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NFL Amends Rules On Defenseless Players

NFL owners unanimously passed changes today to the league's rules regarding defenseless players. Defenders will no longer be allowed to launch themselves into players considered defenseless. A 15-yard penalty and fines will result. The definition of a defenseless player has been clarified, and expanded.

"Rulewise, I think the competition committee is clear that we are not trying to change rules, but change the emphasis, and that message has been delivered loud and clear to the players," said committee co-chairman Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons. "I was encouraged as a committee member who watched all the video at the end of last year to look at injuries, and I thought the players did a good job of understanding the message and adapting to it."

I think the message is pretty clear to defenders. Stay away from the head of offensive players. And make a tackle, don't launch yourself into the air and try to break a receiver in half.