Competition Committee wants to stop open-field helmet hits
March 14, 2013
The NFL Competition Committee wants open-field football to be completely different next season.
The group has proposed to the owners that ball-carriers or defenders who lower their heads to gain yards or to make a tackle should receive a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness.
It’s one of three player safety proposals the group will make at the NFL owners meeting in Phoenix next week.
The committee, which announced the proposals in a conference call Thursday, will also advise doing away with the “peel-back block” inside the tackle box and overloading one side of the defensive line during a PAT or field-goal attempt.
Either of these violations would also result in a 15-yard penalty.
These, along with three other rule changes, would have to be approved by the owners. However, that group usually rubber-stamps proposals by the committee.
Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson and St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher explained the proposals. They said they met for 12 days during the offseason discussing possible rule changes and talking to players, coaches and referees.
The open-field helmet rule gained the most attention, with McKay saying “it was one of the first of its kind to regulate play in open space.” The key to the rule is that both players must be outside the tackle box, he said.