2013 NFL Rule Changes: Are you ready for some Foosball?

Allison Joyce

In the pursuit of making changes that ensures player safety the league covers it's butt against potential lawsuits, the NFL has made a few more rule changes that should again water down the physicality of the game. Let's run down a few of these rules in particular shall we?

"Tuck Rule" eliminated: About a dozen years too late. Bottom line, the only impression I have from the Tuck rule is it helped propel Mr. Gisele and Hoodie to prominence. Sure wasn't called in the Bronco/Raven playoff game when it happened to Peyton. A fumble is a fumble and this was one of those stupid rules that attempted to throw common sense out the window. Bronco Mike bids the tuck rule adieu, farewell, and goodbye.

Now that one isn't leading to the sissy-fication of the game I love but the next rules are:

Long Snapper is the cushiest gig in the league: On extra points and field goals, the defender has to be clear of both shoulders of the long snapper (ie no one lines up on him, pushes him, sneezes on him, or calls his mama ugly). Also you can't load up one side of the line (more than 6 defenders). So you can't rush up the middle where the kicker is lined up, and you can't load one side or push your own players from behind. I hear next years docket will eliminate the action of "leaping" as to protect the players from stubbing their toe when they land.

Runners can no longer initiate contact with their helmets in the open field: I've heard Jim Brown say things in support that say "I didn't use my head, I used my shoulder" blah blah. The head is connected to the neck, the neck is connected to the torso where the shoulders are. If you lead with the shoulder you're favoring one side of the other, because if you straight lower your shoulder the head comes with it. The ball carrier also has the added inconvenience of protecting the ball while others rip at it. The hands and arms protection only goes so far. If the league is truly interested in eliminating concussions, just designate every game as the pro bowl and watch in hilarity as this happens.

Now PC do-gooders out there will call me barbaric or label me as vicious for disagreeing with rules that supposedly promote player welfare. I don't care, go for it. Bottom line, when the league (and Goodell) started levying fines and suspensions against players for helmet to helmet hits, they did so while simultaneously pandering videos that glorified these hits. The league does not care for the players anymore than Joe Schmo on the street. They only started caring once their pocketbooks were threatened due to litigation. But this is only one layer in my stance against rule changes that water down the game.

Football is a violent sport, bottom line. You have physical freaks of nature that collide on every play. You're never going to eliminate injuries or chronic issues that may arrive later in a players life unless you eliminate all contact across the board. The very nature of football is to impose your will on the opposite side. And if you're reading this and shaking your head in disagreement, ask yourself this--Do you want the identity of your team to be finesse or smash mouthed?

The NFL seems to be more knee-jerk than proactive. Brian Cushing gets chop blocked by Matt Slauson in the open field and goes down for the year. Whoops, someone got hurt better change the rule. Stevan Riddley leads with his head meets the Patriot Killer Bernard Pollard head on and knocks himself out cold. Whoops someone got hurt better change the rule.

Bottom line, I know the nature of the beast and football is a contact sport. You can agree or disagree with me, but I want Goodell and the competition committee to stay the hell out of legislating the game to the point where it no longer resembles what it should be. Players hit, sustain injuries---it's part of the game. You want to make some impact in players lives? How bout the NFL gives retired players health care coverage and a better pension once they leave the game. Until that day comes, the players involved know the risks and are willing participants.

But really, if you're still bent out of shape about it try this. Don't watch another NFL game, attend any Broncos games, buy any Broncos gear and boycott football on every level. We know that won't happen though.

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