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NFL owners approve controversial 'crown-of-the-helmet' rule change

March 20, 2013|By Sam Farmer
  • NFL owners, coaches and personnel arrive for the annual meetings Monday at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.
NFL owners, coaches and personnel arrive for the annual meetings Monday… (Matt York / Associated Press )

NFL owners voted Wednesday to approve all proposed rules changes, including the controversial crown-of-the-helmet rule, which seeks to eliminate the use of a helmet as a weapon.

That rule passed, 31-1.

The rule, which applies mainly to running backs, imposes a 15-yard penalty if a runner or tackler initiates forcible contact by delivering a blow with the top of his helmet when both players are clearly outside the tackle box.

The tackle box is defined as an area extending from tackle to tackle and from three yards behind the line of scrimmage to the offensive team's end line. Incidental contact by the helmet of a runner or tackler is not a foul.

The NFL also did away with the so-called tuck rule, so now it is a fumble if a player loses possession during an attempt to bring the ball back to his body.

On Tuesday, the league banned peel-back blocks, which are hits from behind or beside a forward-moving player, and defensive lines overloading on one side on field goals or extra points.

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