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NFL owners meeting wraps up with game-changing rules implemented

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By: Evan Birchfield

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New year, new rules.

It’s that time of the year again, as the Atlanta Falcons and 31 other NFL teams prepare for the upcoming season. The annual NFL owners meetings kicked off earlier this week in Orlando, FL, drawing together executives, general managers, and coaches to address various issues as the new league year begins. Among the topics under discussion were proposed rule changes brought forth by teams or the competition committee.

Recently, owners convened to vote on a range of proposed rules, spanning from roster regulations to in-game strategies. That’s what we’ll briefly be going over today.

Banning the hip-drop tackle

The new rule addresses a specific tackling technique dubbed the “swivel hip-drop tackle,” deeming it a foul if a player employs this method to bring down a runner. This tackle occurs when the defender grabs the runner using both hands or wraps them with both arms, then unweights themselves by swiveling and dropping their hips and/or lower body, consequently landing on and trapping the runner’s leg(s) at or below the knee.

The implementation of this rule has sparked considerable controversy within the football community, and it took social media by storm. While defenders are still permitted to tackle opponents by the hips, they risk being flagged if they execute a maneuver that involves rolling on top of the runner’s legs.

This adjustment aims to enhance player safety and reduce the likelihood of serious lower-body injuries during tackles. However, it introduces a new layer of interpretation and enforcement for officials on the field, which has understandably made fans and league observers wary.

NFL copies XFL kickoff

Under the new kickoff rules, both teams, except for the kicker and returner, must stay still until the ball is caught or hits the ground. They line up five to seven yards apart. If the ball lands between the 20-yard line and the goal line, it must be returned. Different outcomes apply depending on where the ball lands. If it lands before the designated zone, it’s a touchback at the 40-yard line. If it rolls into the end zone from the landing zone, it’s a touchback at the 20-yard line. If it goes straight into the end zone or out of bounds, it’s a touchback at the 35-yard line.

These changes, borrowing from old XFL rules, aim to make kickoffs more relevant and safer. They discourage simply kicking the ball out of the end zone and encourage returns. Both teams lining up face-to-face enhances safety. This could be an improvement.

Trade deadline pushed back to Week 9

Another rule that should receive some positive feedback is the NFL moving the trade deadline back one week, with it now being in Week 9. This decision comes amid ongoing discussions within the league about optimizing the trade window for teams as they strategize their roster adjustments mid-season. By extending the deadline, teams now have an additional week to assess their performance, address any roster gaps, and potentially make impactful trades to bolster their squads for the remainder of the season.

So there you have it. These are mainly the important rules, where a few other ones were also implemented and you can read them in their entirety by clicking here. Surely none of these new rule changes will impact the Falcons in a negative way, right?

Originally posted on The Falcoholic – All Posts