The call on the field – is for consistency and simplification at different levels of football.
The NFL held a “Universal Rules Alignment Meeting” at its headquarters in New York last week, with league football operations chief Troy Vincent and Atlanta Falcons CEO Rich McKay, the head of the league’s competition committee, leading the discussion. Some team executives, the NFL players union, the head of officiating and some officials from the NCAA took part in the effort.
“It’s the idea that you try to have unified safety terminology for players so they understand what the foul is and what it isn’t and then teach it all the way down beginning at the little kids, getting to high school, getting to college and getting to pros,” McKay said.
One focus was rules that deal with players’ safety, such as defenders leading with the helmet or targeting defenseless players.
“Hopefully we’ll come together with language that’s simpler and easier for the players to understand,” McKay said.”I think the use of the helmet foul, to lower your head to initiate contact, I think that foul will have an impact on the way players play the game.”
They also looked at rules differences with cut blocks and chop blocks and kickoffs between college and the pros.
The discussions will continue early next year after the end of the college and NFL seasons.
“I think everything can be navigated if people are willing to come and sit and talk and communicate,” Vincent said. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all. … We learn from you, there’s some things that you’re doing, there’s some things that we’re doing. It’s really collaboration. Can it work? Absolutely.”
AP Pro Football Writers Schuyler Dixon, Dennis Waszak Jr. and Barry Wilner, and AP Sports Writers Genaro C. Armas and Simmi Buttar, and Associated Press Writer George Henry contributed.
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