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NFL will consider a stricter rule against crackback blocks

Crackback blocks, in which a player lined up on the outside moves toward the middle of the field and blindsides a defender, have long been illegal in the NFL. But the league is considering a stricter rule that would result in broader enforcement of the penalty.

A new proposal from the Competition Committee expands the crackback block definition to include players who go in motion and move beyond the center to block a defender in his lower legs.

The full text of the rule change says that it will be a penalty if “the offensive player was in a backfield position and in motion when the ball was snapped, and the block occurred beyond the position from which the ball was snapped” and contact is made “at or below the knee.”

Defensive players consider it one of the dirtiest plays in football when an blocker takes them out at the knee, and defensive players have often complained that player safety rules only protect the offensive skill positions. This is an example of an expanded rule for player safety that would protect defensive players, and it would be surprising if it doesn’t pass.

Like all on-field rule changes, this rule will require at least 24 of the 32 teams to vote for it in order for it to pass.