NFL's new helmet rule passes unanimously

NFL weighing changes to catch rule

NFL owners have unanimously approved a proposal to change the league's catch rule, according to a report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

NFL owners voted on Tuesday to overturn the league's confusing catch rule, but will the new verbiage make a difference?

As the NFL considered changing the catch rule, NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron said the Competition Committee reverse-engineered the process to ensure language would turn catches like Jesse James' overturned TD versus the Patriots into receptions. The new rule says that a ball is deemed a reception when the player has control of the ball, two feet down - or another body part - and makes a football move. If it is a defensive player, the penalty will result in an automatic first down.

"It got to us that we need to put objective standards as the third act - objective", McKay said.

But the National Football League did not publicly divulge those deliberations or acknowledge any proposal about the new rule until Tuesday. I feel like they didn't do a good job on that.

The James call was particularly impactful because the Steelers wound up losing to New England in a December game that determined home-field advantage for the playoffs.

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There have been several more rule adjustments made so far this offseason to provide a more smooth and safer style of play on the field.

Once again, the National Football League has a new catch rule.

Rich McKay, chairman of the competition committee and president and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons, called it "a significant change", noting that it was a "technique too risky for the player doing it and the player being hit". The latter was likely influenced by a late hit last season from Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski.

The rule banning the use of the helmet to initiate contact was instituted to protect players. The play ultimately got him suspended one game, but he was not removed from the game that the hit occurred in. In 2017, this rule cost the New York Jets a major upset when Austin Sefarian Jenkins fumbled just in front of the goalline. "All indications are he will be back healthy by the time we start playing in September".

Officially, it's Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8.Here it is, in its entirety: "It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent."Penalty: Loss of 15 yards. This is a pretty substantial step backward saying take it out". The term "surviving the ground" seemed to be the motto of the league when it came to explaining the rule when confirming or overturning a catch that went under review.

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