • elly violette

    I like football,and i cant wait for the Chief’s game on Friday.GO CHIEF’S!!!!!!!!!!!

    • ladner morse

      Well, if you didn’t like football… we’d all wonder what you were doing her. :)
      Go Chiefs!

      • elly violette

        But i do!

  • ArrowFan

    Any penalty over 10 yards or that results in an automadic first down should
    be reviewable.

    • ladner morse

      I’ve always wondered why the NFL can’t employ “instant Booth reviews” It doesn’t have to take 45-90 seconds. Most of the crowd seems to know instantaneously so why can’t there be a small contingency of umps (an of number of course) sitting in a booth… they vote… if it’s unanimous… they call it down and the play gets changed in 15 seconds… even before the next play normally has a chance to set up.

      • ArrowFan

        Pass interference and personal fowls are the big ones and defiantly impact the outcome of games. How often is the split second call on the field correct? If we are going to penalize a team 15 yards for what looks like an illegal hit then we should at least review it to make sure. The guys on the field should have an orange flag that they can through that says hey guys in the booth look at that one for us we don’t know.

  • mnelson52

    In the case of NE and AH, make the team honor the full contract but it goes to a charity. They would then think twice about hiring criminals because it would hurt their cap space.