Only two NFL players would have been kicked out of a game last season under the proposed new rule that would turn two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties into an automatic ejection. And contrary to popular belief, those two players are not Odell Beckham and Josh Norman.
Although the Beckham-Norman back-and-forth got ugly last year and has been widely discussed as the catalyst for the new rule requiring an ejection, the NFL has confirmed to PFT that neither player committed the fouls that would result in an automatic ejection. Under the proposed rule, a player would be ejected if he’s twice penalized for abusive language, baiting, taunting, or throwing a punch, forearm or kick at an opponent (even if he doesn’t make contact). That’s not what Beckham and Norman were flagged for in their Week 16 showdown.
The two players who would have been ejected under the new rule were Chargers safety Jahleel Addae in Week Eight against the Ravens and Titans outside linebacker Brian Orakpo in Week Nine against the Saints.
Orakpo actually got three personal fouls in a row, the first for a hit on Drew Brees and the next two for arguing that call. The hit on Brees would not have contributed toward an ejection, but his continuing abusive language toward the officials would have. Addae’s two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against the Ravens were at two different points in the game.
If the new rule is passed, it won’t result in a lot of ejections. It might not even result in any. But it should serve as a reminder to players that they need to cool it in the heat of the moment.