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They are still in a work stoppage, but the National Football League apparantely is still planning changes for the upcoming (hopefully) 2011 season.
They say this year they will start suspending players for illegal hits to the head and neck areas, as well as on defenseless players.
”Frankly, now that the notice has been given, players and coaches and clubs are very aware of what the emphasis is and we won’t have that hesitation,” Ray Anderson, Chief Disciplinarian said. ”Everyone will be very clearly on notice now that a suspension is very viable for us and we will exercise it when it comes to illegal hits to the head and neck area and to defenseless players.”
The league has looked back at two year’s worth of plays to scout out the repeat offenders and who to keep an eye out for while handing out the fines and suspensions.
Also, the rules for a defenseless player have been broken down into eight categories:
-A quarterback in the act of throwing
-A receiver trying to catch a pass
-A runner already in the grasp of tacklers and having his forward progress stopped
-A player fielding a punt or a kickoff
-A kicker or punter during the kick
-A quarterback at any time after change of possession
-A receiver who receives a blind-side block
-A player already on the ground
And with that, the owners will discuss new kickoff rules during the owners meeting next week. They propose moving the kickoff to the 35-yard-line and bringing the touchback out to the 25 yard-line. Touchbacks on any other plays will remain at the 20-yard line, however.
Also, no player besides the kicker will be allowed to line-up 5 yards behind the ball. They are also suggesting making any and all wedges illegal on returns. (They reduced the number of blockers in a wedge to 2 players in 2009.)
The NFL continues to get more strict on rules.
I agree with most of the defenseless categories, expect the quarterback after a change of possession. They are paid to play for cryin’ out loud, and if the ball is turned over and they are trying to make a tackle then they should be allowed to be blocked.
If a QB is trying to tackle a defender after a fumble or interception, they are trying to say he is defenseless and no one can even attempt to block him? Are you kidding me? That’s what I get out of that statement, but please feel free to correct me if I’m not understanding it in the comments below.
As for the proposed kickoff changes. I don’t really get why they need to move it up 5 yards. Apparently it is for safety reasons on the kickoffs. But really, whats moving it up 5 yards going to really do? Players are still going to hit their full speed before they hit any blockers.
The only thing I can understand would help is the eliminating of wedges. Again, if I’m mistaken, leave some comments people!
The suspensions were expected. They didn’t suspend any players last year, and Mr. Anderson explained why in the quote above. I just hope this doesn’t go too far, because some hits you just can’t stop, and Roger Goodell and the rest of the NFL need to realize that.
*Information from a Foxsports article was used.