On Wednesday, NFL owners approved of two new rule changes: the elimination of the “Tuck Rule” and the passing of a new rule that makes it illegal for a running back to initiate contact with the crown of their helmet.
Despite the controversy of the new running back rule, it passed 31-1. Detractors of the rule include Hall of Fame running backs Marshall Faulk and Emmitt Smith. Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte also expressed his displeasure. A running back who leads with the crown of his helmet will incur a 15-yard penalty. It should also be a noted this rule is for runs that are outside the tackle box.
Controversy aside, it’s the first rule change that provides protection for the defenders.
The “Tuck Rule” was eliminated by a vote of 29-1-2. Unsurprisingly, the New England Patriots, who benefited from the rule in a 2001 playoff game versus the Oakland Raiders, abstained from voting. The rule enabled a fumbled ball moving forward in the hand of a quarterback to be called an incomplete pass.