In their continuing efforts to make the game of football safer for all those involved, the NFL will consider banning all blocks below the waist beginning as early as the 2013 season. The review of the current rule has been brought on by the increasing use of cut or chop blocks league-wide as offenses adapt and evolve around zone blocking schemes.
More than one member of the New York Giants defensive line has spoken out in support of this review, with defensive end Osi Umenyiora saying it is "imperative" that the NFL ban the use of cut/chop blocks.
"I don't understand for the life of me why that block is still allowed right now," Umenyiora said. "I understand you want to slow some people down, but people are tearing their ACLs, getting hurt and maimed out there. It's not like our legs are any less valuable than a quarterback or an offensive player so why not protect us also. You can't even touch a quarterback now without it being a fine and $50,000 coming out of your pocket but it's OK for them to cut me and tear my ACL and ruin my career and eliminate the ability to put food in my family's mouth. I don't think it's right at all."
In an ever-changing game, the elimination of cut/chop blocks would dramatically alter the way an offense functions. However, because the league has made it a point to increase player safety, issues like this have snowballed. And whether or not these new rules are good for the game from a marketing perspective, players like Umenyiora have a point. When everyone else is being protected, why not the defenders who are constantly having their legs taken out?
"You see the guys who do it with malicious intent and then you see the guys who just do it to try to slow you down. Those guys who do it with malicious intent are usually the less skilled players, the guys that aren't really good football players. They have to use something to their advantage and they have to use that. There's really no need for that in our game," Umenyiora added.
More than being held, many of the Giants' front seven have shared words with officials this year over cut/chop blocks. In fact, it has gotten to the point where Jason Pierre-Paul is having his legs taken out from under him on nearly every single play.
As it stands now, these blocks are only illegal if the defender is already engaged with another player. And although it's unlikely that the NFL will (or even can, for the sake of the game) overhaul this rule, it may be altered to the point where block at the knees or below are outlawed, and all low downfield blocks are also outlawed.
Also…Football, Jason Pierre-Paul, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora