League tables possible changes to defenseless receiver rule


One of the most controversial NFL rules from the 2010 season won’t be getting any more controversial, at least not yet.

The NFL has tabled the question of adjusting the rules regarding hits on defenseless receivers, according to Jason LaCanfora of NFL Network.

The league was considering expanding the window within which receivers were protected from hits to the head or with the head.  The Competition Committee also proposed eliminating all launching.

The issue could be revisited at the next ownership meetings in May.  Then again, the league supposedly was going to consider extending the postseason overtime rule to the regular season in May 2010, and the issue has by all appearances been tabled indefinitely.

28 responses to “League tables possible changes to defenseless receiver rule

  1. “Then again, the league supposedly was going to consider extending the postseason overtime rule to the regular season in May 2010, and the issue has by all appearances been tabled indefinitely.”

    Thank god. Hopefully the same can be said about this football destroying rule as well.

  2. They can change the rules on a defenseless player, that’s fine. However, to call a QB who is throwing the ball defenseless is ridiculous. That part better not hold up.

  3. This defenseless receiver rule is crap.

    If the receiver were defenseless HE WOULDNT BE WEARING A HELMET AND PADS!

    There used to be a reason we expected WR’s and TE’s going over the middle, because they knew what was coming.

    Are we making this game so players look for plays they can get a penalty on actually make a big play. It seems like the penalty is starting to become the big play of todays game.

  4. I’m sick of this defenseless player stuff – I’m watching the UFL this year – it still plays REAL football.

  5. Well at least one of the (to many to count) wussy ass rules over the last five or ten years has been postponed —– I really think it’s (The Fans) that are the defenseless ones as we watch the the once great NFL deteriorate into a rough touch league

  6. Defenseless to be defined as “not driving a Range Rover.”

    No contact with the receiver more than 7 inches from the LOS.

    Don’t even swear within hearing distance of the QB.

    Breaking wind at the LOS will result in game disqualification.

  7. Given the fact that the Steelers are the biggest opponents of this rule change, it’ll probably never see the light of day and on the day that one of their receivers gets paralyzed, I wonder if ownership, their fans and the players are going to be just as hard-assed with their attitude as they are now.

  8. Here’s a sure-fire way to keep the hard-hitting in the game and protect the players: Avatar. The NFL can invest their billions into a virtual reality system whereby the players ‘play’ but they do so as Avatars. No one gets hurt, the players can play as hard as they can. There will still be teams, and televised games, and commercial breaks. No more arbitrary rules interpretations, no more ‘defenseless’ players, no more concussion, no more QBs in skirts.

    If this is too silly, then how about putting weight restrictions on players? Make them wear proper pads and not shed them to gain speed. Make helmets less protective so this way players do not feel invincible and use them as a weapon. The way the league is restricting the game in the ‘name of safety’ is slowly ruining the game.

  9. you can thank roger goodell for all the changes . this league will not be any good until he is fired he is by far the worse commisioner in the history of sports. i wish the owners would wake up and fire this guy already. nobody wants a league where no one can hit anyone. this is what happens when owners hire someone who has never played the game

  10. “Then again, the league supposedly was going to consider extending the postseason overtime rule to the regular season in May 2010, and the issue has by all appearances been tabled indefinitely.”

    Thank god. Hopefully the same can be said about this football destroying rule as well.


    Go go gadget hyperbole.

    Don’t you mean “Job Killing Freedom Hating Anti American Rule?”.

    Seriously, the rule is kind of dumb, I wasn’t in favor of it, but “Football Destroying!”? Really? The game is that fragile? Honestly?

    Are we are just going to have to pack it in now? They tried to make the pro game slightly more like the college game. College seems to be ok, been around a lot longer then the pros, doesn’t seem destroyed to me.

    When did we become a nation of spin doctors? We are generating our own propaganda now? It is a dumb rule, but “Football Destroying” it is not.

    Every criticism of a rule or topic doesn’t require in-line zingers that tell us how we should react by baiting an emotion instead of logic.

  11. Hey Kev, If the Center breaks wind at the line of scrimmage it could cause the QB to fumble the snap.
    This is serious stuff we’re talking about here 🙂

  12. 3 Rule changes are needed.

    1. Players must wear a mouthpiece. Mouthpieces help prevent concussions almost as much as helmets so if the NFL really cares about concussions then they will make mouthpieces mandatory. Everyone played with one in high school and at least a part of college so that is a positive change that will not effect the game but will improve player’s safety.

    2. No intentionally hitting a player above the neck. Intentionally means when the player is upright not jumping up with the intent to lead with your head or hit them with a shoulder above the neck. If the player goes low to elude a defender or catch a ball then it is not the defender’s responsibility to readjust their tackle.

    3. When tackling no leading with the crown or top of the helmet. Nobody was ever taught to tackle that way it is dangerous for the tackler and the tacklee.

    That’s it. There is no room for debate on what is illegal. Penalties will still be somewhat controversial because it is difficult to see what is going on in real speed with how magnificent the athletes are in the NFL but all penalties are controversial. Tell GODell he can reach me at anytime.

  13. Yes, I can see why this was censored. It’s soooo offensive 🙄

    For heaven’s sake, edgy!!! No one is against rules to make players safer, but it would be nice if the league actually took five minutes to find out what would make players safer instead of just pulling nonsense out of their backsides! Those fines last year did not reduce the number of head injuries or lessen their severity, so what makes you think going off half-assed with a rule change will? Let’s try to keep our perspective and come up with something we know has a chance of succeeding. 🙄

  14. You guys do, of course, realize the term half-c*cked is a pistol reference. Minds out of the gutter, boys.

  15. Well, I guess there is still some hope that Goodell won’t destroy the league this year. Why Art Rooney fought so hard for Goodell to become the commissioner is still one of the great mysteries.
    Goodell and his sycophants at the NFL headquarters have got to go.

  16. I call on all fans to boycott the NFL in 2011, in protest over all these rules, and how Goodell and owners have ruined football. Go watch and support UFL instead. It’s a very fan-orientated, fan-friendly league. The NFL owners/commish will never listen to the fans until their pockets are hit. Voice your disgust by ensuring all NFL games are as empty as possible. All their rhetoric over the labor dispute and rule changes that they’re thinking of the fans is BS.

  17. Deb, really? You don’t think that AFTER they started cracking down that some guys avoided hits that they would have taken before that? Listen, not every player in the NFL is as brain-damaged or as stubborn as Harrison and they get that the league is going to come after them and they’ve either changed or they’re going to change. Harrison and his pals believe that if they keep complaining that ownership will keep backing them up but eventually, even they will get it and they’ll tell them to shut up and get with the program. I think that the NFL just needs to keep cracking down until they get the message. I don’t want 18 games but the NFL seems bound and determined to have them and two more games means two more games with potential career ending injuries. It’s easy to be on the side of the defenders until one of your players gets Darryl Stingleyed and then how the tune changes. I can still remember how Steeler fans nearly stroked out after Turkey Jones made a wish with Terry Bradshaw and now, they won’t be swayed until Ray Lewis gives Big Ben a header that ends his season or his career before they see the light.

  18. @edge …

    A frying pan upside the head wouldn’t do your disposition any harm, but you’re too smart to be giving me the brain-damaged Harrison schtick. Half the fines against him came on legal hits. I know Goodell was using him as an object lesson–and he volunteered for the position by opening his mouth. But Rog could have handled it more effectively than make Harrison a martyr in the eyes of fellow defenders. And don’t think he didn’t.

    When I post about the failure of his methods, I am thinking about injuries to Steelers–specifically Ben’s broken nose and Heath Miller’s concussion. No I don’t want to see a Stingley in black and gold … or an Everett or Byrd. You’ve misread me the whole time. I don’t have any problem with the rules being enforced, but I have a big problem with Goodell doing his PR bit for the sole purpose of impressing Congress and feigning an interest in safety to the public.

    What he should have done was create video examples of legal and illegal hits so everyone would have a clear understanding: players, coaches, fans, and most important officials who don’t seem able to make the distinction. The rule is that egregious offenders will be ejected. That would get attention. You can’t reduce an ejection after the fact. The man needs to enforce the rules and stop playing King of the Mountain with his little fines and suspensions.

  19. Deb, that’s your opinion and if he were a Brown, I doubt that it would be the same. Some of his so-called “legal” hits were NOT legal but you guys have played it up as that way. Really, do you think that Goodell hates Harrison so much that he’d pour it on Harrison OR maybe it’s just the fact that Harrison just won’t stop his actions until he finally paralyzes himself (I doubt that he would ever care about what he’s done against another player). There have been several instances where you’ve seen legal hits (and not just on Harrison) that you can be shown that they weren’t legal but you insist on calling them legal. That being said, the legality of some of the “legal” hits comes from the letter of the law and NOT the spirit. For example, a running back is fair game but that’s a load of horse crap because not only should they not being using their helmet as a weapon against him JUST because he’s running BUT he shouldn’t be using it as well.

    I’m NOT a hypocrite about this like Harrison and the other defenders. On one hand, they cry about how they need to put skirts on the QB and these hits are part of the game and they’re tired of the NFL interfering in their ability to play the game and on the other hand, they’re talking out of the other side of the mouth to get them to stop leg whips and blocks below the waist and clipping and blocks when engaged with an offensive player because it impacts THEIR safety. Either you want it one way or the other but you can’t have it both and these guys want it both ways.

    You know what, if Goodell has to create a video to show the players what’s not legal then maybe they need to go back to school and not come back until they learn. Seriously, you don’t need a video to be shown that if you use your helmet as a weapon that it’s ILLEGAL. Rule of thumb: if you think that it’s borderline then it’s illegal and you need to avoid it. Hell, how many times have you seen a guy protest that he’s being persecuted by the league when he clearly hit a QB with a helmet and knocked him out. I don’t buy that “Woe is me” bull from these guys because they think that they can talk their way out of anything (Hell, I was the first one to condemn Flozell Adams for his bull crap and that’s when he was a Cowboy and that’s because I don’t like seeing players use cheap tactics to make up for their lack of talent).

  20. edge, no wonder you make people so livid. Maybe we should make you a video teaching listening skills.

    I’ve already said I don’t think Roger or the league targeted Pittsburgh. Roger does what’s expedient.

    No one should have to make veteran players, coaches, and officials videos showing them what is and isn’t legal. But since everyone is arguing about what is and isn’t legal, it would be nice if the league brought clarity to the situation. 🙄

    No, the rule shouldn’t be different for runners. We agree. I didn’t make those two rules. Nor, when I say he was fined for legal hits, am I referring to a hit on a runner. Stop assuming.

    No, I wouldn’t feel differently if it were another team. I don’t want to see anyone injured, and many fans of the Ravens, Bengals, and Browns have seen me defend their players, sometimes at the expense of ours.

    James doesn’t lack talent. He’s a former DMVP and was a finalist again this year. The league had no problem using James’s hits to publicize their product when it suited them, and now they’re telling him not to hit like that. If they weren’t such hypocritical bastards, we wouldn’t have many of these conflicts. Yes, James is mule stubborn. That’s his issue. But the league and its officials are inconsistent, and that certainly doesn’t help.

    We’ve beaten this one to death, edge. I’m not going on and on with you telling me I think the opposite of what I think and the opposite of what I’m saying. Save that for those twits you debate on CFT.

  21. Deb, I’m firmly convinced that if they made a film and made each and every player watch that film that 30 seconds after it was over that they’d all interpret it differently and 2 days later, they’d deny that they had ever seen an example that pertained to them.

    First of all, if you had paid any attention, you’d know that I got on to Goodell for his lateness to the party when it came to player safety. As far as I was concerned, most of what he’s reacted to was Congress making him tap-dance in front of the committee over the fact that the NFL didn’t seem to do as much about safety as they could. You’re not going to find me supporting Goodell’s efforts as something that he did out of the goodness of his heart because it isn’t.

    That being said, the owners have made no bones that they’re going to 18 games and the players have made known their concerns about safety. With Congress on his back and the players screaming about safety, Goodell addressed what is the easiest thing that they can change to make the game safer. I think it’s stupid for the defensive players to complain about issues that could affect THEIR career but scream bloody murder when it comes to people on the other side of the ball. Frankly, I think that if Harrison believes that it’s ok to continue to do this then the NFL should allow leg whips, tripping, clipping, double team blocking and all the things that they’ve done to make it safer for defenders and have kept their careers from ending years earlier than they do. Let’s see how quickly he puts on his skirt to complain and ask for protection like his colleagues did decades ago.

    As for the showing of hits, the NFL has done something to address that and I would expect that if they want to be taken seriously that they will continue to do something about keeping that footage off the air.

    Talk about Steeler calling the Raven black: you definitely need reading lesson. I didn’t say anything about Harrison’s talent, I was talking about Flozell Adams (Oh, I forgot, he’s now a Steeler so Adams=Harrison).

  22. ROFL … oh hush with that Adams = Harrison stuff. I thought you were talking about Harrison. Adams is a great mystery to me. I didn’t want him because he’s the tripping king. But he didn’t trip anyone this year (makes you wonder what they were teaching those Cowboys 😉 ) and the Steelers love love love this guy. Go figure.

    My perception has always been that the league was quicker to put in safety measures for offensive players than for defensive players–and quicker to call those penalties. I think you and I are basically on the same page, except in our attitudes toward James. Maybe I’m a little hyperdefensive where he’s concerned.

  23. Deb, since you don’t watch many (or any) Cowboys games, let me enlighten you on Flozell. He’s basically a guard playing tackle and his best position outside of right guard is right tackle on a PREDOMINATELY RUNNING team. While he is one of the best run blockers in the business, Adams has always been a crappy pass blocker and that’s why I always dreaded it when they were forced into an obvious pass situation. If you’ve ever paid attention, you’ll notice that his penalties ALL came on pass plays because quick defenders eat him alive. Put him at left tackle or change to a pass happy team and you’ll see why I didn’t shed a single tear when it came to discarding him for someone else.

  24. Actually, I do watch a lot of Cowboys games. They get a lot of airplay here. And, yes, he’s much more suited to a run-based team than a pass-based team. He struggled a lot on pass protection with us, too, but was sound against the run.

    From what I gather, he really won over his teammates with his attitude. Apparently he was quite a positive presence in the locker room during a difficult season–which is not something I would have associated with him when we picked him up. I really was against bringing him in because his tripping of Tuck in 09 was sooo blatant. Obviously I have a defensive bias, and didn’t want to bring in someone who’d do that. But I guess he was just overwhelmed in the position with his hearing issues. Moving him to the other side really seemed to help. Even if we can hang onto Colon–the guy he was subbing for–looks like we’ll keep him at least another year, though at a reduced salary.

  25. Deb, I’m not saying that he isn’t a good teammate, just that he can’t pass block as an OT to save his life. He’s a better run blocker but if you want to get the best out of him as a pass blocker, put him at guard but don’t try to use him as a pulling guard. 🙂

    You can listen to defenders and how they’ve talked about how the offense has been given the breaks but OTHER THAN QB, the biggest changes for the sake of safety have been towards the defense. Most changes that have helped the offense have been rules that outlawed bump and run or contact after they leave the line of scrimmage. You can talk about the defenseless player hits but then you have to overlook the changes to the blocking that the OL was allowed to do for years that ended the careers of many a defensive player. If the defenders believe that they’re putting skirts on the offense then let’s get rid of the skirts on the defense and see if guys who never had to put up with some of the offensive tactics that were legal when they were in their daddy’s sac, feel the same way if they got rid of those protections and made them deal with OL like their predecessors did. I guarantee you that Harrison and his buddies wouldn’t be so cavalier with their attitudes if OL were allowed to play like they did before.

  26. Perhaps there’s some truth to that. Harrison never had to play against the Raiders o-lines of the 70s. Chop-block central. I’m just so sensitive to attempts to make the game more high-scoring. To me, it’s predominately a game of inches. I love defense, trench warfare. But don’t want to see anyone injured. When my mother was a girl, a boy was killed on the field. I’m amazed it hasn’t happened in the NFL. We came too close with Kevin Everett. It just annoys me because I honestly don’t think Goodell’s primary interest is player safety–it’s avoiding Congressional oversight and working toward an 18-game season.

  27. Deb, I’m not saying that it wasn’t BUT whether it is or isn’t, the players need to stop acting stupid and get Goodell’s point. He’s made it his mission to make safety an issue and players can act like Big Ben and find out how serious he is with his Personal Conduct Policy or they can get with the program and try to extend everyone’s career. Some Steeler fans act as if he’s targeting the team BUT only in THIS respect: they’re too stupid to stop their antics. If you look at it objectively, you’ll see that they went after players on every team and they fined those that got away with being flagged and didn’t always fine those who got flagged because their hits were legal. As long as Harrison continues to act stupidly, the NFL IS going to “target” him but he could change teams and it would still have nothing to do with him being a Steeler but a bonehead.

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