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Old 03-19-2009, 10:17 PM    (permalink
Mr. Stiller
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Default The New "Hines Ward" rule

Ward's hit may bring change
Blindside blocks could draw flag

Thursday, March 19, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The NFL changed a rule more than 30 years ago that became known as the Mel Blount Rule, and now Hines Ward might have one to call his own as well.

A rule to eliminate a blindside block to the head of a defender will be proposed at the league meetings, which begin Sunday in Dana Point, Calif.

Those proposing the rule acknowledged yesterday that Ward's block in October, which broke the jaw of rookie Cincinnati linebacker Keith Rivers, was among the plays reviewed when they drew it up.

"It's one of several plays we looked at, that's correct," said Ray Anderson, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations. "Under this year's rules, that was a legal hit but we're trying to advance our player safety ... and that would be a flag play."

By that, Anderson meant that the hit raised a flag as to the new rules proposal, and even after viewing it on film they were not sure if Ward's would be a legal hit or not if the new rule passes.

The proposal, according to Anderson and competition committee co-chair Rich McKay, is to try to eliminate or penalize any helmet-to-helmet contact that occurs on a blindside block.

"We have people downfield -- tight ends, receivers or even linemen -- who head back to the line of scrimmage [to throw a block]," McKay said. "We're trying to protect that defender and so that you cannot block that defender in the head. We'd rather have the blocker attempt the block in the chest area, anywhere but the head."

It's not clear even by watching the video, the two NFL officials said, whether Ward's block was with his helmet or shoulder.

"I think there was some debate there," Anderson said. "Some of our eyes may have seen helmet to helmet, some may have seen shoulder to helmet."

Ward was neither penalized nor fined for the hit on Rivers.

"Certainly Hines' was one that was perfectly legal last year," Anderson said, "but as Rich said, the result of those types of hits led to the conclusion that for safety's sake, we want to eliminate those types of blindside hits if you will."

The NFL passed new rules in 1978 that benefited the passing game. Perhaps the major change was the one that become known as the "Mel Blount Rule" because defenders no longer could bump a receiver 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Previously, they could bump a receiver anywhere until the ball was in the air. Blount, a Steelers Hall of Fame cornerback, used his 6-foot-3, 205-pound size to overwhelm receivers before a pass was thrown.

McKay acknowledged that the competition committee focused on player safety when they came up with four of their seven rules proposals for the owners to consider next week. Another Steelers player might have helped inspire one of them.

Ryan Clark had celebrated hits on New England wide receiver Wes Welker and Baltimore running back Willis McGahee last season, which were decried by many but declared legal and never drew fines. Those might fall in a gray area if Rule Proposal No. 4 passes next week.

"In 1995, we passed a rule that allowed there to be protection for a defenseless receiver in the air, helmet to helmet," McKay said.

The new rule would expand that to include a hit with a forearm or shoulder to the head until the receiver has two feet on the ground.

"There were an awful lot of hits in the last couple of years that have been legal but very tough on the players," McKay said. "We're trying to expand that protection."

While Clark's hits came with his shoulder to the head, both receivers had their feet on the ground at the time, so that type of hit still might be legal if the new rule passes.

Other safety rules proposals involve the elimination of the "bunching" of players on onside kicks and limiting the number of players who can be used in a "wedge" on kickoff returns to two.

Some other minor rules adjustments will be considered, including a small expansion of plays that can be reviewed by replay. The owners also will continue to discuss expanding the regular season to 17 or 18 games but no decision can be made on that. The NFL Players Association would have to agree to such an expansion and that likely will be among the debates when the sides begin labor negotiations.

There is a proposal to change the draft order of teams involved in the playoffs, but there is little sentiment by players or club officials to change the NFL's overtime rules, the two league officials said yesterday.
Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.




Anyone else ready to break out the flags?
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:29 PM    (permalink
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I love ward and those kind of hits. Sure players get injured by them, thats why it is a contact sport. If you don't want to get tough contact play Golf.
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:29 PM    (permalink
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Sounds like a good move. It's not really need in the game. And people get hurt by it.
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:38 PM    (permalink
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FML. 10 characters
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:40 PM    (permalink
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No way. A rule change helping defensive players?!?
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:41 PM    (permalink
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No way. A rule change helping defensive players?!?
yeah this doesnt make any sense at all
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:42 PM    (permalink
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Sounds like a good move. It's not really need in the game. And people get hurt by it.
Really? Blindside blocks aren't needed in the game? People watch football for the big hits. Hell, I am speaking as a defender. Get hit like that once and you will get your head on a swivel from there on out.

I have absolutely no problem with those blocks. The defenseless receiver is a different story, because he has to be looking for the ball in the air. A defender is supposed to keep his head on a swivel at all times.
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:57 PM    (permalink
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Really? Blindside blocks aren't needed in the game? People watch football for the big hits. Hell, I am speaking as a defender. Get hit like that once and you will get your head on a swivel from there on out.

I have absolutely no problem with those blocks. The defenseless receiver is a different story, because he has to be looking for the ball in the air. A defender is supposed to keep his head on a swivel at all times.

It is only legal to touch the reciever once the ball has been touched, so in most situations he isnt looking for the ball anymore.... Why shouldnt recievers have to keep their heads on a swivel? Defenders have to watch the ball carrier and avoid blocks, recievers should have to watch the ball and avoid hits....
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:59 PM    (permalink
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I hate it. The NFL is becoming a pussies only league.

This is football, not soccer folks. Anything other than blatant attempts to hurt someone (ex diving at knees unnecessarily, leading helmet first, etc) should be just fine.

But, this is the age we live in.....I guess it was inevitable.
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:02 PM    (permalink
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I hate it. The NFL is becoming a pussies only league.

This is football, not soccer folks. Anything other than blatant attempts to hurt someone (ex diving at knees unnecessarily, leading helmet first, etc) should be just fine.

But, this is the age we live in.....I guess it was inevitable.
Down with Goodell!!!
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:28 PM    (permalink
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Just to clarify the article discusses the banning of blindside blocks to the head. I think in today's game this is completely warranted and doesn't diminish the "toughness" of the game in any way.

I am a firm believer in the supposition that the NFL is becoming softer and softer, but this rule change would prevent a lot of unnecessary injuries. A devestating blindside block can still be performed without aiming at the player's head, the same way that we are able to have intimidating hits without the dangerous necktie tackles.
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:32 PM    (permalink
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Clean.
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:34 PM    (permalink
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It is only legal to touch the reciever once the ball has been touched, so in most situations he isnt looking for the ball anymore.... Why shouldnt recievers have to keep their heads on a swivel? Defenders have to watch the ball carrier and avoid blocks, recievers should have to watch the ball and avoid hits....
It also used to be legal to hit them after the ball had passed. But it didn't have to be past by much, just slightly over his head.

Have you ever tried to catch a ball while looking at a defensive back? A thrown ball moves much, much, much faster than a running back. Those are completely different situations.

I find it hard to believe I am arguing against for something that will help the defense, considering I was a defensive player during most of my playing years, and I think a well fought defensive battle is as entertaining, if not more so than a high scoring shootout.
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:39 PM    (permalink
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Clean.
Yeah he used his shoulder so I don't think that would get banned.
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Old 03-20-2009, 12:58 AM    (permalink
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The hit by Hines was totally legal injuries are part of the game.
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:14 AM    (permalink
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Yeah he used his shoulder so I don't think that would get banned.
It has been illegal to lead with the helmet for a very long time. The rule change is aiming at the head, not using yours.
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:29 AM    (permalink
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Pussification of the nfl continues.
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:30 AM    (permalink
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It has been illegal to lead with the helmet for a very long time. The rule change is aiming at the head, not using yours.
From the GIF it still looks as though he hits his upper chest. But I don't remember the hit or can find it anywhere else so I can't be sure.
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:36 AM    (permalink
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I hate it. The NFL is becoming a pussies only league.

This is football, not soccer folks. Anything other than blatant attempts to hurt someone (ex diving at knees unnecessarily, leading helmet first, etc) should be just fine.

But, this is the age we live in.....I guess it was inevitable.
Hey Dick Butkus, how the hell is a blindside blow to the head not a blatant attempt to hurt someone?
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:46 AM    (permalink
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Really? Blindside blocks aren't needed in the game? People watch football for the big hits. Hell, I am speaking as a defender. Get hit like that once and you will get your head on a swivel from there on out.

I have absolutely no problem with those blocks. The defenseless receiver is a different story, because he has to be looking for the ball in the air. A defender is supposed to keep his head on a swivel at all times.
It's blindside blocks to the head. Not in general.
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:50 AM    (permalink
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I approve of this. Blindside blocks to the head are unnecessary. Just lead with your shoulder. There's no reason that offensive players shouldn't be held to the same standards that their counterparts on the defense are held to.
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Old 03-20-2009, 02:01 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by Paranoidmoonduck View Post
I approve of this. Blindside blocks to the head are unnecessary. Just lead with your shoulder. There's no reason that offensive players shouldn't be held to the same standards that their counterparts on the defense are held to.
Leading with the helmet or shoulder is not the issue here. Leading with the helmet has been banned for a while, on either side of the ball. It is where the block is targeted. I don't think offensive or defensive players should have to avoid hitting someone on the helmet with their shoulder.
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Old 03-20-2009, 02:15 AM    (permalink
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My issue with this?

It's a judgement call. Refs are going to have to make this call split decision ON THE FIELD.

They even said they still believe that Hines was a clean shot but it's hard to tell.. and they've had 6-8 Months and video replay and they're still unsure.

I want the rules more cut and dry... less of a way to have refs use their judgement when they might have been screened.
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Old 03-20-2009, 02:32 AM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Legend View Post
Sounds like a good move. It's not really need in the game. And people get hurt by it.
What are you talking about? Not needed? Yea that makes sense. So on a crucial block to spring an RB, lets have players wait till the others are looking... please.

This is football, if its not helmet to helmet, it's legal and should stay that way.
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Old 03-20-2009, 02:33 AM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paranoidmoonduck View Post
I approve of this. Blindside blocks to the head are unnecessary. Just lead with your shoulder. There's no reason that offensive players shouldn't be held to the same standards that their counterparts on the defense are held to.

I think they are talking about blindsided blocks all together. Leadaing with your head is still a penalty.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNIPER26 View Post
LaMarr Woodley, Norse God of Thunder/Baby Jesus/Killer of all things QB, set an NFL record by getting multiple sacks in three consecutive playoff games. Don't **** with LaMarr.
Pittsburgh Steelers....6 Time Champs!
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