Posted March 20, 2013

‘Tuck Rule’ out, crown of helmet rule in after NFL OKs rules changes

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Would this be a penalty on Frank Gore? Refs might have a hard time deciding on that now. ( Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Would this be a penalty on Frank Gore? Refs might have a hard time deciding on that now. ( Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

The NFL owners voted on four rules changes during their annual meetings, all of which will be implemented for the 2013 season.

Most recognizable among them is the so-called “Tuck Rule,” which no longer will exist. But all of the owners’ rule book adjustments could lead to significant moments throughout coming NFL games.

What’s In

The crown-of-the-helmet rule

In the ongoing battle by the NFL to limit head injuries for its players, the league’s owners voted in a rule that will penalize a player 15 yards for initiating contact on another with the crown of his helmet. The rule only pertains to tackle attempts made outside the tackle box and “incidental contact” will not draw a flag.

So … good luck with that, NFL officials. I know it’s easy to rail on officials for mistakes, but the amount of split-second judgment calls they’re asked to make continues to rise. This one figures to be even harder to determine than the defenseless-receiver rule, which led to an endless stream of questionable flags last season.

Not only will officials have to make sure a player was out of the tackle box for this rule, but also they’ll have to decipher intent. What if a running back stumbles and drives his head into a defender? What if he’s covering up the football to protect against a fumble and happens to bring his head down? Those should fall under the incidental contact allowance, but picking and choosing during a game will be brutally difficult.

The peel-back block rule (aka, “The Brian Cushing Rule”)

As it did with “The Tom Brady Rule” a few years back, which prevents defenders from diving low at a QB in the pocket, the NFL has again reacted to a serious injury inflicted on one of its star players. This time around, it’s Brian Cushing, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on a peel-back block.

That type of play — in which a player blocks an opponent below the waist after approaching from the side or behind — no longer can occur; before now, they had been outlawed inside the tackle box.

What’s out

The tuck rule

It’s about time. Maybe we can call this “The Other Tom Brady Rule” — of course, it was Brady and the Patriots who benefited from this call during a 2001 playoff game.

Brady’s infamous play against the Raiders, in which Brady lost the ball as he pump-faked and then brought it back to his body, would now be ruled a fumble. Previously, it would have stood as an incompletion.

This has long been one of the league’s most confusing and hardest to judge rules.

The unnecessary-challenge rule

This one burned Jim Schwartz on Thanksgiving Day when he threw the challenge flag on a Texans touchdown run — all scoring plays are reviewed, thus Schwartz’s challenge was extraneous.

Under the old rule Schwartz’s ill-fated decision meant, for whatever absurd reason, that the play could no longer be reviewed. The adjustment to the rule, approved Tuesday, means that an illegal challenge will be penalized with the loss of a timeout (or a 15-yard penalty, if a team is out of timeouts), but the review will be allowed to occur.

21 comments
V-aaharr
V-aaharr

The Crown rule is brilliant and I cannot believe that it did not already exist. Do you really want your favorite player to have his career end in paralasys. I know they center on concussions, but the reality is this will lower the amount of time we spend watching for a motionless player to raise his arm. This does not detract from violent running in the least. If a highschool or pop warner RB can keep his chin up which is all the rule requires, why can't a professional athlete. Lowering the crown is like trying to win a war with a spear made of straw, you may inflict some pain but everything behind the tip will break. I do believe they went to far with QB protection rules, but this one is a great one.

 

JRCowboy49
JRCowboy49

The helmet rule is plain stupid just like Goodell who needs to go! You cannot lower your shoulder pads without lowering your helmet. This is a natural reaction all humans have regardless of helmet or not. What the hell were you thinking?

inetadv
inetadv

Only 'sour grapers' refer to the tuck as the Brady rule, considering that it was in existence for so many years prior to the most famous application of its quirky provisions - long before Brady was even in the league, let alone competing for titles.

 

AND it had come into play in major decisive situations in several games over the years prior to the Snow Game (and has been called numerous times since.)

 

It was akin to when the LA Kings lost a turning point game to the Canadiens in the '93 Cup finals after an 'illegal stick' call on McSorley, and all of a sudden the conspiracy theorists were bashing the East Coast/Canadian bias for pulling an 'obscure' call out of nowhere to turn the tide in favor of the preferred team -- even though that rule, too, had been on the books for years (and still is) AND had been called MANY times in critical situations against morons who failed to swap out their sticks in the final minutes of tight games.

 

As for the actual 'Brady Rule' concerning dangerous low hits, that rule certainly didn't BENEFIT Brady. It came into being AT HIS EXPENSE to protect others from what became recognized as a vulnerable career-threatening situation. Enough Brady bashing (including via indirect snide references) already

Jeff10
Jeff10

Tuck rule was terrible. Only thing It prevented was the Raiders playing the Steelers to go to the Super Bowl,

not preventing the Raiders from going to the Super Bow!!

Pinchshot
Pinchshot

Too many retiree law suits.  Blame the players

Steve Kostyk
Steve Kostyk

NFL....National Flag-football League.....coming to your town SOON!

Tommy D
Tommy D

anyone for a game of 2 hand touch? seems to be the direction the NFL is headed. Or maybe a friendly game of flag football on a fall Sunday afternoon. I wonder how many tickets will be sold....lol

TimothyJEhrler
TimothyJEhrler

This league has become such a joke. Let me guess....this will be a reviewable call so we can all watch 15 more commercials!

TheVon
TheVon

All of these people railing against the new crown of the helmet rule should at least feel some annoyance at the lawyers who are manipulating ex players into suing the league for knowingly allowing head injuries in the past. 

d3
d3

when do they switch to the NERF N-SPORTS MEGA AERO HOWLER 

neocor
neocor

The Raiders keep saying that they were robbed of that play and missed a chance at the Super bowl. In realities that play changed a whole lot in the world of NFL. Its like a butterfly effect.

 

- It possibly made Tom Brady and the New England Patriots what they are right now.

- Its possible Ram's would have won another super bowl and Kurt Warner would have been a bigger legend than he is right now.

- Drew Bledsoe might still have been a starter at New England and his career may not have spiraled the way it did.

- The Eagles might have won a Super Bowl and Donovan McNabb would not be in the position he finds himself in.

- Gisele Bundchen would have married someone else. Even Bridget Moynahan may not have known who Brady is.

- The Jets may not have been this miserable the last decade.

- Giants may not have won those two Super bowls.

- Colts may not have won that Super Bowl, may have won others though.

- There would not be any challenger to Payton Manning's dominance.

- Heck even Tony Romo might not have seen the light of day in the NFL (go figure how).

 

i could go on. But the point is everyone got to move on. The rule was bad but it was a rule, and was followed and Partriots benefitted. They were on the receiving end of the same rule earlier.

People can argue that Tom Brady and Patriots would still have been great even if they had lost that game, as in Bellichik's mind he was the future at QB and he had already moved off Bledsoe.

 

So in reality if there is anyone to blame here and not just once then its the Jets. First for that hit by Mo Lewis. That one hit completely changed the entire NFL on its head.

The second was Mangini's snitching. Patriots and Brady were slowly beginning to rest on their 3 Super Bowls. The Jets had to wake them up and force them to start all over trying to prove a point.

 

So everyone please blame the Jets for everything. Not the tuck rule, however bad the rule was.

Solomon
Solomon

Just like others here, I think the new crown of the helmet rule is ridiculous- but hey, that's what happens when your only motivation for making rules is in response to what happens in some courtroom. As far as the uncertainty for the officials, I think we all know what will happen: they will be instructed by the league office to err on the side of making the penalty call every time. That's how we've ended up with "roughing" the passer calls if a defender's hand so much as brushes a QB's helmet.

Gary36
Gary36

Welcome to the National Flag Football League, leading with your head rule is bull, Somehow Jerry Jones is part of this decision and just like the Cowboys he'll ruin the league.

MR
MR

Can't lead with the crown of the head because that's unsafe.  It is much more desirable if the runner leads with his facemask and breaks his neck.

frankfootball
frankfootball

This crown of the helmet rule is probably the worst rule ever. It makes the force out rule from a few years ago look genius.

TheStub
TheStub

As a patriots fan, I say good riddance.  It was a bad rule.  That being said, Raiders Fans, get over yourselves.  Fact was, it was a rule, so the correct call was made.  Bad Rule.  Correct Call.  Let's move on.

6marK6
6marK6

Nobody could ever explain the reasoning behind that stupid tuck rule. It was an obvious fumble that for some reason was not counted as a fumble. And it cost the Raiders a Super Bowl!

inetadv
inetadv

 @6marK6 It cost the Rai-duhs a first down, Their D then gave up the continuation of the drive to a TD conclusion - which itself merely TIED the game.

 

THEN their D gave up the winning FG drive, AFTER their O sputtered out after getting the ball back. 

 

Some folks LIVE on excuses and what-ifs.

 

And even IF the 'duhs had made it past that game, they would have had to upset the Steelers in Pitt just to GET TO the SB

 

And we all know what happened to that awesome Raiduh juggernaut (circa '01-'02) just the very next year when they weren't 'robbed' and finally DID make it to the big game - where they WERE 'MUGGED'!  And America had to suffer through probably the least interesting SB of the decade.

 

(Let's not even bother discussing the aspect of karma revisiting the Raiduhs in '01 after the gift 'roughing the passer' call in the '76 playoffs handed them the come-from-behind win over the Pats which allowed THEM to move on and eventually capture their first SB)

Pinchshot
Pinchshot

 @Hola  @Pinchshot

 Hola, you are correct.  I didn't say it would either.  This is necessary for an argument in a court of law ... nothing more.