NFL to consider proposed hip-drop tackle ban, rule changes for kickoff and more

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 11: A detail view of the NFL shield logo painted on the field before Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium on February 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

The NFL team owners are set to consider some rule changes. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

The NFL could look different next season thanks to a series of significant rule changes proposed by the league’s competition committee Wednesday.

The potential changes, which include an updated kickoff and a hip-drop tackle ban, will be considered by the 32 team owners at their annual league meeting next week.

Changes to the kickoff were proposed by a special teams working group in hopes of increasing return rates while minimizing concussions. It follows the XFL’s model and would present a major shift for the league. If approved by at least 25 team owners, the change would only last for a year.

Under the proposal, fair catches would no longer be allowed and touchbacks would be marked at the 35-yard line. Kickers would still start from the 35-yard line, while the 10 others would go to the receiving team’s 40-yard line. Meanwhile, a minimum of nine players from the returning team would be required to go to a “set-up zone” located between the 30-yard line and the 35. A maximum of two returners would line up at a designated “landing zone” between the goal line and the 20-yard line. Only the kicker and returners would be allowed to move before the ball touches the ground or a player inside the landing zone.

Officials would need to be alerted before an onside kick could be attempted, which rules out the idea of surprising an opponent. Players would arrange in the NFL’s traditional formation in that case.

This comes after the league was reported to be tinkering with onside kicks and considering bold rules to make kickoffs “exciting again” on March 3.

Banning the hip-drop tackle

The committee is looking to prohibit hip-drop tackles, as the technique has been linked to an increase in lower body injuries.

In the proposal’s wording, it will be a foul “if a player uses the following technique to bring a runner to the ground: (a) grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms.” The proposal also mentioned sanctions against a player who “unweights himself by swiveling and dropping his hips and/or lower body, landing on and trapping the runner’s leg(s) at or below the knee.”

Penalties would include a loss of 15 yards and an automatic first down. The NFLPA released a statement against the proposal via social media Wednesday afternoon, saying the rule would cause “confusion.”

Other proposals from the competition committee

  • Teams could be allowed to utilize a practice squad quarterback as an emergency No. 3 quarterback. As it stands now, quarterbacks need to have been part of the 53-man roster before being called up.

  • The league will also consider adding two options to the list of reviewable plays. Officials would be able to review whether a passer is out of bounds or down by contact before passing and if the game clock has expired before a snap.

  • Rules against crackback blocks could be expanded to players “who go in motion and move beyond the center to block a defender at or below the knee.”

League owners will also vote on various proposed changes from NFL teams, which notably included a different onside kick option from the Philadelphia Eagles. The Indianapolis Colts also suggested allowing coaches to challenge every foul that gets called on the field.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top