The NFL has announced a couple more rule changes with regard to player safety after a Wednesday morning vote from the club’s owners at the annual League meeting in Phoenix, Ariz.
The “Tuck Rule” will no longer be in effect. Quarterbacks who have started the motion of a forward pass, but lose control of the football when pulling the ball back in toward their body will be charged with a fumble. Previously, such an instance would have been ruled an incomplete pass.
Also passed was a rule that prohibits offensive and defensive players from leading with the crown (top) of their helmet when making contact in the open field.
Bill Bradley, contributing editor for NFLevolution.com writes: “The new rule will draw a 15-yard penalty if a runner or a tackler initiates forcible contact by delivering a blow with the top/crown of his helmet against an opponent when both players clearly are outside the tackle box (an area extending from tackle-to-tackle and from three yards beyond the line of scrimmage to the offensive team’s end line). Incidental contact by the helmet of a runner or a tackler against an opponent would not be deemed a foul.”
Further changed was a rule regarding the illegal use of a challenge flag by head coaches, which will tie the challenging of plays to timeouts.
“Under the new rule, every time a coach initiates a replay, his team will be charged a timeout,” writes Bradley. “If a play is challenged illegally, the team will lose a timeout — even if the challenge is successful. If a team is out of timeouts, it will be penalized 15 yards, but the play will still be reviewed.”