Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Horse collar exception for quarterbacks in pocket remains


The NFL announced several rules changes on Wednesday, but one proposal that didn’t make it through the voting process was to make horse collar tackles on quarterbacks in the pocket illegal.

The rule was proposed by the Steelers and would have made it illegal to yank down a quarterback in the pocket by the back of his shoulder pads or inside collar of his jersey. Given the growth in protections for quarterbacks in recent seasons, it’s a bit surprising that the proposal wasn’t met with enough support especially since this is the rare instance where quarterbacks are fair game when the rest of the players on the field are protected.

It wasn’t, though, and that means defenders will still be able to make plays like the one Terrell Suggs made to thwart a late Bengals rally in Week 11 of last season. Suggs grabbed Andy Dalton by the back of the jersey and forced an intentional grounding penalty. The broadcasters on the game made it seem like Suggs should have been called for a horse collar tackle, although Suggs didn’t break any rules and won’t be breaking any if he does it again this season.

NFL Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay said after the announcement that they “didn’t see the injury risk” for extending the rule to quarterbacks in the pocket.