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NFL Rule Changes: “Safer” Isn’t Always Safer

March 23rd, 2013 at 9:30 AM
By Jen Polashock

Every year, just after the new NFL season begins, the league and owners meet several times to discuss rules, possible changes and the upcoming season. This is where more side frustration sets in, as mostly non-players vote on game matters.

'IMG_1604' photo (c) 2009, John Martinez Pavliga - license:

While the new change for running backs leading with the crown of their helmet is claimed as “not going affect many plays” by former New York Giants defensive coordinator (now Denver Broncos head coach) John Fox, it will.

"I think they are just trying to minimize those types of hits and penalize or even fine those hits that they deem not sportsmanlike," Fox said. "I don't think it will be a lot. It wasn't a lot in the research. I think it was about 35 plays in the entire season. You get back to how you officiate it. These officials get put in tough spots. So we'll see how that part goes."

Officiating has issues of their own and adding a rule that will be another subjective call (in most situations) will supplement them. Look for more time to be added to a three-plus hour game as the yellow laundry is sorted out.

The comeback from pro-rule backers is one of old school mentality. Unfortunately, the present day game is not that of the one from back in the day. How many running backs truly still use a Heisman-like stiff arm to break tackles? It’s rare in a game that is all about speed and stripping the rock from he who possesses it. Look for more fumbles from players that may make an attempt to change their game and heed the words of men old enough to remember using newspaper as “padding” under the uniforms.

In a game of yardage, these calls/penalties are going to become huge game-changers in close battles. Those slobberknocker competitions that come down to inches will now come down to yards and quite possibly a game in the loss column. While it isn’t this dramatic, it is a change that will affect outcomes. Every league rule change is. Just ask Oakland fans how ecstatic they are (well, as can be) over the un-levying of the “Tuck Rule.”

One last area that needs closer inspection is the fact that this is propelled forth as a result of alleged studies done on concussions, brain injury and other injury to players – partially by watching game tape. Skipping the fact that in a malicious game that’s played in the year 2013, injuries are most definitely going to happen; this new rule will not prevent harm. In fact, some believe different injuries can come about as a result. It’s normal human reactive behavior to guard oneself and make oneself a “smaller target” when an impact is inevitable. Put yourself in a situation where you are about to be “hit” – in a fight or a car accident, etc. It’s guaranteed that you put your arms up and head down to protect yourself. You brace yourself for impact and make yourself more compact. Holding your head up with at least an arm out will further the chances of a neck/spinal injury, a coup contrecoup-type brain injury and modify the injury list to have more tailbacks on it. Well, either that or they can run out-of-bounds or just surrender to the oncoming tackle … or as a few NFL players have come out and stated, they’ll just roll the proverbial dice and continue playing the way they’ve been their entire careers.

Again, not every running back will be so harshly affected and to reiterate: this won’t be as melodramatic as many recently hit with this rule change are acting. Realizing that each annual fluctuation in the rule books do indeed alter the sport itself, and not always for the better shall be discussed again at some point during the 2013 season … once a game (not necessarily a New York Giants game) has been decided due to one questionable flag thrown at a crucial moment during a possible game-winning drive. See ya' then!


Tags: Denver, Denver Broncos, Football, John Fox, New York, New York Giants, NFL

11 Responses to “NFL Rule Changes: “Safer” Isn’t Always Safer”

  1.  kujo says:

    The 2013 G101 Community Mock Off is officially ON! Send your 4-round mock drafts to mkier86 AT aol DOT com, along with your username. Results will be posted–and discussed–draft day!

  2.  Samardzija says:

    Sooo what has been more annoying? The whole “Is Cruz gonna be a Giant next year?” or “Are we getting the Saints first rounder?”

    Im leaning towards the latter for now, but the off season is still young

    •  kujo says:

      Dan is going to need to erect a new section in the G101 HoF for Most Obnoxious Offseason Question.

  3.  Kevros says:

    Brandon Myers played all last season with an injured shoulder…

    Blocking, which Myers said he and Pope “talked a lot about.” Myers admits that part of his game suffered after he sprained the AC joint in his left shoulder in training camp last year, resulting in him managing the injury all season. As he explains, “It’s never fun to go out there and try to block a 300-pound guy with basically one arm.”

  4.  Krow says:

    “The only thing I can think of that would be better than being able to win in New York would be to be able to win here in Atlanta,” Umenyiora said. “We’ll see how that plays out. Hopefully, it works out in a positive direction.”

    Yeah, too bad you were stuck on the Giants for all those long years when your heart was in Atlanta. It really must have sucked.

    •  Valid says:

      Why would the “only thing” that could be better than winning in NY be winning in Atlanta? So it wouldn’t be better to win in Seattle? Or Arizona? Or Oakland? Or any other city? Just Atlanta?

      And yeah; I guess it really must have burned Osi when he and the Giants beat the Falcons 24-2 in the 2011 playoffs.

  5.  GmenMania says:


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