NFL keeps extra point at 15 yard line, makes rules changes
By Dan Zinski
The NFL announced a series of rules changes on Tuesday, and also made a final decision on the 15-yard extra point.
The NFL’s decision last year to move extra points back to the 15-yard line resulted in a historic number of missed PATs. Evidently the NFL likes missed extra points because they have decided to make the experimental longer PAT a permanent rule.
Just to give you an idea how much the longer PAT affected kickers: In the first three years of his career, Vikings kicker Blair Walsh attempted 109 extra points and missed a grand total of one. But last year alone, with the PAT moved back, Walsh missed four of 37 attempts.
The good news for Walsh is that this year he will be kicking indoors at US Bank Stadium, so hopefully that PAT percentage will go up. And hopefully he will be more accurate on potential game-winning field goals as well.
Other new rules enacted by the NFL this year largely touch on player safety issues. The biggest of these changes is the elimination of all chop blocks. The NFL also is redefining the illegal horse-collar tackle to now include all tackles that involve grabbing anything from the nameplate up and pulling down.
Here’s a new rule that might make Norv Turner happy: Henceforth coaches in the booth will be allowed to communicate directly with players on the field. In the past only sideline-bound coaches were allowed to communicate directly with players.
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The NFL has also decided that teams will now be penalized if they call a time out with no time outs remaining. In addition, the NFL now says if a receiver illegally touches the ball after going out-of-bounds then re-establishing in-bounds, it’s a loss-of-down penalty instead of a mere five-yard penalty.
The NFL also decided that there will be no more multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession. I know fans were really worried about that one!