NFL may crack down on penalties designed to manipulate the clock

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Call it the Chip Kelly Rule.

The NFL is considering a rules proposal that would make it unsportsmanlike conduct to commit multiple fouls on the same down, designed to manipulate the game clock. That rule is inspired by the 49ers’ defensive backs grabbing all of the Saints’ receivers late in the first half of a game last year, forcing the Saints to run a play that took precious seconds off the clock as they tried to score before halftime. Kelly acknowledged after the game that it was a tactic he had his team work on in practice.

Under the old rules, the 49ers were only called for defensive holding, which they were glad to take to allow time to run off the clock. Under the proposed rule, it would be both a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and the clock would be reset to where it was before the snap.

Kelly didn’t have the kind of impact he wanted to have in the NFL, failing with both the Eagles and the 49ers. But perhaps he’ll have the lasting legacy of forcing the NFL to adopt a new rule.

54 responses to “NFL may crack down on penalties designed to manipulate the clock

  1. He may have been fired by the Eagles, but he had a winning record with Vick, foles, and Bradford as his QBs. That’s not failing. (As an Eagles fan I still have a bad feeling we are Wentz not being as good as advertised from regretting letting chip go).

    That being said, so the NFL goes after Kelly and creates a rule based off one play, yet for 3 years a rash of “injuries” during Kelly lead offensive drives breaks out and the NFL sees nothing ??

  2. 1. So you just have a “designated” holder when trying to run time off the clock.

    2. Intent was never part of throwing a flag and assessing a penalty. This rule makes intent part of the penalty assessment.

  3. So if the score is close, any defensive penalty in the last several minutes of a half can be ruled unsportsmanlike and the clock reset.

  4. The Belichick affect. It happens every year, outsmart and embarrass a lazy opponent, opponent whines to NFL(Colts, Ravens), then a rule is made. Pathetic.

  5. How about ending “victory formation?” You have to actually run a real play. Bring back “The Miracle in the Meadowlands!” Herm Edwards would approve!

  6. thetroofishere says:
    Mar 24, 2017 5:26 AM
    The NFL may be going too far in trying to take the gamesmanship out.
    ——————
    Hate the word “gamesmanship” – people should say “ungamesmanship” because there is nothing manly or game about such actions. But anyway, they should penalize where possible – because of Cravens’ Crybaugh’s past habit of twice deliberately throwing the challenge flag to stop the game when he wasn’t challenging anything, and just picked it up but effectively stopped the game, the league now has penalties for it. Another rule violation that should be penalized but isn’t is the Bills habit of breaking the 15sec cutoff of tannoy horn blast on opponents’ 3rd downs, and the Dolphins’ habit of watering the field. Falcons were fined for noise-piping but Colts did it for all of Manning’s years and never once fined. That’s what was so ironic about the Colts & Cravens false accusations in deflategate.

  7. Kelly wants to get back to college football so bad, but can’t while the warrant for his punishment for recruiting violations is still active. Please hurry up and expire it, NCAA…This guy needs to be gone from the NFL…

  8. I wonder if Basketball should entertain a rule like that. It is incredibly hard to watch the last 3-4 minutes of a basketball game with the constant intentional fouling that goes on.

    I don’t think the rule is ‘going after Kelly’ so much as wanting to prevent the tactic from spreading.

    In the end, I think all it will do is create yet another ‘intent’ rule requiring a judgment call by the ref and teams that want to intentionally foul will just become more subtle about it.

    The punishment should fit the crime. Since the intent of the foul is to run time off the clock, why not stop the clock, move the game clock back to the previous spot game time + 10 seconds (kind of a reverse offensive delay penalty)? I don’t think the offense should be rewarded with 15 yds because of this lame tactic.

  9. This is a rule I’d stay away from. Teams will just improve their acting skills. It will be really tough for the refs to get these calls right. As far as Kelly goes, he took over a horrible Eagles team and posted back to back 10 win seasons. Then he lost out in an ugly front office politically motivated power struggle. Same thing with the dumpster fire in San Francisco (just like Jim Harbaugh did). Kelly is an awesome coach.

  10. This is one of the rule changes I would support. Is it a real football play for an entire defense to tackle and sit on the offense just to run out clock? It’s smart, but it’s still a bs loop hole that should be closed. Force a defense (or special teams if you remember the ravens doing this on a punt) to play real football and stop the opposition.

  11. Yep, the NFL is inspired to take out any coach who likes to think and plan know the rules. They stopped the Patriots legal formations, now they are considering this rule and also making it illegal to jump the long snapper on a kick. They are rewarding the Jeff Fisher type coaches in the league and penalizing the good ones. I guess the Steeler’s ownership must have complained about being outcoached and about the death of “smash mouth” (lining up and running obvious play after obvious play) football. Bah, humbug.

  12. Don’t be too quick to call Chip Kelly a failure in the NFL. There are far too many crappy head coaches in the league. Chip will get his shot again.

  13. Wow. The NFL has really gone into micro management mode. Unlikely it will speed up the flow of the game. Sometimes less is more.

    Mark Cuban for Commissioner!

  14. My recollection of this was the Ravens against Cincinnatti last year. Harbaugh had their offensive linemen grab and hold all the defenders while the punter took an intentional safety running the final 11 seconds off the clock. And since it was an offensive penalty the game could end on it. That postgame was where I first heard the question whether intentional penalties to gain advantage warranted further sanction. There were opinions both ways at the time.

  15. He may have been fired by the Eagles, but he had a winning record with Vick, foles, and Bradford as his QBs. That’s not failing. (As an Eagles fan I still have a bad feeling we are Wentz not being as good as advertised from regretting letting chip go).

    That being said, so the NFL goes after Kelly and creates a rule based off one play, yet for 3 years a rash of “injuries” during Kelly lead offensive drives breaks out and the NFL sees nothing ??

    ===============
    The problem with this statement…he had a winning record with Reid’s roster. As soon as his thumb print really got on the roster you could see he wasn’t going to be successful.

  16. Great, so now I can listen to some tool argue whether this was an intentional foul for two minutes right before cutting to a commercial. Thrilling.

  17. Always make me think back to the sun night football game with the giants (maybe against the saints, 2011-ish). And three giants defenders fell down in the end zone “injured” at the same time. If you are gonna fake an injury, make sure that 10 of your 11 know they aren’t supposed to fall down…

  18. During the 2011 Super Bowl the Giants played with 12 (or more) defenders during the Patriots last drive. They were willing to give up the penalty for too many men on the field in exchange for the time off the clock.

    They beat the Pats fair and square that day but that final drive never sat quite right with me. Perhaps the best way to offset that would have been to take a quick knee to preserve time on the clock since putting time back on the clock was not part of the rules?

  19. You don’t think that the Alabama braintrust doesn’t regret not having forced Clemson to bypass winning the Championship game to kick a game tying fg at ‘0:0’?

    This rule change is needed badly. It is a very basic fix–allow a team that is the victim of a penalty under 30 seconds the option to have the time of the play put back on the clock, in addition to the penalized yardage.

  20. I know it is popular to bash the nfl for micromanaging the product–often those criticizing are correct with the criticism. But not this time.

    This is not a case of nfl micromanaging, this is a case of nfl stepping in to fix an obvious flaw in the system before every coach in the league starts to utilize it. Do it now, or do it later after every fan complains about it.

  21. davedsone says:
    Mar 24, 2017 7:45 AM
    Yep, the NFL is inspired to take out any coach who likes to think and plan know the rules. They stopped the Patriots legal formations, now they are considering this rule and also making it illegal to jump the long snapper on a kick. They are rewarding the Jeff Fisher type coaches in the league and penalizing the good ones. I guess the Steeler’s ownership must have complained about being outcoached and about the death of “smash mouth” (lining up and running obvious play after obvious play) football. Bah, humbug.
    _______________________

    Nah, they are just updating rules that are becoming dated as the game/player evolves. They changed fumble-advancement rules after the holy roller. They made goaltending on field goals illegal. I’m sure a ton of the rules we know today weren’t rules when the game was invented, and vice versa.

    Being “outcoached” in X’s and O’s is one thing, but when your rule exploits go so far that it doesn’t resemble football anymore, that’s not being outcoached, it’s being hoodwinked. The NFL doesn’t need (or want) hoodwinking in their games.

  22. While they are involved in this area, NFL needs to consider that a time with a 17 pt lead should not benefit from the game clock winding when they commit a penalty with 6 minutes to go in the game. Another flaw that inevitably will be corrected.

  23. tonebones says:
    Mar 24, 2017 7:09 AM
    This is a rule I’d stay away from. Teams will just improve their acting skills. It will be really tough for the refs to get these calls right. As far as Kelly goes, he took over a horrible Eagles team and posted back to back 10 win seasons. Then he lost out in an ugly front office politically motivated power struggle. Same thing with the dumpster fire in San Francisco (just like Jim Harbaugh did). Kelly is an awesome coach.
    ______________________________________________

    He posted back to back 10 win seasons with Andy’s players, gets full control of the player decisions for year 3, guts the team and gets “his” kind of players, goes 6-9 and you think he’s an awesome coach? Lurie couldn’t wait to get rid of this fraud after that disaster.

  24. RandyinRoxbury says:
    Mar 24, 2017 7:16 AM
    Chipper, another innovative genius..lol
    ===================

    Yep, what is it with guys named Chip? None are anywhere near as clever as they think they are.

    chip…chip

  25. There’s a difference between a coach calling an unusual play that narrowly conforms with the rule and calling a play designed to fool the refs so they don’t recognize a penalty when they should. The former is the subject of this story. The latter is what Belichick does.

  26. “It is incredibly hard to watch the last 3-4 minutes of a basketball game with the constant intentional fouling that goes on.”

    I hear you, man, but I actually find it hard to watch any of it.

  27. The only thing this rule change would do is force teams to be less obvious. What if teams do what the Giants did in the Super Bowl and just leave an extra guy on the field? How are you going to prove it was intentional?

    And as another poster pointed out- It is ironic that Kelly is at the center of this. Players faked injuries so often to slow his offense down that you could have turned it into a drinking game.

  28. agbnewfoundlaw says:
    Mar 24, 2017 8:28 AM
    He may have been fired by the Eagles, but he had a winning record with Vick, foles, and Bradford as his QBs. That’s not failing. (As an Eagles fan I still have a bad feeling we are Wentz not being as good as advertised from regretting letting chip go).

    That being said, so the NFL goes after Kelly and creates a rule based off one play, yet for 3 years a rash of “injuries” during Kelly lead offensive drives breaks out and the NFL sees nothing ??

    ===============
    The problem with this statement…he had a winning record with Reid’s roster. As soon as his thumb print really got on the roster you could see he wasn’t going to be successful.

    ————————————————————

    hey bright guy, did you know that Andy Reid roster was 4-12 that he took over….he performed a miracle with Andy Reid’s roster by the looks of it….current dimwit post of the day leader

  29. dezolationangel says:
    Mar 24, 2017 9:24 AM
    tonebones says:
    Mar 24, 2017 7:09 AM
    This is a rule I’d stay away from. Teams will just improve their acting skills. It will be really tough for the refs to get these calls right. As far as Kelly goes, he took over a horrible Eagles team and posted back to back 10 win seasons. Then he lost out in an ugly front office politically motivated power struggle. Same thing with the dumpster fire in San Francisco (just like Jim Harbaugh did). Kelly is an awesome coach.
    ______________________________________________

    He posted back to back 10 win seasons with Andy’s players, gets full control of the player decisions for year 3, guts the team and gets “his” kind of players, goes 6-9 and you think he’s an awesome coach? Lurie couldn’t wait to get rid of this fraud after that disaster.

    ———————————————————–

    Andy must have had a great group of guys to post a 4-12 record his final year …. and then get fired for his horrible coaching as soon as the season ends …. Kelly still won more games in his third year than Andy and his special players won in Andy’s final year

  30. takeyourpunishmentandquitwhininglikeababy says:
    Mar 24, 2017 9:36 AM
    There’s a difference between a coach calling an unusual play that narrowly conforms with the rule and calling a play designed to fool the refs so they don’t recognize a penalty when they should. The former is the subject of this story. The latter is what Belichick does.

    Perhaps the refs should learn the rule book so they understand it as well as BB does.

  31. takeyourpunishmentandquitwhininglikeababy says:
    Mar 24, 2017 9:36 AM
    There’s a difference between a coach calling an unusual play that narrowly conforms with the rule and calling a play designed to fool the refs so they don’t recognize a penalty when they should. The former is the subject of this story. The latter is what Belichick does.

    ——————
    I think you meant to say that Belichick does the former not the latter. The case in all this Belichick is known for was using a perfectly legal formation that he knew the opponent was not looking for (never forget how sharp his eye is, he notes what opposing players are and are not focusing their attention on during games) and he did follow all proceedures (declaring the ineligible guy to the refs) and the refs did too by advising the opposing team both players and sideline and announcing it on the stadium PA. That gamble paid off, the opposing team never processed what they were being told and got caught totally unawares. He even noted afterwards that the opponent still had not grasped the point so he did it a second time right there within that same game. Despite the opposing coach being very upset (he called it cheating at the time but history shows he had later revised that opinion by requesting a rule change and even doing something similar himself) the league did uphold that as a fully legal play.

    There is also the case (and this is what the article speaks to) where Harbaugh instructed his team to committ penalties on purpose so that the play would keep running and burn up the clock. Although the penalties themselves are illegal there was no attempt to disguise them as anything else and he was plenty willing to accept the consequences of the penalties. Of course the game had run out which was what he wanted so it was a win for him. The best there is for a rule saying a coach cant do that would be to interpret it as unsportsmanlike conduct but I’m sure Harbaugh would have cheerfully eaten that too. IMHO Harbaugh, despite intentionally breaking rules, did not ‘cheat’ since he wasnt trying to disguise or get away with anything, he simply did the math and opted to pay the penalty. I realize there are other opinions and arguments that can be made each way but the fact that the league felt they needed a rule change after the fact I think means they considered Harbaugh to be staying within the rule book on the day of the game.

    The third possibility is the thing that is above being unfairly attributed to Belichick. I say unfairly because B’s modus is to stay within the rules always and rigidly but to interpret them carefully and come up with ways to catch opponents off guard. It is not, as stated above, to disguise illegal behavior so that no one notices it. In fact, the level of scrutiny he operates under renders that a fools errand should he ever try. I am not aware of him or other coaches pulling that off, its something too easily caught by others even if they were to slide by the refs. Since the coaches are not on the field playing I am assuming this is not a reference to grabbing with an inside hand and things like that which do happen.

  32. @nepatriot1: How about that Tuck Rule, buddy?

    Horrible “call”. Even Tommy admits it was a fumble and Stevie Wonder agrees.

    What did the NFL do?

    They waited until Al Davis died before changing the rule that launced your dirty franchise.

    Carry on, chowds.

    RAIDER NATION

  33. takeyourpunishmentandquitwhininglikeababy says:
    Mar 24, 2017 9:36 AM
    There’s a difference between a coach…
    ======================

    Doesn’t matter the id of the sock puppet, there’s no mistaking PFT’s chipster at work

  34. You can not legislate morality I don’t know what that means but it sounds smart also change all rules every year yeah team

  35. mullman76 says:
    Mar 24, 2017 11:36 AM
    @nepatriot1: How about that Tuck Rule, buddy?

    Horrible “call”. Even Tommy admits it was a fumble and Stevie Wonder agrees.

    What did the NFL do?

    They waited until Al Davis died before changing the rule that launced your dirty franchise.

    Carry on, chowds.

    RAIDER NATION

    ———————

    Tommy never said it was a fumble and its kind of cold referencing Stevie Wonder’s handicap that way.

    What was said was that the call was correct but on hindsight it would be better if the rules, which had been in place for years, be updated so that going forward such plays would indeed be called as fumbles. I dont think Al Davis’s passing had any factor in their thinking.

    The Patriots are still launched today 16 years later. Life seems to be quite good up there.

    The Raiders have used this one play in one game as an excuse for 15 years of failure (the 16th year, last year was a tragedy not anyones fault) and 16 years later their fans are still posting those type comments.

  36. Tee hee 🙂 Look at silly Patriot Hater thinking the puny little weaklings they call their team ever belonged on the same field as US, the NFL’s Greatest Dynasty, the reigning and 5 time World Champion Patriots! 🙂

    Tee hee 🙂 So freaking hilarious!

    #UrNotInOURLeague
    #UrNotOnOURLevel
    #UDontMeasureUpToUS
    #UNeverWillMeasureUpToUS
    #QuitPretendingThatYouDo
    #DontBeMadJustKnowYourPlace
    #BowToTheChamps
    #BowToYourMaster
    #WeOwnU
    #AllHailTheWorldChampionPatriots
    #AllHailTheKing
    #AllHailTheRulersOfTheNFL

  37. I wonder what the World Champion Patriots are doing today? 🙂 Do you think they’re busy polishing all 5 of their GLORIOUS SHINY RADIANT Lombardi trophies?

    I do. It really is important to keep them shiny you know. I can’t stress that enough.

  38. mullman76 says:
    Mar 24, 2017 11:36 AM

    @nepatriot1: How about that Tuck Rule, buddy?

    Horrible “call”. Even Tommy admits it was a fumble and Stevie Wonder agrees.

    What did the NFL do?

    They waited until Al Davis died before changing the rule that launced your dirty franchise.

    Carry on, chowds.

    RAIDER NATION
    ***********************************************
    This is hilarious. The Raiders couldn’t stop NE after the correct application of the tuck rule, they tried to ice Vinatieri on the game tying field goal thus allowing him time to clear a better place to kick from, they couldn’t block that field goal even though it was about 8 ft off the ground at its peak, and they couldn’t stop NE from marching down the field and winning the game in over time. And yet Raider yahoos complain 16 years later that they deserved to win?

    Hey, next time maybe try to keep playing even if you face some adversity during a game? That might have helped this year in that wild card game vs Houston, but the Raiders had all packed it in as soon as Carr went down. Soft team. Loser mentality. Blame the refs. Quit as the first sign of adversity.

  39. mullman76 says:
    Mar 24, 2017 11:36 AM

    @nepatriot1: How about that Tuck Rule, buddy?

    Horrible “call”. Even Tommy admits it was a fumble and Stevie Wonder agrees.

    —-
    Snake admitted he wasn’t touched, and he was right. So I call it even!

    🙂

  40. “I could never play for the Raiders. Their fanbase are a bunch of idiots”
    — A real quote from Tom Brady

    Tee hee 🙂

  41. Many talk about how dumb chip Kelly was as a coach. Well, he got his millions, not to dump to fool teams out of that. Good college Coach where gimmicks can work in an ocean of players and teams. But once you move to the mud puddle where only the best fight to live gimmicks won’t work. That’s why running qbs still don’t pan out.

  42. Talk about whiners, Raiders fans still whining about 1 play in a game they lost in January 2002, 15 years ago in case you care. No bigger crybabies than NFL fans.

    You hate us ’cause you ain’t us, as the saying goes.

  43. They also slowed down the game to stop Kelly fast break drives which is what put his offense out of business. Thanks to Jeff Fischer Marvin Lewis and Tomlin defensive coaches on the rules committee, which by the way is the reason that catches may or may not be catches.

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