NFL owners approve blocking rules

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

NFL owners approved a rule Tuesday designed to improve safety for blockers on extra points and field goals, and another for pursuing defenders.

One rule change prohibits the defensive team from overloading one end of the line with players on extra points and field goal attempts. The competition committee considered that tactic unsafe for blockers.

The other bans below-the-waist “peel-back” blocks inside the tackle box (the area between the two offensive tackles). Such blocks, in which the blocker turns and hits the defender against the flow of the play, already had been illegal outside the tackle box.

Both rules were proposed by the NFL’s competition committee and approved by owners meeting in Phoenix. Other votes were possible later Tuesday. Otherwise they would be taken Wednesday. The competition committee has proposed eliminating the “tuck rule” and banning certain hits delivered with the crown of the helmet.

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