NFL Ends “Tuck Rule” And Puts New Helmet Rule For Runners In Place

The Raiders got their sweet revenge. Too little, too late.

After years of not quite understanding it, the NFL on Wednesday finally nixed the never quite understood “tuck rule” that haunted the Raiders all the way back to a playoff loss to the Pats in 2001.

While the “tuck rule” is no more, the NFL owners passed a player safety rule Wednesday barring ball carriers from using the crown of their helmets to make contact with a defender in the open field.

It’s another rule that will get a lot more press than it should, and already running backs around the league (such as Fred Jackson and Matt Forte) are ticked off about it.

“There was a lot of discussion,” Steelers President Art Rooney said of the helmet crown rule, “but the way it was presented was the most effective way to address it.”

Back to the end of the tuck rule, if a quarterback loses control of the ball before he has fully protected it after opting not to throw, it is a fumble.

Rooney said the Steelers were the only team to vote against getting rid of the tuck rule.

“We didn’t think it was necessary to make that change,” Rooney said. “We were happy with the way it’s been called.”

Video review now will be allowed on plays when a coach challenges even though he is not allowed to. But the coach will be penalized or lose a timeout, depending on when he threw the challenge flag.

As for the crown rule with runners, the penalty will be 15 yards from the spot of the foul, and if both the offensive and defensive player lowers his head and uses the crown of the helmet to make contact, each will be penalized.

“It’ll certainly make our runners aware of what we expect relative to use of the helmet,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “One of the questions I ask a lot is who gains from this, offense or defense? And it’s a toss-up as to which side of the ball has the advantage on this rule, if any. The main thing is it’s pro-health and safety, and that’s the big thing.”

The owners discussed simply using fines on ball carriers to eliminate the tactic, but instead voted to make the rule change.

“Jim Brown never lowered his head,” Rooney said with a smile. “It can be done.”

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