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NFL 2018 Season - Understanding New Rules Changes

Read Sport logo Read Sport 15/07/2018 Robert Williams
Wild Card Round - Atlanta Falcons v Los Angeles Rams © Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images Sport Wild Card Round - Atlanta Falcons v Los Angeles Rams

National Football League (NFL) has recently come up with new rules to govern the players and teams during NFL games. These rules will be a complete change in some play tactics and ethics and the players are going to have to undergo training for these rules. The newly introduced four rule changes not only getting implemented, but there will be penalties to make sure they are followed:

1. The Helmet Rule

In the past, the spearing technique for tackling had been used where the players would make head to head contact in order to gain as many yards as possible. Now, it will be considered a foul if a player lowers his head to make contact using his helmet against an opponent. In fact, if a player is just lowering his head prior to initiating contact, or had an unobstructed path to his opponent, or if the player had other options and contact was avoidable; then he faces ejection.

It is an improvement on player safety in an attempt to avoid cases of concussions and this also applies to use the helmet to hit a defender in the chest.

2. The National Anthem

We have seen some players kneel during the national anthem as a way to protest, but now the players and personnel will be required to stand during the recitation of the anthem. And, for those who don’t wish to do that the option is available that they can stay in the locker rooms. In as much as it is imperative to show that respect, still, there is a free choice in a democratic country.

3. Kickoffs

Kickoffs have actually been neutered or removed and will be subjected to a set of rules that both teams have to follow. These rules are:

  • • 5 players on each side of the ball.
  • • No running start
  • • At least two players outside numbers
  • • At least two players between numbers and hash
  • • At least 8 players in 15-yard setup zone
  • • Only 3 players can remain outside
  • • NO BLOCKING ZONE prior to the ball hitting the ground or being touched

4. Clearing Snow!

This is rather unusual, but the NFL has decreed that sideline personnel are not allowed to clear the field of snow even if that meant facilitating the game. This also applies to non-players, ground crew, or other team personnel. Not only that, violating this rule will invite a 15-yard penalty in the upcoming NFL season. This new rule was influenced by the incident during the last season’s game played by the Indianapolis Colts and the Buffalo Bills.

Perhaps the National Football League is making an effort to see that the game has more friendly tactics and displays less violence, but is it still going to retain the flavor of American football that its fans have been used to, or will these changes create a game we will be unable to really enjoy? since American Football has never been a safe game and may never be. Safety versus a good old game with all the excitement it portrays – that is certainly a debate worth having.


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