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NFL bans low blocks from behind

Brian Cushing

Trainers work on Houston Texans inside linebacker Brian Cushing (56) during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)


Defensive players are now protected from being blocked in the knees from behind, after owners voted to change the league’s rules today.

The rules change, which seemed to be popular both with players and fans, will go into effect for the 2013 season. It will make the rule on low blocks consistent everywhere on the field, after the rules had previously banned low blocks from behind in most areas of the field but allowed peel-back blocks into defenders’ knees inside the tackle box.

As the NFL has increasingly cracked down on hits to offensive players’ heads, defensive players have increasingly complained that their knees need more protection. Now the NFL has listened to those complaints.

The owners also voted on a rules change that will prevent teams from loading up on one side of the line of scrimmage on extra points and field goal attempts, to try to prevent injuries in pile-ups on such plays.

More controversial proposals on the tuck rule, replay challenges and players lowering their helmets have not yet come to a vote at the league meeting.