It seems the NFL has started listening to its critics by implementing new rules for the upcoming season. The competition committee has approved nine new rules, which aim to increase sportsmanship and decrease injuries across the board to make the game safer.
These include but are not limited to making all chop blocks illegal, moving the line of scrimmage on extra points to the 15 yard line, and moving touchbacks from the 20 yard line to the 25 yard line.
Some of the long-standing rules have become controversial over time and many NFL teams are taking to social media to voice both their praise and disapproval for the changes. Players, including Denver Bronco Chris Harris, are thrilled that commonly used chop blocks have been deemed illegal. The cornerback took to Twitter to let fans and other players know that it will be impossible for them to block him after the new rules. This drastically changes the safety of the players as it prohibits a defenseless player from being contacted around his knees.
The most controversial new rule comes from the sportsmanship side where if a player is called twice for unsportsmanlike conduct they will automatically be ejected from the game. Many coaches, players, and owners are upset about the automatic ejection, as these calls tend to vary based on what referees see and deem worthy of a foul.
Many fans and players agree that New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. should have been ejected when he lost his cool against Carolina Panther Josh Norman and are hoping that this new rule will stop this behavior from occurring. The Panthers coach Ron Rivera is a fan of the new sportsmanship rule and said, “I think the attitude, the intent and the idea of making sure that there is some sort of discipline, whether it is at the referee’s discretion or through this mechanism of two strikes and you’re out, then that might make sense.”
This rule, along with the others will take a test run in the upcoming season to see how players, coaches, and even fans adapt to the changes. These are sure to shake up the NFL in the fall, as fans will be watching to see just how the implementations change the safety and attitude of the game.