Here we are for round 2 of Unhealthy Addiction and this week I have a major bone to pick with the proprietors of our great sport. As previously posted by Sander, the NFL owners met, and voted to enact some rule changes on the football field. These changes were previously presented at the owner’s meetings in March however were tabled because some teams felt the wording of the original proposal was too vague. Now the owners have unanimously voted to pass 3 rule changes.
First the league expanded on the previous rules that protect defenseless players to those who are "clearly not a runner." Those players include placekickers and punters who are not attempting to make a tackle, quarterbacks following an interception or fumble and a player who is blocked from the blind side when the blocker is moving toward his own endline and approaches the player being blocked from behind or the side. Hits on those players are now forbidden. If the receiver or runner is able to avoid the impending contact from an opponent, however, that receiver or runner is no longer defenseless. Owners also voted to make it against the rules for a player to leave his feet prior to contact by springing forward or upward into an opponent or using any part of his helmet to make forcible contact against any part of his opponent's body. Last, a defender grazing a quarterback's head with hands, arms or any other part of the body will no longer result in a personal foul unless they are forcible blows. It is a judgment call by the referee to determine if the hit was a forcible blow.
I don’t know about anyone else but I take issue with all 3 of these rule changes.
First of all I’ll address the defender grazing the helmet of the quarterback. I like the thinking because it seems unfair to levy what could possibly be a game changing penalty for a graze of a quarterback’s helmet. That being said the reason we went away from differentiating between 5 and 15 yard facemask penalties is because we wanted more uniformity in the calls. A penalty is a penalty and that’s that. So I am having trouble comprehending why we’re now changing a rule to bring in a judgment call by a referee. Where will that line be for each referee? Will the line for each ref be different? If a defensive linemen jumps up to try to block a pass, if his hand comes down and hits the helmet of the QB will that be a penalty? Will the referee take the perspective that if the pass was completed the QB would have probably been hit 2x as hard on the helmet by his own teammates as the celebrated the pass and leave the call alone? No one yet knows but it sure will be interesting to find out.
Next I want to talk about players leaving their feet springing forward or upward into an opponent. This would seem greatly slanted against defensive players as I can’t think of many instances I've seen an offensive player leave his feet to level a defender. (Other than Hines Ward maybe) By enacting this rule the NFL is taking out some of the most exciting plays in the game. If you've heard the expression throwing the baby out with the bath water I think that applies in a big way here. I know the arguments for the rule. The James Harrison hit against the Browns WR Massaquoi will no doubt be filed under the how not to do it section in the league office, but I wonder if Polomalu would have been flagged for this hit on the Titan’s Chris Johnson. (The hit occurs around the 1 minute mark in the video) Under this new rule this hit is illegal as Polomalu left his feet and sprang forward into his opponent. I can’t speak for anyone else but if a player were flagged for that hit I would want to leave the stadium, turn off the TV or radio, and burn the NFL logo off of every piece of apparel I own. That play set the tone for the entire game for the Steelers. Imagine if a flag had been thrown and the Titans drive stays alive. I still think they probably had little or no chance to beat the Steelers but the complexion of that game would have been completely different all because of this silly rule.
Last is the defenseless player/crackback blocking rules. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong here but I believe football is played with 22 men on the field. Not 21. Not 20. On any given play there’s no telling where that play will go so how can you classify a player as defenseless as long as he’s not trying to make a tackle? What happens when the play is going away from the kicker or punter so an opponent passes on the opportunity to block him, then the flow of the play changes and the kicker or punter makes a touchdown saving tackle? Or even if that player did not make the tackle but just caused the runner to change course enough that another defender was able to chase him down is he a defenseless player then? There’s an old saying. It goes, "if you can’t stand the heat then get outta the kitchen!" If punters, kickers, and quarterbacks don’t want to be part of the 22 MEN on the field then maybe they should enroll in a knitting class.
Football is a violent sport. Taking hitting out of the game is like taking all the back row pieces out of a chess game. It makes it much easier and safer to play and also makes it much more boring and frustrating to watch and cheer for. What say you Bucs Nation? To hit or to 2 hand touch… That is the question!
Utterly Unsubstantiated Rumors Yet to be Started
- After hearing that the Buccaneers would not be going after a top tier free agent this year, Nnamdi Asomoi began a facebook campaign advocating Derrelle Revis as the league’s top corner.
- When asked about Jay Cutler’s body language Mike Ditka suggested that Cutler sign up for Dancing with the Stars.
- The real reason behind the "secret meeting" (which had to be the most highly publicized secret meeting ever) between the trade association and the owners was to draw attention so that the real negotiators representing their respective sides Terrell Owens and J-Lo could hammer out a deal elsewhere without interference from the media.
This week’s Buc Banter Quote comes from one of my all time favorite Buccaneers; Mr. August himself Earnest Graham. This quote just shows again how classy Earnest is and makes me love this guy that much more. This was his reply when asked about his role in the offense as being a fullback vs. a running back.
"Do I miss running the ball?" Graham said. "Yes, I missing running it."
"I'm getting in shape as normal now. I could be anything from a 215 pound halfback to 230 pound fullback. When we get back, I'll probably have an idea where I fit in. There is definitely value in being flexible, which I have been for most of my career."
Buc Blogging Entertainment
We didn’t have any nominations in this category however that’s ok. I found this little gem under Sander’s post about LGB. In response to Titankillah’s comment that our offensive line was "flimsy" we got a follow up on an expert in flimsy:
"What do you mean by flimsy"
It made me laugh!
This week I just want to say Yo Rah, can Graham get some more touches this year? All he does is everything and he does almost all of that pretty well. So Rah get him the ball a little!
You can e-mail with your nominations, comments, suggestions, etc, at email@example.com or catch me on Twitter @RyanSmith56