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"Crown of helmet" rule passes; Tuck rule eliminated

Mar. 20, 2013
 

PHOENIX — After much discussion over three days at the NFL annual meetings, the owners approved the rule proposal that will make it illegal for a runner to lead into a defender with the crown of his helmet outside the tackle box.

Packers president Mark Murphy, a member of the competition committee, said he voted in favor, and it passed 31-1. Proposals need approval from 24 teams.

“The biggest issue with our coaches was, can you officiate it?” Murphy said shortly after the meetings wrapped up. “The more we worked through it, I think people came to believe it can be officiated. But also I think there’s a real sense that this is bigger than just, the running backs don’t like it or maybe we’ll have a bad call every once in a while. It’s really part of a larger effort to take the helmet out of the game.

“And what we talked a lot about was getting back to using the shoulder, shoulder tackling, wrapping up — more of the traditional tackling that you saw years ago. Now so often with the tacklers, it’s going for the kill shots.”

Murphy said they were shown several examples of ball carriers leading with their head outside the tackle box but none involved the Packers either on offense or defense.

Murphy said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis made a good point about the use of the helmet in general.

“He said two things are going to happen when you lead with the crown of your head: there’s a good chance you’ll get hurt, and there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to miss the tackle because you’re not able to wrap up,” Murphy said.

Interestingly enough, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the Bengals were the lone team to vote against it.

The league also voted to abolish the Tuck Rule, which was first made famous when Charles Woodson thought he forced a fumble against Tom Brady in an AFC playoff game but by rule it was called incomplete because Brady was trying to tuck the ball back into his body. Those will all be ruled fumbles now.

“I plan to give Charles a call,” Murphy joked.

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