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Final Super Bowl drive triggers proposed rule change

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In the days after Super Bowl XLVI, we pointed out that the final New England drive included a play that featured too many defensive players on the field.  The Patriots got a free play and, ultimately, five yards of field position.  But time was of the essence, and the Patriots lost precious seconds that weren’t put back on the clock.

It appeared that Giants coach Tom Coughlin had stumbled onto an effective late-game defensive tactic.  On further review, the Giants didn’t keep an extra guy on the field for strategic reasons, deliberately using an extra man and realizing that the five yards the Pats would pick up were meaningless.  Still, the situation flagged a potential loophole that could be utilized any time a team is both defending the goal line and milking the clock.

The Competition Committee noticed, and it has proposed an adjustment to the rules that would mirror the college version.  If the defense is lined up with an extra man (or men) and the snap is imminent, the officials will blow the whistle and award five yards, before the play begins.  If, on the other hand, the extra player(s) are merely trying to get off the field, the play will proceed and a penalty will be called.

Curiously, the situation in Super Bowl XLVI involved an extra Giants player trying to get off the field.  The same outcome would apply under the old rule or the new rule (if the new rule is passed).  And so, for the first time that we can remember, a unique situation on a big stage has sparked a change in the rules that wouldn’t apply if that same situation ever happens again, but only to a different situation.

There’s nothing different about me pushing chunks of PFT Live.  Here’s Competition Committee chairman (and Falcons president/CEO) Rich McKay talking about the situation on Thursday’s show.

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51 Responses to “Final Super Bowl drive triggers proposed rule change”
  1. coutre says: Mar 23, 2012 3:33 PM

    Giants: 2012 Super Bowl Champs*

  2. bischof21 says: Mar 23, 2012 3:39 PM

    Another patriots rule

  3. bearsstillsuck says: Mar 23, 2012 3:43 PM

    I’d be shocked if it was by accident. Just like their injuries to stop the clock werent on purpose.

  4. pfthatesonme says: Mar 23, 2012 3:47 PM

    Tom Coughlin = GENIUS
    Bill Belichik = FRAUD-CHEATER

    All other NFL teams with a Super Bowl title = Legit

    Patriots Super Bowl wins = Illegitimate

  5. murphintampa says: Mar 23, 2012 3:48 PM

    Let’s get this out of the way quickly: anyone using asterisks or going with “Giants cheated!” takes are ignorant a-holes who are consciously ignoring what actually happened in order to express their pathetic bitterness about losing. The Patriots were also called for 12 men in the SB and cost themselves a huge turnover because they stupidly lined up with 12 men. The Giants, on the other hand, did not line up with 12 men, and there were only 11 defenders on the field during the play in question.

  6. patsfanva says: Mar 23, 2012 3:48 PM

    So let’s put 14 guys on the field, have them attempt to run off before the snap and then turn back onto the field when it’s snapped… Loop hole still intact.

  7. bluefan204 says: Mar 23, 2012 3:59 PM

    coutre says: Mar 23, 2012 3:33 PM

    Giants: 2012 Super Bowl Champs*

    Oh look, another bitter Pats fan.

    Actually, I take that back. Could be a fan of ANY NFL team. The bitterness is widespread, but by all means, keep it up, and choke on your asterisk

  8. tdk24 says: Mar 23, 2012 4:01 PM

    “coutre says:
    Mar 23, 2012 3:33 PM
    Giants: 2012 Super Bowl Champs*”

    Might as well put an * by every superbowl then, i can’t remember one having no controversy one way or the other.

  9. bencoates57 says: Mar 23, 2012 4:03 PM

    Now how about all the fake injuries by Giants players?

  10. willyalistentothis says: Mar 23, 2012 4:04 PM

    The teeth to the college rule is that illegal participation (12 or more guys playing) is 15 yards. A 12th guy trying to get off the field who never participates in the play only costs 5 yards.

  11. bencoates57 says: Mar 23, 2012 4:07 PM

    The real asterisk belongs on both Giants championships. Want to guess where THAT comes from? How about Eli Manning denying the team with the first pick in the draft their age-old league right to take who they want with that pick. Every other top-pick save one (Elway, and he didn’t exactly go to a big market team with a competitive history) has accepted the challenge of improving the worst team in football from the prior season. Not our spoiled dweeb, though. The small market San Diego Chargers did not offer a big enough stage for his ego.

  12. rcampore says: Mar 23, 2012 4:08 PM

    12 men on the field happens all the time in the regular season. If the player caught the ball, guess what, the play would have stood. Anyone who thinks the Giants did it on purpose is asinine. If you are going to do it on purpose, you keep all 12 on the field and give them an extra guy to try and stop the pass.

    The first poster with the asterisk if obviously a bitter little pats fan.

  13. contra74 says: Mar 23, 2012 4:09 PM

    pfthatesonme says:
    Mar 23, 2012 3:47 PM
    Tom Coughlin = GENIUS
    Bill Belichik = FRAUD-CHEATER

    All other NFL teams with a Super Bowl title = Legit

    Patriots Super Bowl wins = Illegitimate
    ———-
    You forgot the asterisk over the Saints’ SB “win”.

  14. watermelon1 says: Mar 23, 2012 4:10 PM

    What about the defense’s ability to challenge a backwards pass?

    This came up in the playoff game between the Broncos and Steelers.

    The Broncos weren’t allowed to challenge that it was a backwards pass, and the Steelers were able to keep possession of the ball.

    This needs to be changed too.

  15. 2chronix7 says: Mar 23, 2012 4:12 PM

    How dumb IS the competition committee?

    All the rule change does is explicitly detail how a team must use this loop hole in the rules.

  16. chris6523 says: Mar 23, 2012 4:19 PM

    I’m surprised we haven’t seen something like this happen in a pro game much sooner. A friend of mine suggested that because defensive holding is only a 5 yard penalty and only one penalty can be assessed per play that a team on defense holding a lead of more than a field goal in the last minute should just tackle every eligible receiver and sit on them, gladly giving up the five yards for the precious seconds that come off the clock.

  17. danielwold says: Mar 23, 2012 4:25 PM

    Tuck rule screwed the raiders.

  18. east96st says: Mar 23, 2012 4:26 PM

    “I’d be shocked if it was by accident. Just like their injuries to stop the clock werent on purpose.”

    Yeah, just ignore the fact the Tuck is clearly running off the field. Still doesn’t change the fact the the refs did everything they could to give Green Bay that playoff game and your sad little Packers still lost. Buy some more stock and use it to wipe away your tears. Maybe your team can issue some more bounties for a critical game or two and then go running to NFL to confess their sins so they get away with it without any penalties at all. Must be nice to have a license to cheat from the NFL as long as you make sure you apologize after the fact.

  19. east96st says: Mar 23, 2012 4:30 PM

    “The small market San Diego Chargers did not offer a big enough stage for his ego.”

    That’s funny, the San Diego fans and GM have been bragging since day one they got the better of that trade. Guess two Super Bowl MVPs changed your mind, huh. I love the taste of your tears. Keep it coming! It’s like a second Super Bowl parade to know the Giants are causing trolls so much misery.

  20. rcampore says: Mar 23, 2012 4:31 PM

    The real asterisk belongs on both Giants championships. Want to guess where THAT comes from? How about Eli Manning denying the team with the first pick in the draft their age-old league right to take who they want with that pick. Every other top-pick save one (Elway, and he didn’t exactly go to a big market team with a competitive history) has accepted the challenge of improving the worst team in football from the prior season. Not our spoiled dweeb, though. The small market San Diego Chargers did not offer a big enough stage for his ego.

    ________________________________

    Obviously Eli is smarter than you buddy because guess what, he has two rings and two mvps by not going to the Chargers and the Chargers have a choke artist.

    Bitter little fans. I’m sure if your team wins the SB and there is something that can be questioned as every game has, you will be perfectly happy.

    Complain all you want. I will go watch my DVD of the Superbowl Champion Giants :-)

  21. cruuuzcontrol says: Mar 23, 2012 4:33 PM

    @bencoates:
    The Giants had the fourth pick in the ’04 draft… It’s not like Eli was choosing to go to a loaded team on the cusp of a title. As a matter of fact, Eli choosing NY after the end of the Fassel era and turning the Giants into what they’ve become is pretty admirable. Unless you’re a bitter Pats fan.

  22. portnoychunk says: Mar 23, 2012 4:38 PM

    Pats lost the game fair and square (I’m a Pats fan). The league changed rules which were much more important and counter to how the Patriots played in the past.

    EX. – The Peyton Manning rule change brought on by Bill Polian of the Colts (a MEMBER of the competition committee) after the Colts could never get past the Patriots in the playoffs. This changed the game completely as DB contact with WR’s was resttricted & called much more closely. This hurt the Pats, but they adapted. This is 12-men is just a potential rule change that happened to come to light because it was a smart way for the Giants to catch a free break (much like players collapsing in uniform to stop the game). It doesn’t “benefit” the Pats – they lost the SB and deserved to lose.

    The potential rule change could very well help the Giants, Eagles, Jets, or any other team going forward. Get over your Patriot hate and look at it for what it is: the NFL acknowledging that plays like this can POTENTIALLY have an effect in the biggest game in the NFL. Best to address it now that it came to light in the SB.

  23. kd75 says: Mar 23, 2012 4:41 PM

    Giants pulled a Homer…

    to pull a Homer
    Verb
    1. To succeed despite idiocy.

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pull_a_Homer

  24. portnoychunk says: Mar 23, 2012 4:41 PM

    **As a Patriot fan, I completely agree that the “Tuck Rule” call was complete BS and I believed 100% that the game was over when the ball was knocked from Brady’s hand.

  25. zaggs says: Mar 23, 2012 4:49 PM

    “bearsstillsuck says: Mar 23, 2012 3:43 PM

    I’d be shocked if it was by accident. Just like their injuries to stop the clock werent on purpose.”

    So their plan was to put Justin Tuck, a defensive end, on the field, wide covering a wide receiver, as the 12th man to stop a pass? Really?
    Whats funny is that Brady probably hiked it on purpose to catch the Giants with 12 men on the field. So its another example of a Brady mistake.
    not to mention as McKay had said, had the Patriots completed the pass, they would have had the gain PLUS time would have stopped due to the penalty.

  26. coutre says: Mar 23, 2012 4:54 PM

    A rule change for the Pats? I believe one of the Mara’s is on the competition committee and has been for several years. The Pats haven’t had a rep on the CC during Kraft’s ownership.
    Stay classy, G-men.

  27. bozosforall says: Mar 23, 2012 4:56 PM

    coutre says:
    Mar 23, 2012 3:33 PM
    Giants: 2012 Super Bowl Champs

    ___
    Pats: 2002*, 2004*, 2005* Super Bowl Cheaters

    Fixed it for you, cooter (fixed your name as well, since it’s obvious that you are a vajayjay).

  28. skittlesareyum says: Mar 23, 2012 4:58 PM

    patsfanva says: Mar 23, 2012 3:48 PM

    So let’s put 14 guys on the field, have them attempt to run off before the snap and then turn back onto the field when it’s snapped… Loop hole still intact.

    My first thought as well…my guess is if the players don’t run off the field completely the play will be blown dead immediately?

  29. robertunsoberirish says: Mar 23, 2012 4:58 PM

    ****So let’s put 14 guys on the field, have them attempt to run off before the snap and then turn back onto the field when it’s snapped… Loop hole still intact.****

    That would be unsportsman-like conduct (same as a coach tripping someone as they’re running down the sideline)

    This rule makes total sense though! With 5 seconds left in the game, why not load up your defense with an extra pass defender if you’re only gonna get 5 yards and no time given back to the clock?
    Is that cheating? Yes.
    Would it have been effective with no suspensions or league back lash? Sure.

  30. tialen says: Mar 23, 2012 5:13 PM

    So now they can fake injuries and also fake running off the field. Go Giants.

  31. herkulease says: Mar 23, 2012 5:14 PM

    Why do they have to make changes that are so difficult and wordy when it should be a simple change to the rules of how the penalty is enforced and nothing more.

    If you take the penalty of 5 yards the time gets reset to what it was before. Essentially making it a dead ball penalty.

    If you take the yardage you lose the time elapsed.

  32. nflfollower says: Mar 23, 2012 5:29 PM

    Pats fan va….. No the loophole is not still intact, the play will be blown dead if the players remain on the field, no time will be taken off the clock, and the offense will get a free 5 yards. If any defense is dumb enough to try that.

  33. effedinLA says: Mar 23, 2012 5:30 PM

    Pats fans can go Tuck themselves!

  34. bluefan204 says: Mar 23, 2012 5:37 PM

    bencoates57 says: Mar 23, 2012 4:07 PM

    The small market San Diego Chargers did not offer a big enough stage for his ego.

    No, Eli simply smelled the stink coming from the office of AJ Smith, and decided that he’d rather play for a respectable, classy organization who knows how to win, instead of one with a dirtbag of a GM and a pitiful frontrunning fanbase.

    Can hardly blame him

  35. jakek2 says: Mar 23, 2012 5:49 PM

    Nothing makes me happier than reading bitter fans’ comments after my team wins world titles.

  36. dirtmcgirt24 says: Mar 23, 2012 5:53 PM

    chris6523 says:
    Mar 23, 2012 4:19 PM
    I’m surprised we haven’t seen something like this happen in a pro game much sooner. A friend of mine suggested that because defensive holding is only a 5 yard penalty and only one penalty can be assessed per play that a team on defense holding a lead of more than a field goal in the last minute should just tackle every eligible receiver and sit on them, gladly giving up the five yards for the precious seconds that come off the clock.

    ——

    This would be considered a “palpably unfair act” under the rules, which would allow the ref to assign whatever corrective measure he sees fit, including, but not limited to, awarding points to the team affected by the shenanigans.

  37. mavzncowboyz87 says: Mar 23, 2012 6:06 PM

    Oh great! Now both of these teams are going to argue about this. Point blank the Pats still LOST! End of discussion…

  38. sschmiggles says: Mar 23, 2012 6:18 PM

    pfthatesonme says:
    Mar 23, 2012 3:47 PM
    Tom Coughlin = GENIUS
    Bill Belichik = FRAUD-CHEATER

    All other NFL teams with a Super Bowl title = Legit

    Patriots Super Bowl wins = Illegitimate
    _____________________

    Right, the Pats’s wins are “illegitimate” because they taped some signals.

    Meanwhile, the Broncos get off the hook for cheating the salary cap, the Steelers get off for using steroids, and the Saints get a free ride for Bountygate.

    Might as well just say every Super Bowl is illegitimate.

    Oh, and here’s on everyone conveniently forgot: the Panthers used steroids throughout the entire 2004 season and leading into the Super Bowl. They were even admonished by their hometown newspaper in Charlotte.

    And they still lost to the Patriots.

  39. docboss says: Mar 23, 2012 6:43 PM

    Blah Blah, Wah Wah. New rule in NFL: Extra times out and extra downs for any team with a QB married to “supermodel” and coach with a hoodie. This would not be an issue if the situation went against anyone but the cheaters.

  40. august1969 says: Mar 23, 2012 6:43 PM

    I hate those mean Giants. Pats were 2 plays away from 5 SBs in 11 years.

    They are still one of the best francises in the game.
    Pittsburgh is another, and strangely, so are the Giants. Because of 2 plays, though.

    Dallas and SF haven’t won much since free agency and the salary cap, which is where you have to start from.

    Runners up: Indy. I think thats all.

  41. tedmurph says: Mar 23, 2012 6:47 PM

    @pornoychunk:
    Totally agree w/your first post, including that the Pats deserved to lose to the Giants. Disagree with your 2nd post. Tuck rule was the correct enforcement of a bad rule. No conspiracy, no BS. Still haven’t changed the rule. Pats were the only team that could’ve beaten the Rams anyway, they’d have killed the raiders. Good or bad , NFL at times need to upgrade the rules. Wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but the too many men loophole needs to be changed.

  42. bigbluefan1 says: Mar 23, 2012 7:17 PM

    Yeah pats and charger fans whine and cry

    Eli did not come play for us he is mean

    Even if the Giants did have a 12th man that just means they were smart enough to use the rules to there advantage.

    Keep whining Eli is Elite the Giants have beaten the Pats 2-0 in the big game and the Chargers still $uck

  43. eyeh8goodell says: Mar 23, 2012 7:47 PM

    Gee what a surprise. Something adversely affects the Patriots and so the league rushes to make a rule change. Never seen that before. LOL.

  44. j0esixpack says: Mar 23, 2012 9:30 PM

    Between the Giants purposefully putting extra men on the field to draw precious seconds off the clock to the Saints cheating the salary cap and paying extra to harm players I think even the most ardent Patriots haters are beginning to see the context of Spygate.

    In a league where George Halas and Lamar Hunt pioneered spying, and the NFL still allows taping of signal calling from the Stands even today, Belichick’s label of “cheater” for placing a camera on the sidelines instead of the stands looks pretty tame compared to the “attempted murder” of the Saints and Coughlin’s latest “gamesmanship” that may have altered the outcome of the Super Bowl.

  45. TheWizard says: Mar 23, 2012 9:34 PM

    Patriots Super Bowl wins = Illegitimate

    Prepare thyself, because they’re going to make another run at an illegitimate Super Bowl this year, too.

    Call em what you want.

    The trophies still shine.

  46. 1historian says: Mar 23, 2012 11:32 PM

    Smart move by the Giants.

    They won the game

    FYI – I am a Pats fan

  47. NakedCowboy! says: Mar 24, 2012 4:29 AM

    just proves how well prepared coach coughlin is! well done!
    i am a pats fan and this loss was very hard to take… worse than then first one coz i was hoping for some revenge…
    but i would concede that giants were a better team… their defense was relentless and offense provided was pretty darn good too…

    but these small details are very important… difference between winning and loosing… get any advantage you can get legally…

  48. infectorman says: Mar 24, 2012 8:28 AM

    jakek2says:
    Nothing makes me happier than reading bitter fans’ comments after my team wins world titles.
    **************************

    Dude, you need a girlfriend

  49. Commander Buffalo says: Mar 24, 2012 12:25 PM

    1) As to the loss of time with too many men on the field: How has no one noticed this before? It doesn’t matter if it’s a regular season game? Do these things only come to the CC’s attention if they happen in a Superbowl? This has been going on for years. Let’s just hope their attempt to close the loophole doesn’t open up more loopholes.

    2) Giants and Pats fans: I watched that Superbowl, and neither one of you has anything to brag about. If that’s the best the NFL has to offer, I weep for the future of the league.

  50. vman0626 says: Mar 24, 2012 9:24 PM

    “all the fake injuries by giants players”???

    jackazz, the giants led the league in manpower
    games lost. fake???

    jackazz.

    that’s why i don’t post anymore. moron,
    you probably believe in creationism, too.

  51. discosucs2005 says: Mar 25, 2012 11:52 PM

    I think it’s too obvious now. QBs will be coached to spike the ball if the flag is thrown for more men on the field in a clock management situation.

    Does anyone else find it amazing that 12 men on the field penalties even happen? It’s one of those “how hard is that?” type of penalties to me.

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