By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Over the past decade-plus, Tom Brady has incorrectly been labeled as the catalyst for a rule change that bans defensive players from hitting quarterbacks below the knees. It’s come to be known as the “Tom Brady Rule,” based on Bernard Pollard’s infamous hit in 2008. But the rule was actually put into place after Kimo von Oelhoffen hit Carson Palmer low in the 2005 postseason.READ MORE: Red Sox To Celebrate Disability Awareness Night At Fenway Park
Now, though, Brady may actually earn the distinction of inspiring a rule change in the NFL. And it’ll be a common sense rule change if it is approved.
The Rams proposed this particular rule change, which would add a loss of down to the penalty for throwing two forward passes on the same play.
The exact language reads thusly, with the new language in bold: “For a second forward pass from behind the line, or for a forward pass that was thrown after the ball returned behind the line: Loss of down and five yards from the previous spot.”
The Rams were clued in to this little loophole in the rules when they played against Brady and the Buccaneers on Monday Night Football last season. On a third-and-10 in the fourth quarter, Brady threw a pass that was batted right back into his arms. The quarterback made a heads-up play to throw a second pass, completing it to Mike Evans.
The receiver, though, was tackled two yards shy of the line to gain. So the Rams declined the penalty for illegal forward pass, and the Buccaneers punted on fourth-and-2.
Yet, had Evans gained two more yards on the play, the Rams would have had to accept the penalty, thus giving the Buccaneers a second chance to convert on third down, albeit from five yards farther away.
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— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) November 24, 2020
The Rams proposed adding a loss of down to the penalty for throwing two forward passes on the same play. Makes sense because if Evans had been past the first down marker here, the Bucs would've gotten a second shot at third down. Fun to see little holes in the rulebook. pic.twitter.com/bQbDdJqApk
— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) April 1, 2021
The gist of the rule proposal is to eliminate a team from benefiting in any way from committing this infraction. Much like the loss of down that accompanies an intentional grounding penalty, this change would allow the defense to accept the penalty in a situation like the one that arose last November.MORE NEWS: Bill Belichick, Roger Goodell, Adele Among Guests At Robert Kraft's Star-Studded Surprise Birthday Party
In that particular instance, the Rams weren’t hurt. As stated, the Bucs punted, and then the Rams went on to win. But the rare 8-yard completion on a quarterback’s second throw on the same play exposed a minor glitch in the rulebook, one that the Rams hope to sew up before the start of business in 2021.