5 NFL Rules That Will Come Under Scrutiny in 2014

5 NFL Rules That Will Come Under Scrutiny in 2014

Ed Hochuli
Matt Kartozlan-USA TODAY Sports

Every year the NFL tries to improve its on-field product by either adding new rules to help the game or getting rid of old ones that are deemed unnecessary or a general hindrance. For the most part, many of these rules are widely accepted. However, there are always those few that draw the ire of players, coaches and fans. These five rules for the 2014 season are sure to receive a lot of attention.

5. Pre-Snap Movement by Offensive Linemen

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Philadelphia Eagles
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

5. Pre-Snap Movement by Offensive Linemen

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Philadelphia Eagles
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Officials will be paying even more attention to offensive linemen before the ball is snapped. Even the slightest movement can now be called a false start, even if the defender doesn’t react. Obviously, offensive linemen will not be big fans of this rule and it’s hard to argue with them. As long as a lineman stays firmly in place, he should be allowed to move his head and extremities to some degree.

4. No Clock Stoppage After a Sack

Houston Texans vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

4. No Clock Stoppage After a Sack

Houston Texans vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been watching pro football for a long time and I never realized that the clock stopped after a sack, excluding the final two minutes of a half. This new rule will keep the clock running after any and all sacks. The league believes this will lead to games moving at a quicker pace. While NFL games do have a tendency to go on for a while, they certainly aren’t facing the same kind of time-management problems that the MLB is.

3. Illegal Use of Hands

Miami Dolphins vs San Diego Chargers
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

3. Illegal Use of Hands

Miami Dolphins vs San Diego Chargers
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

This rule will be applicable on both sides of the ball, as referees will be cracking down more than ever on what they deem as illegal use of hands, specifically around the head and face. If a defender is called for this penalty, it’s five yards and an automatic first down; for an offensive player, it’s 10 yards and the same down. In today’s NFL, you would have to think officials will be more strict with defenses than offenses.

2. Pulling of Jersey

Philadelphia Eagles vs Detroit Lions
Jeffrey G. Pittenger-USA TODAY Sports

2. Pulling of Jersey

Philadelphia Eagles vs Detroit Lions
Jeffrey G. Pittenger-USA TODAY Sports

The issue of jersey pulling will likely have a significant impact on the league in 2014, as officials are now calling a defensive holding penalty on any sort of pulling of another player’s jersey. Defensive holding is one of the most impactful penalties in the NFL due to the result being an automatic first down for the offense. This rule emphasizes once again the league’s continued desire to favor offense over defense.

1. Unsportsmanlike Conduct - Foul Language

Seattle Seahawks vs San Francisco 49ers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. Unsportsmanlike Conduct - Foul Language

Seattle Seahawks vs San Francisco 49ers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This new penalty has ramifications not just in the world of football, but in society in general. Officials can now assess a penalty to any player whom they judge to be using profane or foul language towards another player. This ruling is up to the referees, as the league has not provided a specific list of punishable words. What a player says, both on and off the field, is more scrutinized than ever before.


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