Packers vote yes on two important new NFL safety rules

CREATED Mar 20, 2013

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PHOENIX - The National Football League owners have agreed on two rule changes, both with "an overwhelming number of yes votes."

According to Tom Silverstein with the Journal Sentinel, the new changes that were voted on Wednesday were:

Helmet crown rule: Offensive and defensive players will not be permitted to lower their head and drive the crown of their helmet into another player when outside the "tackle box", which is defined as outside the tackles and from 3 yards beyond the scrimmage and back. The violation will result in a 15-yard penalty and possibly a fine.

Tuck rule: The owners voted to end the controversial rule that is most famous for costing the Oakland Raiders a playoff victory over New England. From now on, if the quarterback has completed his forward motion and is starting a tuck motion, a fumble will be ruled if the ball comes out.

Packers president Mark Murphy said the Packers voted yes on the helmet rule because they felt it "fell in line with the league's emphasis on player safety," said Silverstein.

"I think we had a great discussion," Murphy said. "The issue with the coaches was can you officiate it. The more we worked through it, people came to better see that it can be officiated.

"This rule seems bigger than just running backs don't like it or you might have a bad call. The larger effect is that we're trying to take the helmet out of the game."

Murphy said the vote ended up at 31-1.

"In addition to the helmet and tuck rule, the owners approved a change to instant replay," said Silverstein. "If a coach throws a challenge flag on a play that is automatically reviewed the play will no longer be unreviewable. Instead, the team will lose a timeout or if it doesn't have a timeout receive a 15-yard penalty."