NFL sends memo on ‘push rule’ to all 32 teams in advance of Week 8
The NFL sent a video to all 32 teams this week, warning them that there will an increased emphasis on the new rule preventing one player from pushing a teammate forward on special teams plays. The New England Patriots were on the wrong side of this rule last Sunday, when defensive lineman Chris Jones was penalized for unnecessary roughness on Jets kicker Nick Folk’s unsuccessful 58-yard field goal attempt in overtime. Jones’ push forward allowed Folk to try again. and the Jets won, 30-27. Jones was penalized for pushing offensive lineman Will Svitek forward.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL cited that play in the video, and one that the Jets seemed to get away with in the same game — when Quinton Coples pushed Muhammad Wilkerson toward the line on a Stephen Gostkowski attempt. By doing so, the league effectively admitted that Jerome Boger’s crew blew the call that should have gone against the Jets.
After the game, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said that he wasn’t aware of the new rule, which prevented players from pushing teammates forward at the same level of the line. Before the 2013 season, players were technically allowed to push forward as long as they weren’t doing so lined up behind their teammate at the snap.
The Jets had warned Jerome Boger’s officiating crew about New England’s tendency to do this, because they had seen the Patriots try it the week before, in New England’s 30-27 win over the New Orleans Saints. In that game, Jones pushed forward on a Garrett Hartley attempt with 2:44 left in the game. The Baltimore Ravens also got away with an example of this in Week 5 against the Miami Dolphins.
So, it would seem that while the memo to the teams is a warning, it is just as much a wake-up call for a bunch of officials who have been struggling to call a new rule modification consistently.