Reporting Tim Kephart
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PHOENIX (CBSMiami) – A pair of controversial rule changes in the National Football League have been adopted by the owners. The rules deal with using the crown of the helmet and the so-called “tuck rule.”
The first rule would forbid players from using the crown of the helmet as a weapon for offensive players. The basic idea of the rule is to prevent players, including running backs, from lowering their head and using the helmet as a battering ram.
The penalty for the play, which will be at the discretion of officials, will be a 15-yard personal foul. According to AZCentral.com, one of the gray areas in the rule is that officials will have to determine dangerous intent by the runner.
The crown of the helmet rule drew criticism from running back Adrian Peterson and former player Marshall Faulk. New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick also said the rule would be hard to officiate.
The crown of the helmet rule passed by a wide margin, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rappoport.
In addition to the crown of the helmet rule, the owners voted to eliminate the “tuck rule,” which still haunts Oakland Raiders fans upset over the rule’s usage during an AFC playoff game in 2002.
The rule previously said a quarterback’s throwing motion started when he raised the ball to make a throw and put his arm in motion. The throwing motion didn’t stop until the quarterback brings the ball down and tucks it to turn into a runner. If the QB lost the ball after bringing it down, but hadn’t tucked it, it was an incomplete pass.
The rule came into play when what appeared to be a fumble by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was instead ruled an incomplete pass. The Raiders could have possibly won the game and the Patriots dynasty in the early 2000’s may not have started.
According to the Washington Post, the new rule will see a fumble called if a quarterback loses the ball after finishing his throwing motion and pulling the ball back down. It will still be an incompletion if the quarterback loses the ball with his arm making a throwing motion.
ESPN.com reported the Pittsburgh Steelers were the only team that voted to keep the current tuck rule. New England and Washington both abstained from the tuck rule vote. Unfortunately for the Raiders, the rule isn’t retroactive.