Prepare for a season of discombobulated looks from Seattle fans- and pure unadulterated glee from Bucs and Bears fans- The NFL announced recently that there will be an added emphasis on Illegal Contact calls. This rule emphasis is a serious detriment to the more physical secondaries and a huge asset to big WR’s and the QB’s throwing them the ball.
They want the offensive player to be able to “Run Free”. That’s how longtime NFL official Alberto Riveron described the NFL’s new emphasis on illegal contact and defensive holding. Defenders can be physical with a receiver in the first 5 yards, Riveron said, but they must let the receiver “run free” after that.
The NFL released a statement saying that they feel the officials have become too lax with calling this particular penalty counting 38 instances a flag was thrown for illegal contact this past season, the last time they did a study on this in 2009 the number was 131.
Among other rules changes:
• The NFL will experiment with attempting extra points from the 15-yard line for the first two weeks of the preseason.
• Offensive blockers will not be allowed to “roll up” on the legs of a defender from the back or side.
•Free Safties are now to be positioned behind the cheerleaders to allow for easier 9 routes for Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas.
• The use of abusive, threatening or insulting language, including “racial slurs, comments regarding sexual orientation or other verbal abuse” will result in a 15-yard penalty and potential further discipline from the league.
•Talking above a quaint whisper on the sideline will result in a 5 yard penalty and automatic touchdown for the opposing team.
• Illegal hands to the face between offensive and defensive linemen will be expanded to include any “direct or forcible contact” to the head, neck or face.
This clearly is one of those rule changes that only comes into conversation if one team or player is becoming too dominant. During last season Seattle became that dominant team after ending the regular season with a 14-2 record and crushing their way through the playoffs. Everything culminated with that drubbing of a performance in the Super Bowl. In a way, Seattle should feel honored that the league is creating rules just to slight them, on the other hand they are still being slighted. My friend Farrell likes to talk about the “Sissification of America”, unfortunately that is bleeding over in to our precious combat sports as well. Welcome to the new NFL. – Glass