NFL Reportedly Considering Eliminating Chop-Block Rule

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistFebruary 29, 2016

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 3: Michael Harris #79 of the Minnesota Vikings blocks during an NFL game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field January 3, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)
Tom Dahlin/Getty Images

The NFL competition committee is reportedly considering a ban on the controversial chop block starting in the 2016 season, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.  

The block would be eliminated in an effort to improve player safety. Those discussions began at the NFL Scouting Combine over the weekend and are expected to continue through the NFL owners meetings in March, per Schefter.

Most chop blocks—which constitute one player blocking a defender low while a second player blocks the defender above his waist—are already illegal.

However, there are exceptions, which Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk outlined last year, writing, "First, two players initially aligned next to each other on the line of scrimmage may do it. Second, two players not initially aligned next to each other may do it if the flow of the play is toward the block."

The competition committee also considered outlawing the practice altogether last season, though it ultimately only banned chop blocks by running backs. There were 17 penalties for illegal chop blocks during the 2015 season, up from 10 in 2014, according to's report.

Veteran offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz thinks the elimination of chop blocks would have major ramifications:

Indeed, many running games in the NFL feature the chop block as a staple of the blocking scheme. Eliminating it would certainly force many teams to alter their approaches to run blocking. Defensive players have long argued the practice is dangerous and leads to knee injuries, however, making the chop block a major player safety concern, especially for defensive linemen and linebackers.


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