LOWER THE BOOM: New NFL Rule Changes Will Alienate Fans

If you’re like me, you’re getting a little antsy about now.  As a Chicagoan, you’re starting to see the light at the end of the Bulls playoff tunnel and both our baseball teams are nothing to write home about.  This is the time when you should start doing your fantasy football homework and making plans for which Bears road game you’re going to attend (New Orleans, duh!).  Instead, we’re hearing about appeals and injunctions, stays and labor laws.  Not how we hoped to plan our offseason.  To make matters worse, NFL owners approved some of the lamest rule changes this side of the tuck rule.

Most notable among the new rules is the defenseless player rule.  Here’s a breakdown of what exactly constitutes a “defenseless player” courtesy of FoxSports:

• A player in the act or just after throwing a pass.

• A receiver attempting to catch a pass or one who has not completed a catch and hasn’t had time to protect himself or hasn’t clearly become a runner. If the receiver/runner is capable of avoiding or warding off the impending contact of an opponent, he is no longer a defenseless player.

• A runner whose forward progress has been stopped and is already in the grasp of a tackler.

• A kickoff or punt returner attempting to field a kick in the air.

• A player on the ground at the end of a play.

• A kicker/punter during the kick or return.

• A quarterback any time after a change of possession (i.e. turnover).

• A player who receives a “blindside” block when the blocker is moving toward his own end-line and approaches the opponent from behind or the side.

Let’s delve into these after the jump…

Don’t touch the quarterback while in the act of throwing a pass or just after throwing a pass.  If I’m Jay Cutler and I’m feeling pressure, all I have to do is pump fake or heave up a pass.  Sounds good for Cutler, but when you’re a defensive-oriented team like the Bears, this is going to kill them.

Don’t hit a receiver if he caught a ball or might catch a ball or there is a football anywhere in his vicinity.  Seriously?  Why not fix the Calvin Johnson rule if you’re going to fix any receiving rules?

Here’s the most ridiculous of them all, which says a lot considering how stupid the other ones are.  “A kicker/punter during the kick or return.”  Don’t hit a punter on a punt return.  OK, if that’s the case, than the punter isn’t allowed to make the tackle.  Kick the ball and get your bitch ass off the field.  If you have a helmet and shoulder pads, you’re fair game.  If not, it’s time to reconsider your profession.

Let’s call this rule the Earl Bennett rule.  Remember when he laid out Seahawks kicker Jon Ryan?

Not only is the NFL putting in these defenseless player rules, but teams will get fined if their players rack up too many flagrant fouls.

We’re all waiting with bated breath for a break in the lockout; hoping upon hope that players and owners will come to their senses and get back to business.  But what kind of game are we going to have when they get back?  If they’re bringing it back all pussified, we might as well start watching the Lingerie Football League.

These rule change the complexion of the game.  I understand the notion of player safety but not at the expense of the very fabric of the game.  They might as well start passing out flags and tampons to all the players.   Bring back our game and stop messing it up!

BOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!!!!

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  • ryansnow89

    amen

  • Doshi

    Unfortunately, some of those rules have been made necessary by the insane notion that the “hit” is as good as a “tackle” in the NFL football game. I’ll just go down the list…

    1) This has been necessary for years. Think of all the concussions that can be saved because defensive players can no longer torpedo a QB as he’s releasing the football. There were a number of hits on Cutty this past season that IMO were completely unnecessary, and it’s good to know that those will be stopped. If it’s a “tackle”, then I’m fine with it. But not a “hit”.

    2) Agreed, to an extent. Again, it comes down to “hit” vs. “tackle”. Players should be fined for “hitting” in this instance. They should not be fined for “tackling”.

    3) Massive can o worms here. We’ve won games because “forward progress” is such a loose term as far as the refs enforcing it. But again, hit vs tackle.

    4) Needed. The PR/KR can’t see what’s going on downfield and still be able to see where the football is. But they already have the 3 yard rule. Why would they need this one as well?

    5) Needed. I remember when Wale was nearly murdered during a Tampa Bay game a couple years ago. If a guy’s down, let him go.

    6) Imma call BS on this one. If you’re in pads, and you’re defending a play, you can get blocked. I hope Bennett turns another KP inside out again to prove how stupid this rule is.

    7) Also BS, for the same reasons as 6.

    8) Isn’t that called “block in the back” currently? How is this different from the rules already in place?

    • JD

      I call shennanigans on the whole hitting a QB as he is in the process of throwing… now all you have to do to avoid a sack is to throw the ball up in the air as the defender is coming through and then make sure you fall after contact is made… then it will look like a hit, and even if you throw an interception, it will not matter. Also, QB’s wont have to worry as much about pressure as long as they know they have to begin a throwing motion and they will get a penalty and first down. If you can’t find an open receiver… lets let Clay Matthews get in my grill and as he is about to clobber me Ill throw it into double coverage and get a first down!

      Also, hitting a QB after a turnover? If he is trying to make a tackle (Aaron Rogers in the NFC championship game on Brian Urlacher) he should be able to be blocked. Again, he has pads on, and he can try to tackle or stop the progress of the player with the ball… often times he is the last line of defense on an interception anyway.

      • Boomer

        Great point on the QB getting hit JD. Still can’t believe Rodgers caught Urlacher on that INT. Dammit!!!

      • Doshi

        …i called bs on the qb hitting thing in my original post, bro…

        I don’t know about you, but being able to torpedo somebody in the ribcage where his arms cannot possibly protect him cuz he’s in the middle of a throw is unconscionable to me. Again, there has to be a stated difference between “hitting” and “tackling”. Tackling a QB mid-throw is fine. Hitting him is NOT.

        • Boomer

          No disrespect intended Dosh.

          I hear what you’re saying about the human torpedo act, but let’s face it, the big hits make the highlight reels. They sell entire DVD’s of big hits.

          Go back and watch the ’85 Bears and see if Wilbur Marshall, Otis Wilson and Gary Fencik didn’t do some hitting vs tackling. They intimidated the shit out of people and got opposing QB’s to play scared.

          Just sayin’.

  • Chicago Irish

    Here’s a thought…

    If the NFL is truly serious about getting rid of the “vicious” hits, why don’t they go old school…

    The ball carrier has to be held to the ground in order to be considered ‘down’. IMO this would alleviate many of the torpedo hits if the ball carrier could get up and continue with the play. It would put more focus on tackling versus hitting (like Doshi points out). Personally, I’m tired off all these plays where the ball carrier is considered ‘down’ because the defender’s little pinky finger grazed a shoe lace causing the ball carrier to trip 5 yards down the field.

  • Mr. Pickles

    Frankly I think it’s kind of comical that kickers/punters are now considered to be “defenseless players” at all times.

    • Boomer

      Useless, yes. Defenseless, no.

  • ryansnow89

    “Kick the ball and get your bitch ass off the field.”

    LMAO. Couldn’t have said it better myself

  • RichardMurray

    I hate all the new rules. I really hate the sack rule. They need to make it clear are QB’s part of the game? If they are why can’t they be hit like other players? Now if they can’t be hit they should make it two hand touch on the QB.that way the other team can’t get burned for doing what they are told to do.I saw one team hit the opposing QB and not get called on ruffing the passer, than the other team hit the other QB the same way and bang burned for 10yards.sad make it fair for all teams. This sucks.

  • RichardMurray

    I hate all the new rules. I really hate the sack rule. They need to make it clear are QB’s part of the game? If they are why can’t they be hit like other players? Now if they can’t be hit they should make it two hand touch on the QB.that way the other team can’t get burned for doing what they are told to do.I saw one team hit the opposing QB and not get called on ruffing the passer, than the other team hit the other QB the same way and bang burned for 10yards.sad make it fair for all teams. This sucks.