NFL Owners Vote To Ban All Chop Blocks

As of Tuesday, chop blocks are no longer legal in the NFL as team owners voted and passed that rule change along with six other proposals put forth by the leagues Competition Committee.

Earlier in the week, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert voiced his opinion on chop blocks and how it was in his hope that the league’s owners would vote to do away with them once and for all.

“We’ve been advocating that for over 10 years,” said Colbert. “I think finally enough people realize it shouldn’t be part of football. We’ve always argued that a defender can’t protect himself. I think hopefully enough teams recognize that now and we can get that changed.”

While the league has slowly modified what constituted a legal chop block over the years, it still wasn’t enough from a safety standpoint and being as offenses already have several other advantages defenses, it’s good to see that have now completed eliminated this dangerous technique altogether.

While chop blocks are no longer legal, cut blocks are currently still allowed and it will be interesting to see if that technique is ultimately eliminated in the future as the league continues to attempt to make the game safer.

Doing away with the chop block is a big win for defensive linemen around the league as they should no longer have to worry about having their legs or knee taken out from underneath them when engaged with an offensive player. Such a technique was used quite a bit by offenses on outside zone runs.

Rule changes that were passed on Tuesday by the league owners:

Rules that have passed include:

Rules that have passed include:

Rule: Permanently moves the line of scrimmage for Try kicks to the defensive team’s 15-yard line, and allows the defense to return any missed Try.

Rule: Permits the offensive and defensive play callers on the coaching staffs to use the coach-to-player communication system regardless of whether they are on the field or in the coaches’ booth.

Rule: Makes all chop blocks illegal.

Rule: Expands the horse collar rule to include when a defender grabs the jersey at the name plate or above and pulls a runner toward the ground.

Rule: Makes it a foul for delay of game when a team attempts to call a timeout when it is not permitted to do so.

Rule: Eliminates the five-yard penalty for an eligible receiver illegally touching a forward pass after being out of bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds, and makes it a loss of down.

Rule: Eliminates multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession.

  • Kevin78

    Dr. Z, Paul Zimmerman, advocated this for years. He would say no chop blocks unless face up on your man, I believe.

  • Cols714

    What is a chop block?
    What is a cut block?

  • Jim Foles

    Ravens will have to adjust their game.

  • PittsburghSports

    Another good rule change.

  • falconsaftey43

    Chop block is taking out a defender below the waste while he is engaged with another blocker.

    Cut block is taking out a defender below the waste in a one on one scenario (RB picking up blitzing LB, OL on a screen pass).

  • Cols714


  • JB Burgess

    Should help Big Dan McC.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    And it’s about time. The less diving at the knees, the better. Ray Rice didn’t have running lanes without this cheap-shot technique.

  • Charles Mullins

    Horse collars is a bit of overkill. Grabbing in the shoulder pads is one thing, but grabbing by the upper shoulders seems a bit much.

  • LAD

    Can anyone explain me “Eliminates multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession”… Is after a fumble or interception, but what is the scenario? An example? Thanks!!

  • JNick

    Zone run teams are going to have to rethink their scheme.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    All of these rule changes help the Steelers. And a few of them hurt the Ravens and Bengals.

  • PittsburghSports

    I think that’s how he was injured last year.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Denver is in huge trouble.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    That was my initial thought too. But I think what they’re trying to do is prevent defenders from even THINKING about grabbing a player ANYWHERE NEAR that area. If you’re chasing a guy, don’t reach high or you’re gonna get flagged (helmet, collar, upper jersey, etc). Tackle his waist or legs.

  • JNick

    They were in huge trouble when Manning retired and Osweiler got paid.
    This just throws more dirt on the grave.

  • JNick

    Aim for the butt.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    What (I think) this new rule states is that a team cannot be penalized for a live-ball foul during a turnover play AND a foul (like unsportsmanlike conduct) after the play is over. But I could be wrong about this.

  • So the Owners voted… do the players have a say in what is passed or not? Personally I think it would better for the game if players made such calls rather than owners; or at least had some/more say in such matters. Can someone clarify the player’s role in these types of decisions?

  • StrengthOfVictory

    It sounds like it only applies to high jersey grabs, which I’m for. Anything that becomes a handle on a player (like the face mask)—by which an opponent can make that player’s neck/head area specifically slam/whip against the ground—is off limits.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    The players union only votes on the CBA, which has more to do with contracts, negotiations, and practice rules/policy. To my knowledge, they don’t get to vote on rule changes.

  • JNick

    I don’t think it would be wise to let the inmates rule the asylum. Sometimes its necessary to protect players from themselves.

  • harding36

    Cleveland too. It would be interesting to know how the Ravens and Browns voted.

  • Brantley Stockton

    Words to live by.

  • IndianaCarson

    For Burfect–that means his face!!

  • Ed

    what happens when the player is a butthead?

  • Kevin78

    There still has to be a player who pulls the carrier down from the back with the high jersey grab. If you latch on and tackle forward, it shouldn’t be a penalty.

  • 58Steel

    As far as the chop block goes: Since the Steelers don’t employ it, does this give them (and any other teams that don’t use chop blocks) an advantage, at least initially? They won’t have to re-teach their O-line blocking techniques, schemes?

  • Matthew Marczi

    One of his biggest weaknesses to be sure. And ironically, it was one of McLendon’s greatest strengths, his ability to negotiate through such block attempts.

  • Jeremy McClurg

    And this is what the the Ravens and Bengals run offense is based around. They run stretch plays while their TE’s set the edge and their line men just attack the defensive linemen’s legs.

  • Rick Williams

    So Peyton Manning can still give himself up and then get up and throw? That seemed to be the most logical rule change of all.

  • Ellwood Davis

    Its about time! This may bring back the Nose Tackle, since they were routinely chop blocked. I remember seeing this happen to Casey Hampton, since he couldn’t be blocked by any one OL by themselves.

  • The Notorious TOM

    This is tremendous news! I see someone mentioned Casey already, he used to be very vocal about his displeasure w/ guys going for his legs. Said it happened to him regularly.

  • ND_Steel

    The horse collar rules seems to be in direct response to Burfict’s tackle on Bell…pulling him back by his shoulder pads…dirty play, dirty player.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Oh my, how will the Baltimore Ravens ever run the ball again?

  • 58Steel

    Worked for Sanchez. Well, sort of 😉