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 Football changes coming soon? 
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Whatever the NFL does to the rules, they must find a way to limit the injuries that are happening in the game currently. It's ridiculous how many players on each team get hurt each season. These are human beings just playing a game, and getting paid to do so. The NFL needs to learn to protect them. This game shouldn't be about which team can stay healthy.


May 10th, 2005, 8:41 pm
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The danger in having the NFL do more to protect the players is that they would most likely do that through rules changes. They have done that, and it detracts from the game, IMO. Treating QBs like they are made of rice paper, fining players for making legal hits across the middle, etc.

I agree that I would prefer to see teams play with their starters and win or lose on their merits. However, injuries are a part of the game. As players get stronger and faster there is little that can be done to protect them outside of larger, bulkier equipment. And that would likewise detract from the game.

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May 11th, 2005, 11:08 am
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I'm just going to disagree.

I realize that injuries are part of the game. But in no sport should 30% of a team be lost to injuries, like it has happened in Football. It's not an issue in other main sports. Teams like Tennessee have been completely decimated by injuries and because of that, lost money as interest in the teams go down as they are losing, and are hurt.

I don't think that making a few suddle changes will effect the game that much. Late hits could be corrected. Where players are tackle could be fixed (ex, the TO tackle, over the back of a player). Cut blocks could be eliminated. Blindsiding could be avoided. You could still have football games that are interesting, while realizing that safety of the players is a concern and needs to be addressed.


May 11th, 2005, 2:50 pm
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Brian wrote:
Where players are tackle could be fixed (ex, the TO tackle, over the back of a player)


The horse-collar tackle was voted to become a penalty this season.


May 11th, 2005, 3:06 pm
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I don't know how to find out for sure but I'd love to know what causes most injuries.

The injuries you listed Brian, while they could have more meaningful penalties against them; probably are not causing players to miss games due to injury. IE, how many late hits are called in a season Vs. how many games are missed by the player who was hit?

Again, I don't know but rather I'm guessing, that the vast majority of injuries are things like ankle sprains, muscle pulls, hamstrings, turf injuries, etc. Major things like ACL's and concussions - I'll bet most (certainly not all) of those came from legitimate hits not dirty plays like cut blocks or blindsides.

I could be way off but it would be good to know.


May 11th, 2005, 3:10 pm
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I can agree with the cut blocks,late hits, blindsiding and the lasso tackle on Owens. Those should be eliminated. Other than the cut blocks however, that accounts for very, very few injuries. Most injuries that take place do not involve 'questionable' plays.

Injuries occur in football because of the nature of the game, not because the NFL doesn't do enough to protect the players. Looking at the manner in which football is played, no other sports compare to the level of force being distributed. Hockey is second, but a distant second. The hitting in football takes place on every play, for nearly every player. Hockey hits aren't nearly as violent as often.

It is my understanding that the NFL is funding equipment research and development by various sporting goods companies. The new helmets (Revolution) that reduce concussions is a product of that. There is additional research into better shoulder pads, hip pads and joint braces to resist knee and elbow injuries. I think the NFL and suppliers of equipment are doing what they can, but the game is what the game is.

Look how many players have gotten injured in the past few mini-camps that had nothing to do with contact. How can you reduce that?

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May 11th, 2005, 3:11 pm
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Brian wrote:
I'm just going to disagree.

I realize that injuries are part of the game. But in no sport should 30% of a team be lost to injuries, like it has happened in Football. It's not an issue in other main sports. Teams like Tennessee have been completely decimated by injuries and because of that, lost money as interest in the teams go down as they are losing, and are hurt.

I don't think that making a few suddle changes will effect the game that much. Late hits could be corrected. Where players are tackle could be fixed (ex, the TO tackle, over the back of a player). Cut blocks could be eliminated. Blindsiding could be avoided. You could still have football games that are interesting, while realizing that safety of the players is a concern and needs to be addressed.



I suppose you're also against plays like the one in the opening of "The last Boy Scout" with Bruce Willis. The scene where the running back pulls out the pistol and shoots the defender.

You're such a kill joy Brian!


May 11th, 2005, 3:20 pm
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Quote:
May 20, 2005, 1:04 PM ET

Cowboys' Williams target of rule change

By Len Pasquarelli
ESPN.com


When the NFL outlawed the head slap, the synapse-numbing move popularized by Deacon Jones that rendered pass-blockers dazed and senseless, it didn't name the rule for the former Los Angeles Rams star.

But everyone knew it was the Hall of Fame defensive end, maybe the greatest pass-rusher in NFL history, who precipitated the sanctions with the terror he wrought.


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Terrell Owens suffered torn ankle ligaments from this tackle by Roy Williams.


Nowhere in the NFL officiating handbook, either, will you find reference to the so-called "Isaac Curtis Rule." It was incessant muggings of the former Cincinnati Bengals wideout by cornerbacks, however, that forced the league to deign receivers could not be hit once they were more than 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

Earlier this year, when the NFL banned certain peel-back blocks against unsuspecting defenders, few specifically singled out Denver Broncos offensive tackle George Foster as a culprit. Unless you live in a cave, though, and never viewed any of the thousands of replays that graphically illustrate the cheap shot Foster used against Tony Williams, which broke the ankle of the Bengals defensive lineman, you know whose indiscretion served as catalyst for the new rule.

And so next week, when owners figure to expunge the "horse-collar" tackle, as they convene for two days of meetings in Washington, count on the banishment being known, at least temporarily, as the "Roy Williams Rule."

"I guess that I have arrived," the Dallas Cowboys safety said when apprised of the pending action against a technique that he has used since college.

Maybe so. But the horse-collar tackle that Williams perfected, perhaps to excess, appears to be going, going, almost gone. Most observers, including Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, co-chairman of the NFL's powerful competition committee, think the horse-collar tackle is about to exit the game for good.

McKay has been around long enough to know the imprudence of trying to prognosticate the outcome of any NFL vote. But assuming the recommendation of the competition committee is brought to a roll call in Washington ? the matter was tabled at the annual league meetings in Maui, Hawaii, just two months ago ? sanctions against the horse-collar tackle are expected to be immediately enacted.

The tackle, in which a defender grabs onto a ball carrier or receiver by the inside of the shoulder pads from behind and then yanks him down, will result in a 15-yard penalty. To distinguish between a horse-collar tackle and a tackle that occurs during close, in-line play, the foul must occur at least 3 yards outside the "tackle box," essentially in the open field.

While Williams is hardly the lone defender in the league to employ the technique, the fact he seriously injured four players in 2004 while using the horse-collar move to drag them down in the secondary clearly provided the biggest impetus for outlawing the tackle.

In each of the four cases in which players were injured by Williams, the competition committee determined the Dallas safety had ignored the opportunity to make a more conventional tackle.

"There are some plays, maybe that fall into the gray area at times, that don't belong in our game," said Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, the other co-chairman of the competition committee. "And we've determined that's one of them."

The committee concluded, McKay said, there were six horse-collar tackles in '04 that resulted in serious injuries. The most infamous, of course, was Williams' much-reviewed drag-down tackle on Terrell Owens after a 20-yard reception. The play, in the 14th game of the year, resulted in a broken right leg and severely sprained ankle for the Philadelphia star, and sidelined him for the final two regular-season contests and the first two playoff outings. Owens returned, famously, for Super Bowl XXXIX, playing against the orders of the specialist who treated him, and with two surgical screws in his leg.

In the eyes of most observers, the tackle against Owens will forever serve as the incident that most affected the competition committee and forced a review of the technique. But it was not the only horse-collar tackle that resulted in a debilitating injury.

San Diego wide receiver Reche Caldwell is still rehabilitating from the torn right anterior cruciate ligament he sustained last Oct. 17, when he was tackled by Atlanta Falcons defensive back Aaron Beasley.

"It's like you're stopped in your tracks, first off, and then yanked back (violently)," said Caldwell, recalling the tackle that knocked him out for the final six games of the season. "The (torque) imposed on your body, with you going one way and then suddenly pulled the opposite direction and then down, is just too much."

In a league where players and coaches annually insist little is new under the sun, the horse-collar tackle isn't exactly a technique recently introduced. But there has been a convergence of events ? the increased use of the horse-collar move in a league where form tackling is clearly a diminished skill, the recent spate of serious injuries, and the NFL's diligence in matters related to player safety ? that directed new focus to it.

As with all rules changes, three-quarters of the NFL's 32 owners must vote for the horse-collar sanction for it to be approved. It appeared in March, at the meetings in Maui, that there were sufficient votes to adopt the rule. But the issue was tabled because there were still some issues with the language of the rule and the owners and the committee felt the verbiage needed to be refined.

Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, who is believed to favor the horse-collar rule, was among those who sought more clarification.

"I think all of us are for the safety of the players ? but you just can't indiscriminately pass that rule," Parcells said. "What about the running back (going) through the line? I mean, are you allowed to tackle him like that, or are the linemen not allowed to do that, either? Then how are (the linemen) going to get the guy? The obvious open-field case, like what happened with (Williams), OK, we want to protect the player, but how is that going to be officiated? To just say 'no horse collar at all,' that includes a lot of things."

McKay acknowledged the issue of the horse-collar tackle wasn't brought to the attention of the competition committee until just before the March league meetings, and thus did not receive as much review by the group as some other matters. It was not, for instance, discussed at the pre-draft scouting combine in February, where the committee typically huddles, and where rules changes often originate."

It came to us sort of late in the going," McKay said. "So, in that sense, maybe it was better that it was (originally) tabled. We've had more time to tighten the language, and to take any ambiguity out of it. If you read the rule as it is now, and as it will be presented to the owners, it's pretty clear that it applies to open-field tackles. There shouldn't be any questions about that."

Even to this day, the competition committee has never spoken to Williams about the play. Still, the league appears poised to move forward with the horse-collar moratorium.

And Williams, a three-year veteran and former first-round draft choice, seems prepared to become the latest player to have his name unofficially affixed to a rules change. He also is resigned to having to alter at least one technique in his tackling repertoire.


"It doesn't bother me, but I think it's a crazy rule," Williams told the Dallas Morning News. "If an offensive player beats you, what other way is there to bring him down? You can't arm-tackle guys, because they're too big, too fast. There's only one open place to grab and bring him down if he's running away from you."

Is it fair? No. But rules are rules. I'll deal with it."



Quote:
No horsing around

Cowboys safety Roy Williams is hardly the lone defender in the league to employ the so-called "horse-collar" tackle, but his play in 2004 was certainly the principle catalyst for a proposed rules change to outlaw the technique. Here are four examples of Williams' use of the horse-collar tackle in 2004 that were reviewed by the NFL competition committee:

? In an Aug. 30 preseason game, Williams dragged down Tennessee wide receiver Tyrone Calico on a second-quarter end-around play that was nullified by a holding penalty. On the play, Calico sprained both knees, and suffered a cartilage tear in his left knee. Calico had arthroscopic surgery to repair the cartilage, and he missed the first three games of the regular season.

? Williams knocked out a pair of Baltimore tailbacks, starter Jamal Lewis and backup Musa Smith, within minutes of each other in a Nov. 21 game. On a play early in the first quarter, he horse-collared Lewis after a three-yard reception, sending the Ravens star to the sideline. Lewis returned for one play on the ensuing series, but then limped off with a badly sprained left ankle, which sidelined him for the balance of that game and for the following two contests. The injury sustained by Smith, a compound fracture of the right tibia, was far more serious and sidelined the second-year veteran for the final six games of the year. The play occurred with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter, with Williams tackling Smith after a 12-yard run off right tackle.

? Undoubtedly the most infamous horse-collar tackle by Williams came in the Cowboys' game at Philadelphia on Dec. 19. Williams pulled down wide receiver Terrell Owens in the third quarter at the end of a 20-yard catch-and-run by the Eagles star. Owens was bent back on the play and broke his right leg and severely sprained his ankle. He missed the final two games of the season, and also Philadelphia's first two playoff outings, before returning for Super Bowl XXXIX.

--Len Pasquarelli




I know this is a long story - but there's a lot of good information in here. And I certainly was not aware that this technique is used so much by Roy Williams.


May 20th, 2005, 8:19 pm
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Post Roy Williams (Cowboys) Rule Passes
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NFL | Roy Williams Rule Passes - from www.KFFL.com
Tue, 24 May 2005 16:30:47 -0700

Rick Gosselin, of the the Dallas Morning News, reports the NFL passed the "Roy Williams" rule Tuesday, May 24. The rule outlaws the horse-collar tackle. The measure passed by a 27-5 vote with the Cowboys, Detroit, New England, New Orleans and San Francisco all voting against.




Anyone know why Detroit took a position against this rule?


May 24th, 2005, 10:35 pm
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Well, three of the teams, Dallas, Detroit, and New England all have enforcers in their Defensive backfields. Maybe they wnat to let their guys use that tackle. I am just specualting of course.

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May 25th, 2005, 7:57 am
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I haven't taken a long look at the rule, but I can see why some teams have an issue with it - consistency. From what I can tell, the rule only applies in certain parts of the field. For example, if the horse collar tackle occurs at the line of scrimmage it is ok - but if it happens in the defensive backfield it is a penalty. So, DL can still tackle this way but DBs cannot.

The intent of the rule to ban this type of tackle is not bad. The way it is written leaves much to be desired IMO. The tackle needs to be either legal or illegal - period.

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May 25th, 2005, 9:39 am
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I can understand the fact that they don't want to ban this tackle within the same zone as the 'no clipping' zone. Tackle to tackle and three yards on either side of the LOS. Defensive lineman often don't have control over that type of a tackle. But in the secondary the players are mostly using this tackle because it is much easier than a typical form tackle. When a player is in the open field and that tackle is made, it is far more traumatic than it being performed on a player maneuvering around the line.

I can only imagine that the reason the Lions and the other four teams objected has more to do with wording within the rules, or the vagueness of the final draft, rather than objecting to the actual tackle being penalized.

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May 25th, 2005, 10:43 am
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Quote:
Lions peek at new rules lions notebook

Play's bystanders get protection


August 5, 2005

BY CHRIS SILVA
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER




It's almost standard procedure.

Whenever NFL referee Pete Morelli introduces rules changes to teams, he says the players have one burning question:

"What's the fine going to be?"

Morelli's job is to convince them the answer is: "Not worth it."

Members of the NFL's officiating operations visited the Lions' practice facility Thursday to discuss the 13 rules changes effective this season. They showed a video detailing the changes and held a Q & A afterward.

Among changes that will result in 15-yard penalties:


?Peel-back blocks are illegal, to protect defenders from leg injuries. In NFL-ese, when "a lineman who's in the tackle box at the snap and moves to a position outside the box, he can't initiate contact on the side or behind and below the waist of an opponent if the blocker is moving toward his own end line, and approaches the opponent from behind or the side."


?"Unnecessarily running, diving into, or throwing the body against or on a player who is out of the play" will be ruled unnecessary roughness.


?A kicker or punter who is "standing still or fading backwards after the ball is kicked, is out of the play and must not be unnecessarily contacted by the receiving team through the end of the play or until he assumes a defensive position," like trying to make a tackle.


"To have him put out of the game is just horrendous," Morelli said. "So basically what they decided to do is protect this guy as a quarterback."


Helmet-to-helmet contact on a kicker or punter also is against the rules. It's something that Giants punter Jeff Feagles endured in a menacing hit by Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter last season.

Lions punter Nick Harris scoffed at the changes.

"It's pretty ambiguous," he said. "The punter is a defensive player. There are some guys who will back away and just ole like a matador in Spain, but I think it's almost embarrassing, like they're trying to protect us too much."



Interesting!

Let's hope the Lions are not going to test the new rules out. 15 yards each.


August 5th, 2005, 7:21 am
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