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Murphy ‘pleased’ helmet rule passed

Posted by Mike Spofford on March 20, 2013 – 2:15 pm

Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy

Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said on Wednesday that he was “pleased” the new rule prohibiting offensive players from striking a blow with the crown of their helmet passed, and it did so overwhelmingly.

Murphy said the vote was 31-1. It needed 24 votes for passage.

“The biggest issue with our coaches was, ‘Can you officiate it?'” said Murphy, who is a member of the league’s competition committee, which proposed the new rule. “But the more we worked through it, I think people came to believe that it can be officiated.

“I also think there’s a real sense that this is bigger than just … the running backs don’t like or there’s maybe a bad call once in a while. It’s 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 you saw years ago. Now so often with tacklers, it’s going for the kill shot.”

A key to both proposing the rule and getting it passed, Murphy said, was confirmation from officials that they were comfortable with the rule’s parameters and what was to be deemed illegal.

“It’s clearly outside the tackle box and clearly more than three yards downfield,” Murphy said. “It’s really meant to prohibit a running back or tackler, squared up, going right at them with the crown of the head.”

Murphy said the competition committee reviewed roughly 50 plays on videotape from last season that constituted either violations or were examples of incidental contact that is not to be flagged. None of those plays involved the Packers, according to Murphy.

Other proposed rule changes that passed included elimination of the “tuck rule,” a change to the replay rules that will allow plays to still be reviewed even if the red flag is thrown illegally, and a prohibition against the defense loading up one side of its formation to try to block a field goal or extra point. Long snappers were also given defenseless player protections.

The “tuck rule,” of course, was made famous by former Packers defensive back Charles Woodson, when he played for Oakland. Back in the 2001 AFC playoffs, Woodson’s late fourth-quarter hit on New England QB Tom Brady jarred the ball loose, and the Raiders recovered to essentially seal the win. But upon review, the “tuck rule” negated the fumble and called it an incomplete pass, and the Raiders eventually lost the playoff game in overtime.

“I plan on giving Charles a call,” Murphy joked.

The replay change became known as the “Jim Schwartz rule” after the Detroit head coach in effect negated a review of a long TD run by Houston on Thanksgiving by throwing his red flag, even though all scores and turnovers are automatically reviewed. The illegal challenge canceled the review, but that will no longer be the case.

“To not have a review was (a) pretty severe, (penalty),” Murphy said. “The goal is to get the call right.”

Murphy added that one of the situations studied on film by the competition committee involved the Packers at the Metrodome in Week 17, when Mike McCarthy threw his red flag on an apparent TD by James Jones that was ruled a fumble on the field. The play was still reviewed because the review had been initiated before McCarthy threw the flag, but the video showed Packers WR Jordy Nelson grabbing McCarthy’s flag and trying to hide it so the officials wouldn’t cancel the review.

“Players will not have to do that anymore,” Murphy laughed.


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Posted in Packers.com Blog | 22 Comments »


22 Responses to “Murphy ‘pleased’ helmet rule passed”

  1. By Vince on Mar 20, 2013 | Reply

    The NFL is NO longer a real sport. It has become flag football.

    Glad the Pack won when the game was still the real NFL. From this moment on, it is not football. Just a show like world wrestling.

    Have lost interest in following the game. I am 48 yrs old and will now have my Sunndays and Mondays free.

  2. By AdSu on Mar 20, 2013 | Reply

    Lighten up, Vince.

    You’re just going through the offseason blues.

    When September rolls around, just like The Pack, you’ll be Back!

  3. By Mr.Corey on Mar 21, 2013 | Reply

    BOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  4. By northerner on Mar 21, 2013 | Reply

    playing in a bubble will be next.

  5. By Wags on Mar 21, 2013 | Reply

    Player safety should be paramount but when the NFL considers an 18 game schedule and is not testing for HGH, there’s some double speak going on here. The “real” NFL refs are good but this is going to be very subjective and very hard to rule correctly. Oh wait, can we review it? Awesome! More opportunity to sell stuff! Some things are best left alone, IMO.

  6. By bob on Mar 21, 2013 | Reply

    What a stupid rule. Whats next? The NFL is becoming whosafide. Libs want to kill the game of football. Why not go after the UFC where people get kicked,kneed, and punched in the head? Quit recking the NFL.

  7. By ChuckCecilsNose on Mar 21, 2013 | Reply

    I really don’t know why people are upset about this. They aren’t taking anything away from the game at all! Running backs and receivers are taught to attack tacklers with their head up to avoid concussions and serious neck injuries and to help keep their eyes up field in case they break a tackle. Defensive players are taught to keep their heads up and tackle with their shoulders, wrapping up and driving through the opponent. It is one of the first things taught to kids in pee wee and up! I just don’t understand the outcry!

    Are there going to be missed calls? In the beginning, sure! But, as the refs get used to it, they will become more consistent with it. If you don’t want your favorite player laying on the ground and possibly out for games or the season, you should be happy! The NFL is being sued because of this, whether the players want to admit it or not. Safety is paramount, especially when it deals with money…LOTS OF MONEY! The rules can always be tweaked if need be, just be happy they are trying to keep guys upright!

  8. By Wags on Mar 22, 2013 | Reply

    @ChuckCecilsNose (Love Your Handle!)I am happy that they are making changes to the game that will hopefully keep the players safe. The concern I have is that the continued tweaking of the game will turn it into something that is a far cry from what we know as NFL football. All players are taught to keep their heads up, but they are also taught to protect themselves and the ball and that means sometimes they need to get low. When they start to have to think about this, that hesitation is when the injuries will start. When refs have to differentiate between degrees it will cause inconsistency and the outcome of a game will be in question (See 2012 GB v Seattle). It’s a slippery slope that causes great concern to me as a fan of the game.

  9. By BDWood on Mar 22, 2013 | Reply

    Better add a couple more running backs. Teams are going to go through them like S*** through a goose.

  10. By Thomas Wiss on Mar 23, 2013 | Reply

    Mr.Murphy supports ‘Helmet’ rule—- Mr.Murphy is ‘kissing’ Bret’s A-S to return to Lambeau for is ‘Day’,both Total ‘JOKE’!!

  11. By UWEC77 on Mar 24, 2013 | Reply

    Spearing with the top of the head was not originally part of the game. The development of protective hard helmets, facemasks, and plastic pads, all enabled the development of more violent techniques. Now with bigger, stronger, and faster players, the physics of these techniques are exceeding the limits of punishment the human body can withstand. I’d prefer returning to more historical norms. Soft helmets without facemasks and soft pads would still preserve the raw physicality of the game, but ultimately lead to safer techniques and less severe injuries.

  12. By BDWood on Mar 25, 2013 | Reply

    Running backs lower their heads before contact to protect their legs! As I said before, not being able to do this will increase leg injuries and end the careers of many ball carriers.

  13. By Bob "The Judge" on Mar 25, 2013 | Reply

    I’ll bet Murphy is glad to see the helmet rule.Less chance of running backs plowing thru his defense.

  14. By Ron Paque on Mar 25, 2013 | Reply

    I’m wondering when Roger Goodell will require players to wear skirts and heels on the field. This moron is ruining the game of football and turning it into a pantywaist, glorified version of touch football.

  15. By Dennis Thompson on Mar 25, 2013 | Reply

    These rules are stupi. From the draft to inconsistancies in everything else. Rodger Goodell is a huge disaster. Many of the past plyers who blew their money and did drugs etc, figure it out on your own. Stop suing.

  16. By S. Silva on Mar 25, 2013 | Reply

    If the NFL wants safer football they need to go back to how the game rules were in the 90’s. Make HGH testing mandatory and than you will see safe football.

  17. By diehardpackersfan on Apr 1, 2013 | Reply

    follow @officialgreenbaypackerss on instagram for the best green bay packer pictures this season

  18. By Adam on Apr 1, 2013 | Reply

    A defender can’t grab or even touch a facemask, but a RB or WR can stiff arm a defender in the face and hold the stiff arm? A WR can’t be hit in the middle of the field because he is considered “defenseless” but a RB can lower his head and use it as a battering ram? The rule changes are fine and make sense. Any educated person can see this. The defense is at such a disadvantage already – these rules simply create consistency between offense and defense.

  19. By BDWood on Apr 1, 2013 | Reply

    Adam, ever play football as a running back? Lowering the pad level is not to inflict damage but to protect the backs legs from taking the full force of the hit.

  20. By ATL Packrfan on Apr 2, 2013 | Reply

    BDWood, you can lower your pad level without using the crown (the top) of the helmet as a battering ram. RB’s will now have to use their shoulders, forearms, and legs to break tackles. If it was good enough for Jim Brown, it should be good enough for today’s players.

  21. By GoPack12 on Apr 2, 2013 | Reply

    BDWood, lowering the pad level (and thus lowering the head LEVEL) is not illegal. This is proper technique, and helps protect the legs AND the head and neck/

    Lowering the head by tilting it forward to initiate contact with the crown of the head IS ILLEGAL, and it will result in NECK and/or back injuries. IF you were taught this technique, you had a REALLY BAD COACH — today’s NFLers do it to get an “advantage” over the defender, and ignore thier own safety by doing so.

    The rule makes a lot of sense, and just because some NFL players seem to forget all the right techniques in hitting, blocking, and tackling that we all learned from pee wee football on thru our non-pro playing days, it does NOT mean they have a better way. It means they are making big bucks, and now don’t have to do it right anymore. There is a reason so many players don’t have long careers in the NFL — they don’t want to work hard to stay there, they just want to get as much money as quickly as they can.

  22. By GoPack12 on Apr 2, 2013 | Reply

    P.S. — The really good players, the great ones, the multi-time all stars, the real franchise makers, are the ones who DO work hard and keep trying to improve thier technique as well as their physique!

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