Updated 4:30 p.m. MDT
More announcements out of the NFL Annual Meeting — the league has announced several rule changes, one rule “adjustment” and a couple points of emphasis for the 2009 season.
First, the adjustment. Defenders that are knocked down to the ground can no longer lunge at a quarterback below the knees if the play is ongoing. Taking a swipe to try to cause a sack is acceptable, but diving when the defender is already on the ground will not be allowed.
Most of the rule changes have to do with player safety.
First, the initial force of a blindside block cannot be made by a helmet, forearm or shoulder to an opponent’s head or neck. That will draw a 15-yard penalty.
Second, initial contact to the head of a “defenseless” receiver will draw a 15-yard penalty.
Third, a blocking wedge on kickoffs cannot consist of more than two players. That’s a 15-yard penalty as well.
Fourth, also on kickoffs, the team attempting to recover an onside kick cannot have more than five players bunched together. That’s a 5-yard penalty.
Finally, on Wednesday the NFL owners concluded their annual meeting by deciding to alter the draft order from picks No. 21 – 30 based on the respective teams’ success in the playoffs. The first picks will still be doled out based on record, but, for example, the losers in the wild card round of the playoffs will select No. 21 – No. 24 based on record. It goes that way until the Super Bowl loser at No. 31 and the winner at No. 32.
That rule will go into effect in 2010.
Two more minor rules were also adopted. First, if a fumble or backwards pass goes out of bounds, the clock will start when the official places the ball in play. Second, the NFL eliminated a second chance onside kick if the first onside kick goes out of bounds.
As for the two points of emphasis — horse-collar tackles will continue to be a focus for officiating crews, and the league is also attempting to have more consistency from crew to crew on holding calls. The league is putting together a video of holding calls to show officials, and the penalty will be a point of emphasis in 2009.
Check out the story on NFL.com here.
NOTICE SOME CHANGES?
We’ve had a few updates here on the Denver Broncos blogs, and we hope you like them. Just a little change in how things look, and now from the blog.denverbroncos.com site you will be able to see all the newest posts from every author in the Broncos blogosphere.
Let us know what you think of the changes.