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Tucking away a few rules

August 21, 2013 - Shaunna Dunder Hershberger
It's so close! You can almost smell the Sunday morning stadium tailgating if you try really hard. Yes! My favorite time of year!

But not yet. We're teased with dress rehearsal football, as the NFL moves into week 3 of pre-season. This week is usually considered the most important, if there is such a thing in pre-season football. Off-season news involved a myriad of player arrests and the usual grumble of whether or not pre-season play is worth all the injuries. That's the "exciting" stuff. But I'm here to bring you the stuff you wish you heard about more and make it sound like it's the most important thing you need to know about the upcoming season. You're welcome.

It's been a busy summer for the rules committee and those wily NFL marketing geniuses. First, there are a few rule changes that have to deal with technical things like blocking and wearing pads (yawn), but here's what you need to know - no more ramming people with the crown of the helmet. So what makes a hit illegal? Lowering your head, lining up your oppenent and then delivering a blow with the crown of the helmet anywhere to the opposing player's body. Doing so will incur a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty and possible league discipline.

The other rule change you need to know about? The "Tuck Rule" is no more. Yes, that was the rule buried way back on page 1124, section 35R of the ancient NFL rule book (or, as us modern fans like to say, it was one of those rules of convenience, made up to benefit the NFL golden boy/ best story line/ top marketing sensation at the time) that led the Patriots to victory over the Raiders in a 2001 AFC divisional playoff game.

Not wanting to be left out of the rule rearranging excitement, the NFL marketing geniuses dipped their toes in the pool by bandwagoning on the new stadium "no purse" rule. That's right, ladies! I suppose our make up, hair brushes, bobby pins and feminine products were too much for security to handle on the way through the stadium gates. The NFL's solution? Clear plastic bags! Yes, that's right - because nothing says NFL fan like a Ziploc bag filled with my personal belongings. Have these people ever actually been to a football game? Thanks for the offer, but I'm not carrying a Ziploc bag. The marketing folks caught wind of this and determined that nobody wanted to carry a plastic bag, so they created a line of clear purses complete with your favorite team's logo. Nice try, but I'd rather save my money, and if I'm desperate for team wear, I'll just write "I heart Cleveland" or "Brandon Weeden is my BF" or something else really girly on my Ziploc bag with a Sharpie.

What else do you need to know? Check back on my blog throughout the season and read my weekly NFL column during the regular season - you'll be the smartest NFL fan around!


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