Flagrant Fouls

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Reaction to NFL rule changes.

The most recent NFL owners meetings has brought quite a bit of change to the NFL, from player safety, to instant replay, the Draft, and even word that the season is likely to grow to 18 games sometime in the near future.

As a hardcore NFL fan I must state that I am extremely grateful to the NFL Network “Every day is like Sunday” as I am one of the few that enjoys Jeff Fisher and Rich Mckays annual competition committee press conference and the actual footage of the votes taking place among NFL owners and management.

I am in favor of all but one rule change . . .

A defender who is knocked to the ground can no longer lunge “shoot” himself into the quarterbacks as the play is still going on. If you recall it is this type of motion by Bernard Pollard that ended Tom Brady’s season in week 1 last year.

I have a serious problem with this rule, while I respect the need to protect the Quarterback it gets to a point where enough is enough. So a defender who is knocked to the ground is essentially out of the play until he stands upright (wrapping your arms around a QB’s legs will not allow you to sack him before he is able to get rid of the football).
Just getting to the Quarterback is hard enough for a defensive lineman, so now not only do they have to break the blocks of 300+ pound guards and tackles they must remain on there feet to lay a blow on the quarterback because if they are able to get by say a Joe Thomas but in doing so have fallen to the ground, they are a meaningless defender until upright again. I feel this rule is going to far to protect the Qb’s and also puts the offensive lineman at a great advantage in the one on one match up.

Now onto the rules that many NFL are happy to see changed . . .

Firstly, what will be known as the “Hochuli Rule” as a result of last season week 2 game between San Diego and Denver. Hochuli ruled Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler to have thrown an incomplete pass in the dying moments of the game, replays showed that Cutler had fumbled the ball and that the Chargers recovered but the play wasn’t allowed to be reviewed because Hochuli blew the whistle, Denver kept the ball and won on the games last seconds.

Now such play is reviewable.

This rule is much like the down by contact/fumble rule that was changed a season or two ago. Where a ref blows the whistle for a ball carrier being down by contact can now be reviewed to see if the player lost possession before being down by contact.

My one concern with the rule is that players are trained to STOP once hearing the whistle, now a player knows that he can play through a whistle because it might be deemed a meaningless whistle after a review so I still need to recover the football, serious injuries can occur when players are playing through the whistle.

The next rule involves the NFL draft order. Starting in 2010 postseason results will have a greater impact when it comes to the draft order. All 12 teams that make the post season will be drafting 21 through 32, teams eliminated wild card weekend will draft #’s 21,22,23, &24, teams that lose divisional weekend will draft 25,26,27, &28, conference final losers will draft 29, &30 and the super bowl winner and runner up will draft 31 &32. Previous to the rule changes only the Super Bowl winner and loser draft position would be based on post season performance.

This rule was fast tracked through because the Chargers, who won the AFC West (all be it at 8-8) and beat the Colts in a wild card playoff game will be drafting at #16 while teams that didn’t make the post season such as the Jets, Bucs, Bears, & Cowboys (who’s pick is owned by Detroit) all draft after the Chargers and the Colts whom the Chargers lost to in the playoffs will be drafting #27.

The rule does make a lot of sense, teams that don’t qualify for the post season shouldn’t be drafting behind teams that did regardless of record, and once if the playoffs you will not draft behind teams that advance farther then you in the post season.

Lastly onto the rumored games increase, shockingly I am against it which is a bit of a surprise even to me, I am not the type to say no to more NFL football but I love the system as it is currently set up , and one most consider the quality of play as more players will be dealing with serious and nagging injuries that would affect the on field product, such a rule would have to come with extending the NFL rosters from 53 to around 58-60 so that would also dilute the talent in the league.

Tell me how you feel about the new NFL rules and keep an eye for my NFL draft blogs as I attempt to predict all 32 first round picks.

Geoff Fienberg

Posted 1 day, 16 hours ago at 8:55 PM.