Understated rule change could cost roster spots

This offseason, the NFL approved a new rule change to low blocks that limit their use to a box two yards outside the tackle and five yards on either side of the line of scrimmage from which they can be initiated. Low blocks are illegal by any player everywhere else on the field during a scrimmage down. Inside the box, blocks below the waist maybe initiated except on blocks that are already illegal, such as crackback blocks. The new rule will have a greater impact than is realized by fans. Low blocks, while already illegal on special teams and changes of

NFL officiating gets ready for the season at their first in-person clinic in 2 years

As predictable as the cliff swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano and the wildebeest stampeding across the Serengeti, another annual migration is noted for bringing a long suffering end to the football offseason: the zebras converging on Dallas in July. In what could be described as the NFL officials' three-day training camp, the league is conducting their annual officiating clinic in the Dallas area starting today. The coronavirus pandemic obviously closed down the prospect of having the usual in-person event in 2020, so this is a return to an old routine for veteran officials, and a first for 11 officials


NFL100: When John McDonough called The Longest Game on Christmas Day

It's always hard for officials to be away from home on a special holiday. So it was for referee John McDonough and his officiating crew, scheduled to work the Christmas Day divisional playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the visiting Miami Dolphins. McDonough, who officiated Super Bowl IV, and was a AFL and NFL referee from 1960 to 1973, lead a veteran crew that included umpire Frank Sinkovitz, head linesman Leo Miles, line judge Bill Swanson, field judge Bob Baur and back judge Adrian Burk.  The NFL had never scheduled a postseason game on Christmas. A few years before the


Alternate officials will keep their eye out for simulated substitutions, after the Packers attempted it twice

Embed from Getty Images Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers loves to move his offense to the line of scrimmage quickly and snap the ball in an attempt to catch the defense off-guard, and perhaps with too many men on the field. Even the late great Alex Trebek knew this. However, in last weekend's Divisional Playoff between Rodgers' Packers and the Los Angeles Rams, the crew was able to stop the tactic by holding up play to allow for equal substitution. Early in the first quarter of the game, the Rams were penalized for too many men on the field, as their

The NFL umpire is more stationary this season

This year, Walt Anderson, senior vice president of officiating training and development, trained the officials to get in position and be stationary at the apex of a play. The philosophy is that a stationary official's eyes will be still and he'll be able to zero in and focus on the play. Over the years, the umpire has been one of the most fleet of foot officials. He had to put on his dancing shoes when lined up in the defensive backfield. When the NFL moved the umpire into the offensive backfield, he did much more running in order to chase the