Skip to main content

New NFL rules: Overloading line restriction will protect linemen

By Bill Bradley, contributing editor

Editor's note: The rule proposal was amended before it was passed to ban pushing of any "Team B" teammate at the line of scrimmage.

NEW RULE: A ban on teams overloading one side of the defensive line on point-after and field-goal attempts.

What the rule changes: "(a) When Team A presents a punt, field-goal attempt or a Try Kick formation, a Team B player, who is within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage, must have his entire body outside the snapper's shoulder pads at the snap. (b) When Team A presents a field-goal or Try Kick formation: (1) No more than six Team B players may be on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper at the snap; Penalty: For illegal formation by the defense, loss of 5 yards from the previous spot. (2) Team B players cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation. Penalty: For unnecessary roughness, loss of 15 yards from the previous spot."

Why the change was made: PAT defensive teams were rushing through the gaps created by the overload. After looking at a lot of tape, NFL Competition Committee members found too many injuries were caused by this formation.

How it would impact player health and safety: "They will no longer permit defense rush players, Team B players, to push their teammates through the gaps and overload. This proposal also creates a situation where the snapper now becomes a defenseless player and he gets helmet-to-helmet protection." -- St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher.

What players are saying about it: "I had a game, we played the Bengals ... and I had two guys over me and two guys behind them pushing, so it was basically four-on-one. My foot slipped, and I actually went down and did a split and pulled a hamstring. I'm like, 'Man, this is ridiculous.' Like, it's literally impossible to hold up that much force. I emailed (NFLPA executive director) DeMaurice Smith and got the ball rolling with that." -- Washington Redskins center Will Montgomery.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.