NFL Rule Changes That Altered the Game Forever

JW NixSenior Writer IIOctober 6, 2010

NFL Rule Changes That Changed the Game Forever

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    Since 1941, the NFL has changed or added rules over 40 times.

    The 2000's decade has been the busiest in the history of the game, manipulating rules in every year. It is the only decade in NFL history this has happened. The 1980's, for example, changed rules just twice in the decade.  

    The 2000's were led by two NFL commissioners who never played the game of football beyond high school. Paul Tagliabue, who retired in 2006, played basketball and the NFL he oversaw certainly showed that. 

    Things have continued to disintegrate under the watch of Roger Goodell since. His latest brainchild, the 18-game season, will kill the OTA, fundamentals, and more possibilities of the unknown making a team out of a shortened training camp.

    It will also most likely increase injury to the less prepared player. 

    Here are some famous rule changes in NFL history to remember, in no particular order:

The Lyle Alzado Rule

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    Lyle Alzado
    Lyle Alzado

    Lyle Alzado was a two-time Pro Bowl defensive end who played a violent game violently.

    He was extremely active, racking up over 1,000 tackles and 112.5 sacks for three teams over 15 years. 

    Alzado was the UPI Defensive Player of the Year in 1977 and the 1982 NFL Comeback Player of the Year. He went to two Super Bowls, winning once.

    He also was known for his huge temper, which often flared.  

    In a 1982 Divisional playoff game, he ripped the helmet off a startled Jets lineman, Chris Ward, and threw it at him, inspiring the rule barring such acts. 

The Jack Tatum Effect

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    In a preseason game in 1978, wide receiver Darryl Stingley ran a short crossing pattern and was met by Pro Bowl safety Jack Tatum of the Oakland Raiders.

    Stingley lowered his head into the arriving shoulder of Tatum and ended up a quadriplegic.  

    Though the hit was legal, the NFL decided in 1979 that wide receivers could no longer be touched after five yards, as opposed to the previous rule of 10 yards.


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    It has been Goodell's mission to have the quarterback no longer be a football player.

    No longer can a defender tackle the quarterback too hard, hit him too high or too low, or put all of his weight on him.

    The quarterback no longer has to worry about intentional grounding, much less trying to find an actual receiver, when he faces added pressure. 

    Perhaps the future for the quarterback is a frilly dress with a one-hand touch rule?

    It pretty much is that way now.

Sudden Death

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    In 1941, the NFL adopted the overtime rule just for playoff games.

    It was not actually used until an exhibition game in 1955 between the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams..

    Traditionalist pray Goodell doesn't ruin the NFL more by replacing it with the PC effeminate college overtime rules.

Go For Two

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    In 1960, the American Football League put in the two point conversion following touchdowns.

    The NFL adopted it in 1994.

Basketball Jones

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    In 1978, the game of football was changed forever. 

    The biggest rule was allowing blockers to extend their arms and hands, clasping or grabbing onto defenders.

    With receivers now running around untouched, opening the doors of the spoiled diva era, timing on pass patterns was greatly increased and defenses castrated. 

    It was when the NFL started turning into the NBA.