The NFL, is very concerned with player safety. So concerned in fact, that are rewriting the rules. Gone are the days of Jacked Up.
Today, these players would be fined roughly the Gross GDP of Tonga
Receivers are given free reign to catch. You can no longer commit felonious battery as they cut across the middle. A defender can not lead with the crown of their helmet, turning themselves into a missile.
You can no longer powerbomb a receiver.
That would have put King Harley Race down for the count.
QB’s Can not be hit by a downed defender, around the knees, around the ankles, above the neck, in the back, in locker room, in your dreams, when they slide, when they are in the process of sliding or when they are thinking about sliding.
So, when the NFL announced its rules for defending the Read Option, it made no friggin’ sense.
Dean Blandino, NFL’s VP of Officiating said
“When the quarterback puts the ball in the running back’s belly, the referee doesn’t know who has the football, the defender doesn’t know who has the football, so if it’s a bang-bang split second, then yes, he can hit the quarterback. But if the quarterback has clearly handed off the football, and he’s standing still, or fading backwards, he cannot be unnecessarily contacted, and that doesn’t matter if it’s a read-option quarterback or a classic drop-back quarterback. If they’re standing still or fading backward after the ball has left their hand, they cannot be unnecessarily contacted.”
A Bang-Bang split second play means it’s ok to attempt to sterilize the quarterback?
But when a wide receiver catches the ball and sees a safety coming, ducks his head to protect himself, and the safety, unable to contort himself in the .8 milliseconds before contact hits him in the helmet, that’s going to worth $25 grand?
Most importantly, when exactly does this rule take effect and not take effect?
If Peyton Manning is handing off, can he be obliterated like a running back?
No? Because he’s not running the Read-Option? Oh, sure that makes sense.
See, you can create a rule for only certain people, to be enforced at only certain times, and only if they are running a certain offensive scheme.
FortyNiners Head coach and not at all Type A Psychopath Jim Harbaugh had a little to say:
“I’m not advocating that they don’t hit the quarterback if he has the ball, but if he’s in the pocket I believe there should be a strike zone. Same strike zone that is given to the quarterback when he’s in the pocket and throwing the ball. I feel like you give a license now to players to hit quarterbacks at the knee or in the head.”
He’s right. Blandino has screwed the pooch on this.
In essence, the NFL has put a bounty out on certain quarterbacks.
If I’m a linebacker, I’ll take a clean shot a quarterback, and maybe even at his legs, just like a running back, since I CAN!
There are only 32 people on the planet with the skills to be an NFL starting quarterback.
And Half of them aren’t good at it.
So if I can get a clean shot at Russell Wilson, make him miss a few plays, or series, or games. I’m taking it. Especially because he’s not afforded the same protections as Tom Brady.
What does “CLEARLY HANDED THE BALL OFF” mean? Especially when the point of the Read Option is that you don’t know what the quarterback has decided to do.
You think you can stop 250 pounds of force in half a second, while trying to avoid and see around a 6 and a half foot tall wall of meat because you can’t tell if Colin Kaepernick has actually handed the ball off?
Are the QB’s supposed to throw their empty hands up?
And how the hell are they going to stand still?
There are ways around this. A strike zone for QB’s in the pocket, is a starter (and possibly something that’s coming to the game on a whole…but that’s another article)
It’s dumb, short-sighted, and going to put some of the most exciting players in the game in harms way.