Force-out rule gets forced out
Posted Apr. 02 at 02:50 AM
Some new rules passed at the owners meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., today.
Most significantly, the force out rule is gone. So if a receiver in the back of the end zone catches the ball but gets pushed out of bounds before he touches both feet inbounds, it’s no touchdown.
The elimination of the force-out rule could eliminate about a dozen TD passes per year – particularly if defensive backs get better at pushing guys out of bounds before they can complete receptions. (I haven’t seen the fine print of the rule yet, so I don’t know if it will be a reception if a receiver catches the ball between the hashmarks but gets carried 20 yards and thrown out of bounds). I think this rule will change the way some defensive backs play on those high fade routes into the back corners of the end zone.
The other rules changes aren’t as exciting. Field goals can now be reviewed with instant replay. That one was sparked by the Phil Dawson in-and-out kick that bounced off the support stancion in Baltimore. But I figure that, at most, you’ll see maybe one field goal in the next 20 years actually go under review.
Also: teams can now defer their choice on kickoffs (yawn), facemask penalties have been streamlined (yawn), and some errant direct snaps will now be considered fumbles (zzzzz).
John Clayton has the whole rundown
right here at ESPN.com.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Apr. 02 at 09:58 AM
After all the rules the NFL has made over the years to help offenses and increase scoring, now they come up with this thing which will (my guess) dramatically reduce the number of leaping end-zone and sideline grabs. I think defenders will play things differently. Why leap and try to break up the pass when you can stay on your feet, let the guy catch the ball, and shove him out while he's in the air? Reducing the amount of judgment calls officials have to make is a desirable goal, but I have a feeling we'll see a lot more plays that we wish were touchdowns than plays in the past where we thought the guy would never have come down in bounds.
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