When Sean Payton first took the head coaching job in New Orleans, the NFL allowed a runner to stand behind a teammate and push him forward.
Now, Payton is assembling his coaching staff with the Broncos, and the play that involves players pushing other players forward has become more of a common practice across the league.
During a recent conversation with former league Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino, Payton revealed his intensions to implement the rugby-style play into Denver’s offense this upcoming season until an official rule change happens.
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“I was talking to [Denver Broncos head coach] Sean Payton during Sunday’s game, and he said we’re going to do this every time next season if they don’t take it out,’’ Blandino, now FOX’s rules expert, says.
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“It amounts to a rugby scrum. The NFL wants to showcase the athleticism and skill of our athletes,” he continued. “This is just not a skillful play. This is just a tactic that is not an aesthetically pleasing play, and I think the competition committee is going to take a look at it.”
The Eagles perfected the act of pushing a ball carrier, particularly during a quarterback sneak. The play was virtually unstoppable and routinely resulted in a first down.
Blandino compared the scrum-like play to the now-banned use of assistance on field goals and extra point attempts.
“I think the league is going to look at this, and I’d be shocked if they don’t make a change,” Blandino told The33rdTeam.com.
If a rule change does ultimately happen, players would likely be flagged if another player is deliberately pushed forward in those short-yardage situations. But for now, the league still allows it.
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Player safety is also a factor, as the ball carrier is more prone to injury as he is being pushed in different directions.