After years of confusion and controversy surrounding what constitutes a catch, the NFL finally decided to address the issue this offseason and they seem to have gotten it right, which is great news for NFL players and fans that have been upset because the old rules have gone against their team at one point or the other.
One team that seems to have benefitted under the old rules were the New England Patriots
, who had a few catch calls go their way this past season. Even though they won’t be benefitting from the catch rule this upcoming season, the Patriots odds in the next season haven’t been affected.
While NFL owners and league officials are patting themselves in the back, the league will likely find itself dealing with a bunch of unhappy players and fans again this season because of another rule they implemented.
After fixing the catch rule, the NFL decided to make another change to the rules, banning players from leading with their helmets when tackling or running with the ball. This rule was changed due to the league’s continued effort to make the game safer. But, like every other new league rule, this will cause a lot of problems because it would require referees to make a judgement call that will have a significant impact on the outcome of games.
One of the biggest problem with the rule is that it will be difficult to enforce because players, especially running backs, tend to lead with their helmets when they are expecting contact from defensive players. Also, defenders will likely have to start going low to make tackles, which will lead to a lot of missed tackles and could potentially cause more injuries.
Another problem with the new rule is that it was made without getting input from the players that are actually on the field, who likely have a better idea of what to do to make the game safer than people who haven’t stepped on a football field before.
Another issue the league failed to address during the meetings is what to do about the player protests during the national anthem.
Last season, the owners agreed to support social initiatives suggested by a coalition of players if the players stopped protesting during the national anthem. Interestingly, the league didn’t bother to include Colin Kaepernick, who started the protests.
Kaepernick, who hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016, is currently suing the league for collusion and his case seems to get stronger because players like Kellen Clemens, Kevin Hogan and Aaron Murray have jobs, while a quarterback like Kaepernick, who has a far more impressive resume than any of those guys, is reduced to posting videos of his workout sessions on Instagram.
Even though Roger Goodell and the owners have denied colluding against Kaepernick, the fact that former teammate Eric Reid is unsigned also helps to prove his point.
Reid was one of the first players to join Kaepernick in taking a knee. Unlike Kaepernick, who many critics contend doesn’t have a job because he is not that good, Reid is a young Pro Bowl safety that would have been one of the first free agents signed. But, since he took a knee with Kaepernick, he has not received a single offer.