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NFL expands defenseless player rule to crackback blocks

Super Bowl XLV

during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.

Al Bello

There will be an expansion of the league rule prohibiting hits to the head and neck of defenseless players next season after teams approved a new rule making such hits illegal when they come as part of crackback blocks.

Seeing as how players are already barred from going low on these blocks, it makes a good deal of sense to also stop them from going high when they are coming from the blind side of defensive players. While it will be interesting to see just how this rule is enforced, the rule change is definitely in line with other moves the league has made in recent years to increase player safety.

If the rule is enforced closely, teams are going to have to adjust how they set up blocking on plays where receivers block down after the snap. With limitations on what they can do going high and low, there’s not much space for them to hit without risking a flag.

If it is enforced haphazardly, it will likely become just as big a talking point among fans and players as the other rules outlining illegal hits have become in recent years.