The NFL has added, removed, and changed some rules that will make a big impact next season. As expected, all of these will attempt to improve player safety, something heavily talked about last season. “Launching” at players (leaving feet prior to contact) will now be penalized/fined. Also, The defenseless receiver rule has been redefined. Now, the referee must judge whether or not the ball carrier has the ability to avoid contact. If they are unable to and the player is still hit, there will be an unnecessary roughness penalty as well as possible fines. Before, a player with control of the ball and both feet on the ground was considered no longer defenseless. The last rule change is one that many people were waiting for. Now, simply grazing the quarterbacks helmet will not result in a penalty as it used to. If it is unintentional than it will not be called.
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NFL Total Access discussed the changes and what else they can do to increase player safety. Because of so many situations being unpredictable, I agree with having the referees make more judgements rather than following a rule book verbatim. Many of the controversial hits last year were either penalized when they shouldn’t have been or weren’t called when they actually were illegal. With refs given more freedom to call it as it is, penalties should become more logical and less erroneous. Hopefully these rule changes will maximize player safety without butchering the game as we know and love it.
Have your own thoughts? Please share them in the comments below.