Although rules changes to restrict helmet-to-helmet hits have drawn more attention, the NFL has also in recent years increasingly restricted low blocks, in an attempt to protect players’ knees. And another rule may be coming this offseason.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the NFL’s Competition Committee is considering a rule that would eliminate the chop block.
It’s unclear precisely how the new rule would be worded. Last year the league voted to further restrict chop blocks by making it illegal for a running back to chop a defensive player engaged above the waist by another offensive player outside the tackle box.
Chop blocks are still legal in certain situations in line play, and the NFL could eliminate those situations. Some defensive players have argued that the league needs to go further and ban all low blocks. The Competition Committee will need to come up with the precise wording of a new rule designed to give greater protection to defensive players’ knees, and then the league’s owners will vote on the proposal. Given the league’s emphasis on player safety, it’s likely that any proposal will be approved by the owners.