Report: League will consider abolishing all blocks below the waist in 2013

AP

In the wake of the ACL-shredding hit by Jets guard Matt Slauson on Texans linebacker Brian Cushing, we reported that the Competition Committee will be taking a closer look in the offseason at blocks below the waist.

Peter King of SI.com and NBC’s Football Night in America reports that the Competition Committee currently plans to consider eliminating all blocks below the waist.  King believes the league office is “solidly behind” a comprehensive ban, but that resistance from coaches likely will prevent a full prohibition.

Instead, King believes that the chop block, which is legal in some situations, will be eliminated, and that downfield cut blocks (like the one that tore Chiefs safety Eric Berry’s ACL last year) will be banned.

As we explained last month, the cut block is as old as the game of football.  It’s all physics.  Small players can’t block larger players without taking out the legs of the bigger players.  If the ban is passed, there will be no way to stop the biggest, strongest defensive players without double-teaming them, which will impact offensive output and, for one of the only times in the last 40 years, push the pendulum back to the defense.

131 responses to “Report: League will consider abolishing all blocks below the waist in 2013

  1. Someone’s going to need to draw a diagram so players know where it’s okay to tackle. You can’t hit ’em in the head, you can’t go at their knees, you can’t block below the waist…honestly let’s just put flags on all the players and call it a day.

  2. So does this apply to all offensive players? Will linemen still be allowed to cut-block? If the guys on the line aren’t allowed to cut, then I’m very much against this idea.

    Maybe it’s time for a major advancement in knee-brace technology making them more effective but less cumbersome than the current models. Build a better brace and then make it mandatory equipment. Also, all players should be required to wear the pant pads, I can’t figure out why so many currently do not.

  3. Outlaw blocks below the waist everywhere on the field except behind the line of scrimmage on pass plays. That way a player doesn’t get cut down field, and it eliminates the cut blocks on running plays at the line of scrimmage (i.e. the Houston Texans run blocking scheme), but it still allows for a RB in pass protection to cut a DE or blitzing LB.

  4. probabt the smartest thing the league has ever done, however that is how a lot of rb’s block on pass protection plays.

  5. Wait a minute. That means the rib cage will be vulnerable and the NFL will move to eliminate rib injuries. By the time Goodell is finished there will be a 4 square inch spot in the middle of the chest that can be blocked. Goodell is ruining the NFL.

  6. This is how the do gooders work in this world. They cry and complain about something until it gets changed. Then when what they initially cried about changes they move on to the next thing to cry about even if there really isn’t a problem. They just always need something to cry about and try to fix because they are trying to “protect people from themselves.”

  7. Players know injuries are part of the game. U never want to see anyone get injured but if u asked 10 retired players from the 70’s& 80’s if they knew then what they know now 9 of them would still play. Leave it like it is

  8. How about making a rule where you say “football is a dangerous game where you will be hurt, and potentially injured during your career. If you’d like to play football despite this, great. If not, go be a banker.”

  9. Tough spot for the NFL. Apparently they need to implement some sort of waivers into contracts. Ex-players are suing the league because they (the league) didn’t do enough to keep the game safer for them (the players). Now nobody likes the measures the league is taking to make it safer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not nuts about the “wussification” going on in the league now but as long as ex-players are holding the league responsible for their injuries, the league must do something to avoid this in the future.

    Considering what (seemingly) little it takes to take a player out of the game these days, it’s no wonder that alot of ex-players are coming out of the woodwork with injuries sustained during their careers. I don’t doubt that there are plenty of exes with major physical/mental issues brought on directly by their careers in the NFL. That being said, they shouldn’t hold the league responsible.

  10. Will they be more lenient on plays where helmet contact occurs after a guy gets hit in the chest? If everyone has to go high helmet contact will be unavoidable.

  11. I’m 57 years old I’ve got a bad back, bad retinas, and I’m sure I’d never get up after one NFL hit. I think I’ll try out for the Packers next year.

  12. Don’t hit them in the head, don’t lead with the helmet, don’t pull them from behind, don’t hit them below the knees, got it! Is stomach still okay or are some of these guys expecting.

  13. How suspending guys with out pay for blatantly dirty blocks and hits, first. Wait til the QBs start getting killed in the pocket because RBs can’t block LBs and DEs. What then?

  14. I dont see anything wrong with this. Those low blocks always cause injuries and don’t take any talent to do. I mean anyone can go out there and cut someone. I’m surprised this hasn’t been considered before now.

  15. Ndamukong Suh was just trying to point out where the spot is that players will only be able to block players or tackle players in the future.

    A very small target.

  16. If this actually happens then the NFL is doomed. That might be a good thing. Someone will start a league where players sign a waiver that says they are making huge amounts of money to play a mans game and they will probably at some point get hurt.

  17. So does that mean you can’t cut block but you can tackle at knee level. Lesean McCoy was tackled against the Cowboys two weeks ago and I am still wondering how he didn’t get both of his acl’s blown up.

  18. I just want to know if the players are going to start taking less pay since they’ll be taking less risk. After all one of the arguments for them making so much is their careers don’t last very long because they get hurt.

  19. bathroomben:
    You obviously know way too much about football to be eligible to voice an opinion on this blog.
    It’s about time “the grunts of the game” get the same protection that the “glamour boys” get. And I am all in favor of the restoration of defense. Casey Hampton would be so much more impacting if he wasn’t chop-blocked on every play.
    Plus, I’m a little tired of seeing rookie quarterbacks show up and post Hall-of-Fame stats. Because of today’s rules, quarterback is no longer the most difficult position to play. That distinction now belongs to cornerbacks.

  20. Next idea from Goodell…no tackling below the waist or above the neck.

    Meanwhile in the sport of boxing the whole purpose is to hit the opponent in the head, give them a concussion, and to knock him out. Shouldn’t Goodell be the commissioner of professional boxing also?

  21. The ambulance chasing lawyers are ruining the NFL. Please, somebody stand up to these liability lawyers before it is too late!!

    They get rich, we get warning manuals and higher prices on everything we buy.

  22. As we explained last month, the cut block is as old as the game of football. It’s all physics. Small players can’t block larger players without taking out the legs of the bigger players. If the ban is passed, there will be no way to stop the biggest, strongest defensive players without double-teaming them, which will impact offensive output and, for one of the only times in the last 40 years, push the pendulum back to the defense.
    ———————————————————————————– Get bigger players on the line, makes sense to me, as u say its physics. That or have weight limits on all players. That way the ACLU can SUH the league. NotForLong league.

  23. Uncle Rodger should ban all blocking. To block another player, you simply stand in front of them. No hitting what so ever. Any knee injures will be blamed on the field grass not being cut short enough. Or maybe require all players wear protective knee brasses, then the players would whine about not being able to run and jump their highest. Enough is enough.

  24. At this rate, will the NFL even be around in 20 years? People are becomg very knowledgable on the long term impact and even the significance of the minor injuries to post playing days. The NFL is a generation or 2 away from the talent pool shrinking significantly. The costs are going to go way up for rec programs, highschools, colleges and pros to offset the rising costs from eqipment development, insurance and medical. All of the safety needed to make the game safe will price people out and then it becomes not worth it, so you lose interest in the product.

  25. Easy solution: anytime you see a rb in the backfield, load the box and kamikaze blitz. Odds are one of the 7 guys gets chopped by the rb and draws a penalty. If not? You end up with a clean sack. Fool proof. And at the end of a Sunday, youre probably looking at a handful of injured qb’s, and more concussion suits saying they lost protection due to new rules. Awesome idea.

  26. Breaking News: NFL now considering hitting players above the waist as illegal due to Tebow’s two cracked ribs and prime time rating ribbing NFL took for not having enough Tebow.

  27. Idea to Goddell:

    Have all players require to pass and kick the football, turn the uprights down into a goalnet and the quaterback will be the only one allowed to use his hands and voila!: Football in its natural and original form will come out. After that, take a team to England to join the English Premier League! (Wink)

  28. Meanwhile MLB is just cruising along with essentially the same rules as ever, and retains it’s integrity.

    NFL is already getting unwatchable. Once people get sick of Fantasy Football, it will lose the rest of it’s avid fans. I’m sick of game changing hits that are just unavoidable for the D. Sick of phantom roughing the passer. Sick of blown calls by officials that have way too many rules to consider. PI used to be the only game changing judgment call that came up occasionally, now it is just one of many. I used to watch every game I could, now it’s just my team and some key matchups. The rest of it is a parity-fest with the officials often deciding things.

  29. If any GM’s want to get ahead of the curve, they’ll start scouting Rugby players in about 10 years or so. The rules for both sport should be nearly identical by then.

  30. What are the chances that the people most complaining about the NFL becoming “flag football” have never played a day of organized football above the grade school level in their lives?

  31. It’s interesting that people who risk nothing more than carpel clicker syndrome are demanding that the NFL stop trying to keep its players safe. Do you think players “OWE US ” brain damage and crippling injuries?

  32. I love how the same people hating on SUH and his aggressiveness, are the same ones crying about the NFL turning into flag football…. be careful what u wish for ladies!

  33. Why don’t we just make them wear skirts..Funny that most of these people that making all of the decisions probably never played a down in foorball..It’s a physical game that played by men and the brutality of it comes with the territory.

  34. “Small players can’t block larger players without taking out the legs of the bigger players.”

    Exactly. Which means the end result of these rules changes will be even bigger, stronger players playing at even faster speeds inflicting even more life threatening injuries. The NFL is making these changes in the name of “safety,” but all it will do is create a league filled with even more freakishly large players inflicting punishment that the human body is not capable of withstanding without horrific injury.

  35. If small guys can no longer effectively block anybody, they won’t make the roster, which means bigger guys on the field, colliding and landing on each other, resulting in MORE injuries than ever.

  36. Is it just offensively where it’s being banned? Cause watch any goal line or short yardage situation and you’re going to see the interior defensive linemen cutting the offensive line, you’ll also see defenders taking on pulling offensive lineman by cutting them.

    This is an overreaction, they should be getting rid of the cuts where it’s coming from behind or the side of a defender who can’t see it coming (like the block on Cushing) as well as cutting downfield (linemen blocking on a screen cutting defensive backs) but cut blocks inside the tackle box, 5 yard on either side of the line of scrimmage should be allowed.

  37. ravenmuscle says: Nov 23, 2012 8:06 PM

    Ndamukong Suh was just trying to point out where the spot is that players will only be able to block players or tackle players in the future.

    A very small target.
    —————————————————
    I object to that last part.

    Matt Schaub

  38. The hit on Cushing was an illegal dirty hit–not a lean cut block. Instead of a minimal fine, suspend the dude for the year. You will clean up dirty hits/players. Legal cut blocking causes no more injuries than a normal play.

  39. The problem is that as the athletes have evolved over the years, they have become much stronger, faster, and larger (both size and mass). The force placed upon an individual during a tackle is greater now than it ever was in the past; thus we are seeing a greater number of knee injuries with the cut blocks. My suggestion would be that all player should be issued knee braces that limits the amount of extension and flexion/rotation at the knees. Thus if the brace reaches its lock-out points, the knee joint remains protected. Although it wouldn’t eliminate all of them, it would decrease it. I don’t recall seeing any recent knee injuries where a player was wearing a rigid knee brace.

  40. There is literally one good thing about this and that’s the fact that it will give a big boost to defense for once. Unfortunately it does nothing for defending the pass which is the real imbalance issue in the first place.

    That being said, the NFL devolves more and more into something that I respect less and less. I’m all down for protecting people from concussions and against head hunting but the rules they give for it are terrible and actually punish more people for hits they can’t avoid or are just down right clean. You are responsible for what you hit regardless? Seriously? What if I am running full speed and aim at his waist and he ducks? How is that even right? Don’t get me started on the quarterback…

  41. What they NEED to do, is make it so the rule involving player safety has to be passed by a high percentage of players before it is established. If the players are okay with it, then I can’t complain.

  42. When flag football begins in 2013, you will have some players getting fined for using stick-um on their portion of the velcro flags. You will hear complaints from defensive players claiming they broke a fingernail while trying to rip off a flag from the running back but it just wouldnt come off. Oh the HORROR !

  43. This would actually make things very easy to implement:

    Simply make the jersey a unique color, and that is the only thing you can hit.

    No hits to the helmet (different color), and no hits to the legs (pants are a different color).

  44. Let’s just create football playing robots and eliminate all the rules aimed at protecting the players and just have coaches design the schemes and call the plays and if the robots ‘ACLs’ get blown.. oh well. Put the next one in. Kinda like coach mode in Tecmo Bowl. No greedy players getting millions a year, each team can donate a good chunk of their profits to their local city. NFL would be all about football robots and improving their citys.

  45. If they make it to where the Oline cannot cut block, they better make it to where little sissy DBs cannot tackle below the waist either. Imagine taking down Adrian Peterson, or Arian Foster like that. I’m so tired of the wussification at the NFL level. Don’t want to get injured, don’t play. Trust me, I know, 5 concussions, 2 broke legs, 1 broke arm, and a broken jaw = free college education for myself and a lifetime of football memories. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. The NFL needs to take a long hard look at what their alterations are really doing to the game we all used to play and love.

  46. Why not make the game “two handed touch”?

    Also if the league was serious about injuries why did they produce the show “Big Hits of the Week?”

    The big hit of this week would have been Suh’s tickling of Shaub’s wiener.

  47. If the ban is passed, there will be no way to stop the biggest, strongest defensive players without double-teaming them, which will impact offensive output and, for one of the only times in the last 40 years, push the pendulum back to the defense. – Mike Florio
    ———————————————————-
    Good point Mike. That is precisely why little if anything will be done about below the waist blocks.

    The NFL won’t water down it’s product over a little thing like player safety. After all, quarterbacks don’t block much do they?

  48. What’s the difference between blocking and tackling below the knees? I’ve seen many more injuries from low tackles than I have from low blocks, will those be eliminated as well?

  49. I’ve been saying for years they should make blocking from the knee and below illegal at least within a couple yards of the line of scrimmage.

    Average life expectancy for NFL players is more than a decade below the population, add in quality of physical life and it’s not a pretty picture. The violence-physicality doesn’t need to be taken out of the game, just needs to be directed.

  50. The NFL owners and Roger Goodell are ruining Pro Football.

    Don’t tackle here…don’t block there…don’t throw a red flag now…or you might lose the freaking game.

    This escalation in rules and changes started when Roger Goodell took over. Previous commissioners rarely tinkered with the game and football became the most popular sport in America.

    Pro football is becoming more of a business than a sport as nearly everything the NFL does today, comes down to money and protecting their investments.

    Soon, the game will become unplayable, dominated by penalities every other play…that block was too low…that tackle was too high…no that tackle was too low…and so on.

    The NFL and Roger Goodell are ruining Pro Football, one rule at a time.

  51. jakethesnake57 says:Nov 23, 2012 7:33 PM

    Wait a minute. That means the rib cage will be vulnerable and the NFL will move to eliminate rib injuries. By the time Goodell is finished there will be a 4 square inch spot in the middle of the chest that can be blocked. Goodell is ruining the NFL.
    —————————————————-

    Roger Goodell is not part of the competition commitee (8 owners are) so he does sugest rule changes or vote on them, the owners do that.

    Every bad thing in the NFL is not Goodell, he just gets blamed for everything.

  52. South Park said it best, let’s all play Sarcastaball where the object is to pass the balloon around and hug our opponents and say nice things to them.

  53. So just exactly how will an offense block on 4th and short or goal line plays if the linemen can’t block below the waist?

  54. Sports may be the only industry where the public thinks making it safer for the employees is a bad thing.

  55. If the players were required to wear knee and thigh pads there would be a lot less ACL tears in this league from below the waist blocking. If the NFL truly wants to make it safer start there.

  56. so tackling will be “legal” from the neckline to the waist? thats easy to do in tackling drills from 5 yards away…. from 20 yards away when both players are running 4.5 or fASTER? not so much

  57. ravenmuscle says:
    Nov 23, 2012 8:06 PM
    Ndamukong Suh was just trying to point out where the spot is that players will only be able to block players or tackle players in the future.

    A very small target.

    Man, that is hilarious!

  58. Just like politicians. Make a rule and when it doesn’t work…make another one…when that doesn’t work…..make another one. Before you know it we are knee deep in rules that don’t work and all you have left is one or two ways to tackle a guy and primadonna quarterbacks who have twenty years of dominance because you can’t touch them. The NFL has become the most distorted pro sport ever. If it was all left on the field and up to the players everything would take care of itself. The speed of the game would be slower and the players would be bulkier and safer. They would learn how to protect themselves. But because of slimy lawyers and and a bunch of crybaby liberals…..this game will never be the same. Don’t worry though everyone will be PERFECTLY safe and your kids can sit on the couch playing video games for the rest of their lives. UTOPIA will be the end of mankind someday!

  59. “jschwanny says:
    Nov 23, 2012 7:14 PM
    Outlaw blocks below the waist everywhere on the field except behind the line of scrimmage on pass plays. That way a player doesn’t get cut down field, and it eliminates the cut blocks on running plays at the line of scrimmage (i.e. the Houston Texans run blocking scheme), but it still allows for a RB in pass protection to cut a DE or blitzing LB.”

    Yes, this is a good idea…. I might also suggest that maybe cut blocks only be legal when players are in a one to one blocking situation and they are directly facing each other, straight up. Other than that, there should never be blocking below the waist on the line.

  60. Great another rule to put the Zebras in control of a game. Every year we see the slow and deliberate destruction of the best game in sports. Fantasy Football might be the only game left to play on Sundays if they keep this up. You might as well have Congress run the NFL, the outcome would be the same, the end of the game.

  61. The CFL is the answer when the NFL goes limp. Faster and much more open game and a lot more fun to watch.

  62. The NFL a.k.a ” The National Fix League”, wants to add another lame rule, so they can continue to control the outcome of games. As I continue to watch this sport I can’t help from thinking it is turning into the WWF. It’s all about TV ratings.

  63. There must be technology for a lightweight, compact knee brace that would prevent these injuries. The NFL should concentrate their resources into findidng such a device

  64. OK, time for Chris Kluwe and his whiteboard explaing the “leagle zone ” for where you can hit players. i’m thinking it would only be allowed between these lines

    _________

    _______

  65. “As we explained last month, the cut block is as old as the game of football”.—-Very, very poor rationale as to why it shouldn’t be illegal, if you look at recent actions by the league.

    Head to head collisions when a WR goes over the middle are guess what?—as old as the game of football. And that didn’t stop them from making those illegal. So is the NFL really about player safety or just high scoring games? I will be surprised if they institute this rule, because it will heavily favor the defenses, and you will see many more blitzes if RB’s aren’t allowed to cut block in pass protection.

  66. I’m all for making the game safer. I’m tired of thinking I’ve got a good team to start the season, and finishing with a completely different team. I prefer to see skilled athletes play the game as it was meant to be played, and I don’t think that means smaller players gain advantage over larger ones because they can legally target their knees. If you want brutality, watch mixed martial arts.

  67. I see what the NFL is thinking, you want to prevent as many injuries as possible. And for anyone to think that professionals can’t adjust to hitting above the waist are not thinking properly.

    I won’t mind it especially if star football players are prevented from getting injured over stupid hits. You also can’t tell me certain players don’t look for hitting a player to injure them, because they totally do.

    So anyone that wants to complain about this and think it’ll change the game drastically, will still watch this game and it’ll barely change becoming just a yellow flag penalty. Get over it.

  68. Good idea, add these following rules too:

    – Get rid of the 5 yard contact rule.
    – Make any throwaway pass intentional grounding, even if the passer is outside of the pocket.
    – Offensive linemen all have to line up on the actual line of scrimage and not in these silly V formations.

    Make the offense earn their points, stop trying to make the NFL like the arena football league.

  69. Just a product of the time unfortunately. We are becoming soft as a country and its starting to manifest itself now on football. No one is forced to play the game. you take on risks of getting injured on every play and theres no way to avoid them all unless you ban tackling, which is probably coming next at this rate. I was ok with them eliminating helmet to helmet as some of these guys were using their helmets as a battering ram. But now were heading down a slope to where its getting ridiculous. Guys are getting fined way to often for hard hits that appear legal on the replay.

    Leave the league we all know and love alone. Otherwise some competing product will eventually come along that will catch on. Thats what always happens when you keep tinkering with something people like. I would hate to see that happen

  70. bobzilla1001 says: Nov 23, 2012 8:40 PM

    bathroomben:

    Plus, I’m a little tired of seeing rookie quarterbacks show up and post Hall-of-Fame stats. Because of today’s rules, quarterback is no longer the most difficult position to play. That distinction now belongs to cornerbacks.
    ===========================

    yea, tell that to the Cardinals.
    QB will ALWAYS be the most important position on the field

  71. Every rule change to protect players has had the unintended consequence of encouraging more passing. It is passing plays that are by far the most dangerous in the sport. Vast majority of injuries occur in passing game. QB hits, WR hits, OL being undercut and DB/LB converging on player in space. All passing plays.

    Passing is way way more dangerous than running. Nice job NFL encourage more passing.

  72. The league knows it can’t be enforced – they’re just floating the idea to make it look like they’re concerned – the fact is they need to stop babying the players and trust in their toughness.

  73. Whats happened to this league?Watched the NFL Network the other day and saw their Top Ten Touchdown dances of the weekend with the hot anchor lady with the permanent smile on her face.The game is quickly becoming unwatchable.

  74. All I want for Christmas, is a new NFL Commissioner. Stop ruining the game!!! If this happens, the game will literally be unwatchable. If you can’t cut block, you can’t run. Plain and simple…
    I’m going to start a petition to have Roger Goodell impeached from his position. Let’s get it done!
    If you vote me in as Commish, I promise to take all these news rules out of the book and go back to playing good ol’ football. Injuries are part of the game, it’s a violent sport, in which these players are very fairly compensated. Nobody is twisting their arms to play.
    I’m Nick Allen, and I approve of this message.

  75. Late in commenting but why don’t we go the other way. Players are getting faster, stronger, and injured easier with the padding and hits we have now. This style of padding has been around forever. Instead of changing the hits, let’s change the padding. If we have knee injuries lets find a device that augments knee safety. Some guys do it already with knee braces. Protect the speed, intensity, and admittedly violence of the game but protect the player.

  76. This is exactly what we need. The game is already too fast paced as it is with too much action, hitting and excitement.

    We need more penalties. Watching the refs is clearly the best part of sitting down to watch a football game, so the more the better. I say mandatory penalties for something, anything, every five plays, just to break up all the action. It can be really distracting.

  77. I agree with this decision. 300 lb D linemen aren’t usually great hurdlers, which is why chop-blocks are so effective. To those of you screaming about the NFL moving toward flag football, consider this: when the NFL loses players to injury, particularly career-ending/limiting knee injuries, we all lose. Just ask fans of any team who has lost defensive players due to a chop-block-ACL-tear. Plus, you could also make the argument that chop-blocks are cowardly. If you really want to see an NFL that is about tough athletes fighting tooth-and-nail, then why wouldn’t you get of plays that come across as cheap shots to the casual observer? Hand-to-hand combat in the trenches is what football used to be all about. Stay on your feet and block like a man.

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