PHOENIX (AP/CBSDFW.COM) – NFL owners have passed a player safety rule barring ball carriers from using the crown of their helmets to make contact with a defender in the open field.
Several coaches and team executives expressed concern about officiating the new rule, but Commissioner Roger Goodell championed it and it passed Wednesday as the owners meetings concluded.
Former Cowboys RB Emmitt Smith commented on the proposed rule change last week on 105.3 The Fan saying, “As a running back, it’s almost impossible (to not lower your head). The first thing you do is get behind your shoulder pads. That means you’re leaning forward and the first part of contact that’s going to take place is your head, regardless.”
Smith continued, “I disagree with the rule altogether. It doesn’t make any sense for that position. It sounds like it’s been made up by people who have never played the game of football. If I’m a running back and I’m running into a linebacker, you’re telling me I have to keep my head up so he can take my chin off? You’ve absolutely lost your mind.’’
The tuck rule, one of the most criticized rules in pro football, was eliminated. Now, if a quarterback loses control of the ball before he has fully protected it after opting not to throw, it is a fumble.
Video review now will be allowed on plays when a coach challenges even though he is not allowed to. But the coach will be penalized or lose a timeout, depending on when he threw the challenge flag.
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