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New NFL rules for 2012


A number of playing-rules changes were approved by NFL clubs for the 2012 season. The primary focus of those changes was enhancing player safety.

“We want to make the game safer both for the player being tackled and the player making the tackle,” says NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations RAY ANDERSON (left). “We have no higher priority than player safety.”

Overtime procedures for the preseason and regular season were also adjusted (see page 71) to be in line with the modified sudden-death system that has been in use for the playoffs the past two seasons.

The 2012 rules changes and points of emphasis:

• UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS:
Two adjustments were made to the unnecessary roughness rule:
o Existing unnecessary roughness rules have been adjusted to expand protections for defensive players with regard to rackback blocks. All players who are protected from crackback blocks will now be considered defenseless players.

In addition to contact below the waist, it will be illegal to forcibly block these players in the head or neck area or make forcible contact with the crown or forehead hairline part of the helmet to any part of body. All unnecessary roughness violations will result in a 15-yard penalty.

o Protections for the recipients of blindside blocks have also been clarified. Prior to 2012, a blindside block occurred when the blocker was moving towards his own end line and approached his opponent from behind or from the side. Beginning this season, the definition has been expanded to include situations in which a blocker is moving parallel with his own end line.

• INSTANT REPLAY:
Only a replay official can initiate a review of certain turnovers, providing more flexibility to coaches in the use of their challenges while maintaining a healthy game pace. This applies if a play results in an interception, if a fumble or backward pass is recovered by an opponent or goes out of bounds through the end zone, or if a muffed scrimmage kick is recovered by the kicking team (successful onside kick).

“We actually think this change may end up being something that could save time,” says NFL Competition Committee Chairman and Atlanta Falcons President/CEO RICH MC KAY. “More turnovers could potentially be reviewed by the referee, but we will never have a situation in which we have a turnover, go to timeout, come back, the teams come to the line of scrimmage and then a coach challenges.”

• TOO MANY MEN IN THE FORMATION:
In the interest of competitive fairness, penalties for too many men in the formation have been changed to dead-ball fouls from live-ball infractions that did not prevent the snap. If a 12th player is not in the formation, game officials will permit the snap and the penalty will be enforced after the play. Violations of this rule result in five-yard penalties.

There will also be points of emphasis on several existing rules this season (although the rules themselves have not changed):

• All rules that encourage player safety will continue to be strictly enforced, including unnecessary roughness fouls resulting from blows to the head by offensive and defensive linemen during close line play, horse-collar tackles, roughing the passer and hits on defenseless receivers. The goal is to eliminate these tactics from the game.

Officials will also be instructed to pay close attention to situations in which a runner declares himself down by falling to the
ground or kneeling and making no effort to advance the ball, thereby ending the play. A runner who goes to the ground untouched will be considered to have declared himself down if he does not make an immediate attempt to advance. If a runner makes an immediate effort to advance the ball, play will be allowed to continue.

Posted by Necesitamos Mas Football on 12:55. Filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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