With a very quick turnaround time, senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron has produced another video of notable calls from the weekend, in preparation for the teams entering their final preseason game this Thursday (video below). While most of the calls were summarized in our post last Friday in Riveron’s previous installment of the weekly tape, including peel back blocks, there were some new points made in this video, and here they are.
Sliding runner is ruled down where he first touches the ground
A new point of emphasis for the season regards sliding runners, most often, quarterbacks. A play was highlighted from the Eagles-Browns contest where a quarterback slid early to avoid contact. It is being reiterated with the new point of emphasis that the sliding runner will be declared down at the spot where his first body part, aside from a hand or foot, comes into contact with the ground, and not where the runner ends up. The onus is still on the defenders to avoid contact to a sliding runner at all costs, as is also part of the point of emphasis, unless the defender committed to the tackle and the runner slid late.
Sacks without landing on the quarterback with full body weight
Last week, Riveron showed a play where a defender sacked a quarterback and landed on him with his full body weight, which drew a penalty flag on the play. However, this week, he highlighted a play where a Tennessee defender sacked Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers, and avoided such contact. He approached the quarterback at the side and pulled him down instead of landing on him. This play models what defenders should try to do when making a sack.
More examples of head-lowering hits
There were additional plays added to this week’s video regarding the new helmet rule, but two stood out as different instances than the one shown in the video released last week. One instance was by a runner, as opposed to a defender making the tackle on the play. A Buffalo running back was shown approaching a defender, and instead of bracing for contact, he lowered his head to strike the defender. This is a foul for lowering the head to initiate contact. The other instance showed a defender committing multiple fouls with one act. In the Tennessee-Pittsburgh game, a receiver caught the ball and after becoming a runner, went down to the ground. A defender then came in and hit the receiver after he had given himself up, leading with his helmet in the process. Riveron explained that the defender should be penalized for unnecessary roughness, for hitting a runner on the ground, and also for lowering the head to initiate contact, for leading with his helmet on the late hit.