07 August 2008
That's a pretty big adjustment and leaves a lot open to the judgment of the officials. I'm not in favor of many rules that put more emphasis on judgment, as that tends to create problems. But I do like the spirit of this rule. I like the idea that a player grazing the face mask with his hand as he tackles the ball carrier being deemed incidental & not a penalty - similar to incidental contact down field between a DB and a WR not being considered pass interference. Look for some controversy here, as the officials adjust to not throwing their flag every time that the face mask is touched. The penalty for a kick-off going out of bounds has been changed to a 30 yard adjustment, rather than a 35 yard adjustment.
Rule 9-1-2-q (formerly s) (FR-119)No player shall twist, turn or pull the face mask or any helmet opening of an opponent. It is not a foul if the face mask or helmet opening is not twisted, turned or pulled. When in question it is a foul. (A.R. 9-1-2-XV).
That makes less sense than usual. This is just an addendum to a previous rule, so I guess they didn't feel the need to restate the rule. Here's what it means in English: If a normal kick-off from the 30 yard line goes out of bounds, the offensive team will have the option of a re-kick or placing the ball at the 40 yard line. In past years the choice was a re-kick or the 35 yard line. This 30 yard adjustment happens regardless of where the kick-off comes from, taking into account pre-kick penalties. If the kick-off comes from the 25 yard line and goes out of bounds, the ball would be placed at the 45; a kick-off from the 40 yard line would be placed at the 30 etc. I like this rule a lot, similar to how I liked the rule of kicking off from the 30. This benefits teams with great kickers and great return men, which only goes to make special teams a more important part of the game. The "horse collar" rule has been put into effect.
Rule 6-2-1-Penalty (FR-88)PENALTY—"….. ball in play 30 yards…".
This had become a large problem in the NFL, so they decided to combat it by making it a personal foul penalty. I had not noticed it as a problem in the college game yet, but I'll give credit to them for attempting to be pro-active. This is a good rule, as it keeps guys from getting injured, plain and simple. The chop-block has been redefined.
Rule 9-1-2-p (FR-119)All players are prohibited from grabbing the inside back collar of the shoulder pads or jersey, or the inside collar of the side of the shoulder pads or jersey, and immediately pulling the runner down. This does not apply to a runner who is inside the tackle box or to a quarterback who is in the pocket.
This is probably a response to the shenanigans of our lovely friends down on the plains and their 2 very public and very egregious chop blocks last season. This is a great rule change, meant to cut down on flagrantly attempting to injure an opponent. Any defensive player deemed to have led with the crown of his head will be penalized for a personal foul. Also and attack on a defenseless player will be penalized for personal foul.
Rule 2-3-3 (FR-42, 43)A chop block is a high-low or low-high combination block by any two players against an opponent (not the runner) anywhere on the field, with or without a delay between contacts; the “low” component is at the opponent’s thigh or below. (A. R. 2-3-3-III and IV) Delete rest of definition.
Their video explaining the points of emphasis is awfully dry, but it does a decent job of explaining it. I understand the point of wanting to make the game safer, but I'm not sure that this rule of a "defenseless player" will really work when applied to the game. In theory players will attempt to hit low instead of high, but I'm not sure what will constitute a player being considered "defenseless" and what won't. It will be really interested to watch how this develops this season. But again, I really can't fault them for wanting to make the game safer.
Rule 9-1-3 (FR-120) (Replaces 9-1-2-l, m, n)Initiating Contact/Targeting an Opponent a. No player shall initiate contact and target an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet. When in question, it is a foul. b. No player shall initiate contact and target a defenseless opponent above the shoulders. When in question, it is a foul. (Refer to Points of Emphasis for a description of “Defenseless Player.”)
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