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New NFL Rules And How They Can Change The Game: Rule 12-2, 8-9, "Defenseless Players" And "Launching"

Like many of you, I am sitting here waiting for Monday Night Football to signify the end of 2011's First Week of NFL Football and the beginning of the Oakland Raider's New Year.

One thing that I have noticed is that the League's new stance on "Defenseless Players" and "Launching" are necessary rules. With the loss of Eric Berry in Kansas City due to a senseless, but legal, clip by a wide receiver, I think that it is important to share the rules, as they are written in the 2011 Officiating Department Media Guide.

Here is the rule on launching and why when SF Forty-Niner Safety, Madieu Williams, made what looked like a great football hit on Seattle Seahawk Tight End, Anthony McCoy, he  DID commit a penalty.

Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8:

(i) if a player illegally launches into a defenseless opponent. It is an illegal launch if a playyer (1) leaves both feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into his opponent, and (2) uses any part of his helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/"hairline" parts) to initiate forcible contact against any part of his opponent's body.

Note: This does not apply to contact against a runner, unless the runner is still considered to be a defenseless player, as defined in Rule 12 Section 2, Article 9.

You can easily tell that Madieu leaves both of his feet in an upward motion before contact. This is an easy call.


Now, for Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9:

It is a foul if a player initiates unnecessary contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture.

(a) Players in a defenseless posture are:

1) a player in the act of or just after a thrown pass;

2) a receiver attempting to catch a pass; or who has completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a runner. If the receiver/runner is capable of avoiding or warding off the impeding contact of an opponent, he is no longer a defenseless player.

3) a runner already in the grasp of a tackler and whose forward progress has been stopped

4) a kickoff or punt returner attempting to field a kick in teh air;

5) a player on the ground at the end of a play

6) a kicker/punter during the kick or during the return

7) a quarterback at any time after a change of possession, and

8) a player who receives a "blindside" block when the blocker is moving toward his own end line and approaches the opponent from behind or from the side

According to, even the new rules, the block was legal. It doesn't make it right to go for a man's knees from the side, especially when it is already hurt. But, this is football and these men put their health on the line every time they suit up.

I hope that you have enjoyed this segment and you can always follow me on Twitter!/silverandblackp