New safety rules: Punt-formation penalty protects long snapper

By Bill Bradley, contributing editor

Editor's note: This is the second of five capsules explaining the NFL's new player-safety rules that were passed at last week's Annual Meeting.

TUESDAY: Defensive team formation on kicks.

Who:Defensive players lining up to oppose a punt.

What:Prohibits defensive team players from pushing teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation when offensive team presents a punt formation. Also, any defensive 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.

When:On all presented kicking plays, not just extra-point tries or field goals.

Where:In replicating the rule for kicking plays, it allows no more than six players can be on either side of the line of scrimmage.

How will be it be enforced:Any violation will be deemed a unnecessary-roughness foul and draw a 15-yard penalty on the defense.

Reaction:There has been little on-the-record reaction to this rule change, but long snappers around the league hailed the initial line-overload rule two years ago for adding protection on place-kicks.

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