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Will the NFL rule changes affect the game?

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There will be a number of rule changes coming up in the NFL for the 2018 season, but the two changes gaining the most attention are a newly-defined catch rule and a targeting penalty.

  • A catch will be considered completed when the receiver gets control of the ball, gets two feet or another body part on the ground inbounds and completes a football move (third step, reach/extending for the line-to-gain, or having the ability to do so).
  • Lowering the head to initiate contact with the helmet is a foul.

We weighed in on the new helmet rule on this week’s edition of the Arrowhead Pride Podcast, and the answers, specifically from our own analyst Shawn Barber, are interesting:

Joel Thorman: “I think it’s going to be a week that we all freak out and then next week we completely forget about all these rules. They already had some version of the crown of the helmet rule in place several years ago that we freaked out about and then forgot about. I think it just comes down to how they’re actually calling these things. I don’t think the game of football is fundamentally changing here even though you may feel that it is. I just think the referees—they’re going to be able to tell.”

Pete: “Analysts are saying this could really change the game. How are you feeling about it, Shawn?”

Shawn: “As far of the targeting rule, just let me know what to do and what not to do. It’s going to be way too much [subjective], which is probably in every rule in the NFL now. Everything is just depending on how you see it. I think, defensively, there are going to be a lot of guys who are going to hesitate. I actually think there are going to be more injuries because you’re going to have guys on defense not playing fast. People are going to be hesitating way too much thinking about all these different rules. It’s interesting me from the defensive side of the ball, whether at some point in my lifetime they just get rid of all these adjustments, just go back to like it was in 1990—just going back to playing football and saying, ‘All right, you’re playing at your own risk. Let’s go play hard-nosed, clotheslining and all.’”

And a little later...

Pete: “We’ve seen a lot of problems with head injuries after football—concussions and things like that. It affects players’ lives after the game, but Shawn being a former player, and I know different former players will have different opinions on this, but when you see changes like this, including even training camp, where it used to be two-a-days. You used to have pads all the time. Now there’s a rule of giving a penalty for targeting—something that wasn’t even thought of when you were playing. Do you look at these changes and are happy to see that or are you like, ‘OK, these guys are a little bit more soft.’”

Shawn: “I think I said it like five years ago—this is not the football I played. The current football that you’re seeing on Sundays is not the same football I played 1998 to 2007. It’s all different. With all these rules, everybody’s playing slower, you have to be more careful, you only have a certain 2-foot window to hit an offensive player. He’s a defenseless receiver until he possesses the ball and turns around and makes a move. Who can play that way? I can’t play defense int he current NFL. I take my hat off to the guys that are playing now—the (Eric) Berrys and the (Justin) Houstons and everybody on the Chiefs that are playing now. But I have no place in current football. I have no place in playing that type of game.”

We provide takes on the latest Chiefs free agency moves, answer your tweets and talk Andy Reid’s comments in Orlando on the show. You may find it here or by using the player below. The podcast is also available on iTunes and Google Play. New episodes every Wednesday.