Concerned with how it will be officiated, NFL owners delayed voting Tuesday on a rule change that would ban offensive players from using the crown of their helmets against defenders in the open field.
After approving two other rule changes to enhance player safety, they stalled on the more contentious issue. NFL senior vice president of football operations Ray Anderson said the owners plan to vote on it today before the meetings end.
The owners outlawed peel-back blocks anywhere on the field; previously, they were illegal only inside the tackle box. A player makes a peel-back block when he is moving toward his goal line, approaches an opponent from behind or the side, and makes contact below the waist.
The penalty will be 15 yards.
“… really under no circumstances will you be permitted to block low below the waist when you’re blocking back towards your own end line,” said Rams coach Jeff Fisher, co-chairman of the competition committee.
Also banned is overloading a formation while attempting to block a field goal or extra point. Players not on the line can’t push teammates on the line into blockers.
But the potential change that has drawn the most attention – yes, even more than eliminating the infamous tuck rule, which seems to be a foregone conclusion and will be voted today – is prohibiting ball carriers outside the tackle box from lowering their helmets and making contact with defenders with the crown.
New York Giants owner John Mara said there was “a chance” a vote could be tabled until the May meetings in Boston.
Around the league
The San Francisco 49ers have found their new kicker to replace David Akers, signing Browns veteran free agent Phil Dawson. The 38-year-old went 29 of 31 on field goals last season. … OL Nate Garner has re-signed with the Miami Dolphins. … The Dallas Cowboys and Dolphins will meet in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 4 to open the NFL preseason.