The NFL has amended its regulations to protect the well-being of its players, but how have these changes affected the game?
The road to this year’s Super Bowl LII on September 6, was a showdown between current champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. But with this season opener, came some important changes to the NFL’s on-field regulations.
According to the NFL, the most recent changes to the rules of the game address the need to “protect players from unnecessary risks, while keeping the game fair, competitive and exciting.” The decision was made in May by the NFL Competition Committee, after receiving recommendations from coaches, general managers, owners, players, and medical personnel. These new regulations were implemented preseason.
According to Fantasy Sports groups on playinglegal.com, these new rules have not sat well with all fans. Some are not so pleased with reducing the possibility of impact and aggression of a match. Below are the five new rules in NFL as of 2018.
Use of the Helmet
The new NFL helmet rule was passed after the NFL medical team presented the club owners with this proposal, in an effort to reduce player injuries from severe impacts with the helmet. It is to protect both the hitter and receiver. It can cost the committing team up to 15 yards for the foul and could cause the player to be sent off.
It is a foul if a player lowers his head to start and make contact using his own helmet against an opposing player. Regardless of whether it is defensive or offensive, every player will be subject to this rule. Nor does it matter to which part of the opponent’s body the helmet contacts. The player who commits the foul could be ejected from the field if:
– He positions his helmet before making a move to initiate the contact
– The contact was avoidable
– There was no block in the player’s path to his opponent
The changes in the kickoff are so complicated that the NFL had to make a video to explain them. The idea is to reduce the impact between players and protect them from intense blocks.
For the initial kick, the kicking team must have five players on each side of the ball and this formation should not be placed more than one yard behind the ball. In addition, at least two players must be lined up outside the yard-line number and two players between the inbounds lines and the yard-line number.
The formation of the receiving team for the kickoff changes in several ways, some less significant than others. Leaving a space of 15 yards between the ball and the start of their training area, the receiving team must place at least eight players in a space of 15 yards. Only three players of the receiving team may be outside that area. It is prohibited for two or more players to line up shoulder to shoulder within two yards of each other and intentionally advance together to block the runner. No Wedge blocks are permitted.
No player of any team may block in a space of 15 yards in front of the ball until it touches the floor. If the receiving team does not touch the ball and it touches the floor in the end zone, it is a dead ball.
If your team has ever suffered from a simple catch, you will like this rule. The NFL simplifies the determination of a complete pass into three requirements. Players must have:
1. Control of the ball
2. Have both feet or any other part of the body on the ground
3. Make “a football movement”, which is, have the ability to make a step/move to gain yards.
It will still be considered a full pass unless the ball touches the ground before regaining control or if it’s out of bounds. Additionally, the receiver is defenseless until he recovers the ability to evade or avoid an opponent’s contact.
Betting and Illegal Kicking of the Ball
Illegal contact with the ball will be considered when a player hits or kicks a loose ball towards his opponent’s goal line. It will also be illegal if a player hits a loose ball that has touched the ground in any direction, if they are in either of the two scoring zones. No player may deliberately kick a loose ball or one that’s in the possession of another player.
National Anthem of the United States
Colin Kaepernick practically lost his career in the NFL as an apparent consequence of his political activism. Since the 2016 preseason, many players have protested during the National Anthem of each game against police violence in the United States. This situation has resulted in constant attacks by President Donald Trump against the league, as well as claims by spectators against their teams and debates between the owners of the teams and their players.
Last May, the NFL approved a rule that allows players not to be present on the field when the National Anthem of the United States is sung (so their protest will not be visible). The rule has not yet come into force and we still do not know what the NFL will do to please its players, patriotic audiences and the president of the United States.