NFL Referees To Better Enforce Defensive Contact Penalties


The NFL has sometimes been given the nickname “The No Fun League” and those who agree may not like what the league is handing down this year.

Referees in the NFL have been given the instructions to more closely enforce penalties on the defensive side of the ball.  In a great article by Andrew Krammer of 1500ESPN, he outlined the new rules and included a great quote from Minnesota Vikings new head coach Mike Zimmer about the new rule enforcement.

Here are the major points of emphasis for officials to look at more closely:

  • Verbal Abuse
  • Chop Blocks
  • Hands To The Face
  • DB Contact Beyond 5 Yards
  • WR Pushoffs
  • Motion Before The Snap
  • DB Holding Jerseys

Here are some great quotes from the article by Krammer linked above:

Offensive line coach Jeff Davidson:

"“We don’t coach hands to the face. If their hands go high, we try to get them to lower their target. We spend a lot of time on hand placement, which is a big part of what we do.”"

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer

"Jul 25, 2014; Mankato, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer talks to the media after the morning walk through at Minnesota State University. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports“I teach within the rules all the way anyway. I think all coaches, we adjust to the rules and try to play within the rules and try to do things the right way…But we don’t really have to change our techniques too much because, I’m not saying we won’t have penalties; I’m saying that we don’t teach penalties the way we teach things.”"

Despite the more strict interpretation of defensive and holding penalties, the Vikings don’t seem overly concerned.  Instead of worrying about the situation, they are preaching fundamentals and clean play.  In the past, the Minnesota has struggled when it comes to penalties.  Last year, they were 10th in the NFL in total penalties and penalty yards given up.

Discipline is something this team lacked in the past.  The coaching staff seemed to be  a bit lax when dealing with players at practice or even in game situations.  This new coaching staff doesn’t appear to be willing to be as soft as the old regime was.