The NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona is a time for owners to come together and discuss rule changes, and such league matters, and also discuss things about their team and sometimes about their personal life with the press. We’ll be bringing you updates about the meeting and what rules passed right here on this article
New Rules for Player Safety
Teams are no longer allowed to stack more than 6 players on either side of the snapper during field goal attempts or point after attempts. Players are also not allowed to hit offensive linemen low, and snappers are now considered defenseless players. This is for the safety of players, as hitting offensive linemen low can lead to serious injury, and stacking players on one side can cause injury to a kicker, snapper, or offensive linemen in between them.
The NFL also banned peel back blocks now (in the tackle box too). Peel back blocks occur when an offensive lineman attempts to block a tackler at the knees from the blindside or behind. This is to prevent a defender who does not see a blocker approaching from being injured low. A block like this can lead to serious injury, as Texan Brian Cushing knows. Cushing was the victim of a peel back block, getting his ACL torn during a block by Jets gaurd Matt Slauson.
Future looks bright for the Pro Bowl
Roger Goodell expressed optimism for the future of the Pro Bowl. Some new ideas were mentioned to “freshen up” the Pro Bowl, such as having captains picking teams instead of dividing teams by conference. The game could also be moving. Sources say that the Pro Bowl could rotate between locations throughout the country. The owners are also discussing possible incentives for making big plays, creating games within the game, and splitting the game into halves instead of quarters. We will see how this story progresses as the week winds on.
[UPDATE] The Pro Bowl will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii next year. The NFL however, will try to change the Pro Bowl from just a game to a whole TV Show, involving a draft, captains, and other events.
Robert Kraft claims Welker’s agent is at fault for Welker not being back with the Patriots
Kraft said Welker’s agents “misrepresented” his market value
— Karen Guregian (@kguregian) March 18, 2013
Robert Kraft says Tom Brady never demanded Wes be signed. Said Brady isn’t upset. Also adds, “I don’t answer to Tom Brady.”
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2013
So basically Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots, put much blame on Wes Welker’s agents for the deal between Welker and the Patriots not being made. He said that the agents “misinterpreted” his market value and gave him no chance to go back to the Patriots. This is either a very emotional topic for Kraft, who has never revealed so much on contract negotiations before, or he’s just trying to cover himself for his blunders.
Tuck Rule Discussed
Ahh the Tuck Rule. How ever important this rule will be to the Patriots organization, and how much of their success they owe upon this rule is beyond imaginable. This is an extremely controversial rule, and the NFL is finally trying to get rid of it at the league meeting. Much history was made because of the rule, and one can only imagine what would happen if there was no tuck rule. This draws much attention, and heated debates from both sides. Robert Kraft even said that he may have to abstain from voting because of his emotional attachment to the rule.
[UPDATE] The Tuck Rule change has passed. Now when a quarterback tucks the ball back into his body after forward motion and fumbles after a hit, it will not be ruled an incomplete pass, but in fact a fumble. The change passed 29-1 with New England and Washington abstaining.
Crown-of-the-Helmet Rule passed
This one saw much protest from running backs, old and young, legends and current players. This rule does not allow a runner to lower his head into a tackle at all, now not even in the tackle box. This rule was supposedly to attempt to prevent injury, but many NFL players think that this will cause more injury. NFL Legend Emmit Smith commented, saying that the rule was ridiculous because lowering the shoulder pads is a way that running backs protect themselves. If they lower their shoulder pads without lowering their helmet, their head could very well be taken off. Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte was also upset about the rule:
Wow so they really passed that rule…last time I checked football was a contact sport. Calling bank now to set up my lowering the boom fund
— Matt Forte (@MattForte22) March 20, 2013
Jim Schwartz Rule Passed
The rule that enraged Lions coach Jim Schwartz on challenging an automatically reviewable play has been changed. In a game against the Texans, Schwartz threw a challenge flag following a play where a Texans running back was not whistled down, and proceeded to run into the endzone. The play resulted in the upholding of the touchdown and a penalty on the Lions. Now, when a coach challenges an automatically reviewable play, the team will be charged with a timeout, and the play will proceed to be reviewed, and the timeout will be rewarded back if the coach’s challenge was correct. Also, now when a coach challenges with no timeouts remaining, the team will be charged with a 15 yard penalty instead if the challenge is incorrect.
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