By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — There’s quite a bit of hubbub surrounding the new NFL rules that allow coaches to challenge for pass interference. Some hullabaloo, if you will. Sports fans — and coaches, and analysts — tend to resist change more often than not.
Yet, in all the furor regarding changes to pass interference rules, we all might have missed the emphasis on an even worse rule that simply can’t be allowed to exist in real football games that actually matter. And that’s a rule about “blindside blocks.”
We’re going to use quotes on that one because, well, the implied meaning of “blindside” is that a hit is made on a player who can’t see it coming.
We’ll let you judge whether the so-called aggrieved party in this instance was “blindsided.”
— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) August 18, 2019
To review … right guard Oday Aboushi’s job on a pass play is to protect the quarterback. Outside linebacker Jamal Davis’ job is to get to the quarterback and ideally take him down. At the very least, Davis would like to disrupt the quarterback. That’s kind of a tenet of tackle football, at least since the early part of the 20th century, when the forward pass came into existence.
Aboushi, finding nobody in front of him to block, saw that Davis had worked around right tackle Kenny Wiggins. So Aboushi set out to help block Davis to keep him from hitting the quarterback.
So Aboushi blocked Davis.
Not only did this block result in a flag on the field, but it resulted in a tweet from the official account for NFL officiating to explain why the penalty was properly enforced.
That tweet has been sufficiently ratio’d, with over 1,400 replies and just 135 retweets. That doesn’t include the countless quote tweets of pure mockery, some of which are shared below. Suffice it to say, fans, media members and former players alike might be perplexed.
I've never thought of any block in the pocket protecting the QB as a "blindside" block. https://t.co/Qe5VHL4rx8
— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) August 18, 2019
Literally impossible to blindside someone while you are facing each other https://t.co/JjBA6cbJGU
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) August 18, 2019
Next time, politely ask the defender to stop chasing the quarterback and avoid a penalty. https://t.co/kKERhjGFXu
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) August 18, 2019
By rule, this is a really bad rule. https://t.co/J4MPs1n05L
— Doug Farrar (@NFL_DougFarrar) August 18, 2019
Trying not to Overreact to this b/c it’s Pre-Season & This is a “Point of Emphasis” but NO WAY this can be a PENALTY going forward. Not a “Blindside Block” when Defender sees you coming, not to mention the QB is still in pocket https://t.co/zWZLZInWO3
— Shaun O'Hara (@ShaunOHara60) August 18, 2019
hate 2 see a blocker block https://t.co/QYRqVlMf2Q
— C.D. Carter (@CDCarter13) August 18, 2019
We could get into every reason that this rule and its enforcement is simply not practical in an NFL game, but instead we’ll just focus on one. How about this? Here goes …
IF THE LINEMEN CAN’T BLOCK THE PASS RUSHERS, THEN THE QUARTERBACKS BECOME SUSCEPTIBLE TO GETTING ABSOLUTELY DESTROYED BY LINEBACKERS AND DEFENSIVE ENDS.
In a world of increased player safety, how on earth does it make any sense to tell linemen that they can’t block pass rushers?
The general crackdown on crackback and blindside blocks makes sense from a safety standpoint. But in the instance of a pass rusher and an offensive lineman? It makes no sense, and it would just create a potentially more dangerous situation for quarterbacks.
This rule is bad. Throw it in the trash. Toss it in the garbage can and don’t look back. This rule stinks.