The NFL is constantly discussing tweaks to the rulebook in order to increase player safety. It often leads to a spike in penalty flags being tossed by the zebras which ultimately slows down the game and is unwelcome by NFL fans.
Another one of those rule tweaks appears to be on the way according to a report from Michael David Smith at PFT. He’s reporting the NFL “may add two words to the definition of a ‘launch’ in the official rulebook.”
This tiny tweak could lead a lot more flags being thrown.
The current definition of ‘launch’ in the NFL rulebook is:
“It is an illegal launch if a player (i) leaves both feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into his opponent, and (ii) uses any part of his helmet to initiate forcible contact against any part of his opponent’s body.”
The NFL’s Competition Committee is reportedly seeking to add ‘one or’ to the definition so it would read “leaves one or both feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into his opponent.”
Here’s what folks are saying on Twitter:
— Beerack 🍻 (@BeerackObama) March 24, 2023
That’s definitely all the game is missing. We need more subjective penalties.
— Jason Price (@JasonPR04pt) March 24, 2023
Any rule changes need to be approved by 75% of the teams. Which, to be fair, seems likely in this scenario because it is a seemingly innocuous rule change and one that’s designed to enhance player safety.
That said, including ‘one’ in there changes the game immensely. ‘Launching’ is already somewhat subjective and the refs have a lot of wiggle room on when and when not to call it. Including ‘one or’ in drastically increases the subjectivity. When is a tackler not launching off one foot prior to a tackle?