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NFL approves expansion of horse-collar rule

IL: St. Louis Rams v Chicago Bears

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 06: Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears is brought down by an illegal “horse-collar” tackle by Paris Lenon #53 of the St. Louis Rams at Soldier Field on December 6, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Rams 17-9. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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When the NFL adopted a rule against horse-collar tackles, they made it against the rules for a player to tackle an opponent other than a quarterback in the pocket by pulling him down with a grab inside the shoulder pads from behind.

That rule will be a bit different in the 2016 season. The league approved a proposed rule change from the Competition Committee on Tuesday that will make it illegal when a “defender grabs the jersey at the name plate or above and pulls a runner toward the ground.”

The change is one of seven approved by the league on Tuesday, including the banning of all chop blocks and a permanent adoption of the rule pushing the snaps for extra point kicks to the 15-yard-line. None of the proposals dealing with an expansion of instant replay rules was approved.

That could be significant with the new horse-collar rule, which will call for officials to make a quick determination about whether a defender has grabbed at the name plate or just below it in their effort to bring down a ballcarrier. An expansion of replay that included the opportunity for coaches to use their challenges on penalties would have made such plays reviewable, but the league obviously didn’t see that as a pressing matter.