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NFL tells coaches to remind receivers about illegal crackback blocks

crackbackblock Getty Images

Although defensive players often say that the NFL has favored the offense with its player safety rules, the NFL’s head of officiating is also telling coaches that they need to make sure their offensive players aren’t committing any illegal blocks on defensive players.

In a video that was first shown at last week’s league meeting and has since been distributed publicly, head of officiating Carl Johnson tells NFL coaches that they need to make sure their wide receivers understand that the rules prohibit them from crackback blocks that target defensive players either in the head or neck area, or in the legs.

“Coaches, I encourage you to cover this rule with your receivers,” Johnson said. “They have to lower their target. The strike zone is from the shoulder pads to the waist.”

The video shows Browns receiver Josh Gordon leveling Ravens safety Ed Reed with an illegal crackback block, and as that video plays, Johnson explains that recipients of crackback blocks are considered defenseless players who get extra protection, just as receivers in the process of catching the ball and quarterbacks in the process of throwing the ball are.

“The rule states it is an illegal crackback block if a defensive player is contacted below the waist within an area five yards on either side of the line of scrimmage, within close line play, by an offensive player who is moving toward the position from which the ball is snapped,” Johnson said. “An offensive player who is aligned more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped is prohibited from coming back toward the football and blocking low or hitting a player in the head or neck area. That was the amended rule change that we put in for the 2012 season.”

And so the NFL has thrown a bone to defensive players, with a reminder that the league office will crack down on offensive players, too.

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16 Responses to “NFL tells coaches to remind receivers about illegal crackback blocks”
  1. pacificamjr says: Dec 20, 2012 5:06 PM

    nice to see eddie boy gettin a taste of his own medicine!

  2. contactopinionguy2011 says: Dec 20, 2012 5:07 PM

    Can someone define the term ” crackback ” please !

  3. 49ersgiants4life says: Dec 20, 2012 5:22 PM

    Just a little PR we all know Goodell believes that arena football league scores will sell more tickets

  4. udontknowjacku says: Dec 20, 2012 5:25 PM

    more and more that we are going to flag football..thanks commish

  5. Patriot42 says: Dec 20, 2012 5:28 PM

    I understand the league is going to put a 4 inch band around the uniform that will be the only legal area that the defense can touch while tackling the opponent. This will be above the waist and below the nipples.

  6. eyeh8goodell says: Dec 20, 2012 5:50 PM

    South Park was right. Sarcastaball. Pretty soon instead of throwing blocks, offensive players will be encouraged to hug defensive players instead of engaging in any kind of violent action.

    And funny how it’s always the Ravens defenders who are on the receiving end of these blocks. Keep your heads on a swivel boys.

  7. iceburgskin202 says: Dec 20, 2012 5:56 PM

    Fair is fair glad to see the league use good judgement sometimes.

  8. chi01town says: Dec 20, 2012 6:12 PM

    I have to PULL for the Giants cause they will STOP the packers so I hope ELI can wake up the G-Men

  9. dabearsk says: Dec 20, 2012 6:12 PM

    How about an emphasis for the officials not to call mysterious offensive pi calls like they did in the bears packers game? Let them play !! And let them block!

  10. fat4jc says: Dec 20, 2012 6:37 PM

    Can anyone from the league confirm whether Anquan Boldin got the memo?

  11. randallflagg52 says: Dec 20, 2012 7:32 PM

    Patriot42 says:
    Dec 20, 2012 5:28 PM
    I understand the league is going to put a 4 inch band around the uniform that will be the only legal area that the defense can touch while tackling the opponent. This will be above the waist and below the nipples.

    ====================================

    Take a look at your boy Tom Brady. He’s at as much fault as Bill Polian for ruining football. One guy get’s his ACL torn on a routine play, and now defenders have to turn into MLB pitchers and have a strike zone where they will be fined if they brush against a QB.

  12. drgreenstreak says: Dec 20, 2012 7:34 PM

    Make sure they tell the crackback instructor, Hiney Ward about this. He’s the coward’s coward.

  13. dennisatunity says: Dec 20, 2012 7:41 PM

    Too bad Hines Ward never got warned. One of the dirtiest players to ever wear a uniform in the NFL.

  14. eyeh8goodell says: Dec 20, 2012 8:17 PM

    Gotta love the Hines Ward hate. You guys never had a problem when it was defenders doing the de-cleating. But Hines turns the tables and you guys get all bent out of shape. What’s he supposed to do? Stop and wait for the defender to notice him? Ask permission to please make a block?

    Go back to playing Madden and leave the football discussion to those of us have actually played competitive football.

  15. msquires2003 says: Dec 20, 2012 9:16 PM

    Kinda like Jared Allen’s scumass block.

  16. aljack88 says: Dec 20, 2012 10:21 PM

    randallflagg52 says:
    Dec 20, 2012 7:32 PM

    Take a look at your boy Tom Brady. He’s at as much fault as Bill Polian for ruining football. One guy get’s his ACL torn on a routine play, and now defenders have to turn into MLB pitchers and have a strike zone where they will be fined if they brush against a QB.

    ———————————————————-

    Really? It’s all Brady’s fault? You give far too much credit to Tom or is it you are too hung up on him?

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