The Student News Site of Souderton Area High School

The Arrowhead

The Arrowhead

The Student News Site of Souderton Area High School

The Arrowhead

The Student News Site of Souderton Area High School

The Arrowhead

The Arrowhead

New NFL rules promote safety, prevention of injuries

To make professional football safer for its players, the NFL has released several new rule changes for the 2022-2023 season. Most of these changes are in an effort to prevent avoidable injuries on the field and promote longevity in players’ careers.

Injury issues in the past NFL seasons have led to several new rule changes for the 2022-2023 season. The NFL hopes these new changes will result in a safer playing environment for their players.

Former Philadelphia 76ers employee Zach Johnson says that professional sports teams are very concerned about injuries and “do their best to keep their guys healthy.”

“I don’t know about [professional] football, but in pro basketball the team always did their best to take injury concerns seriously,” Johnson said. “[The 76ers] are always looking to improve player health and safety.”

One of the major rule changes for the 2023 NFL season is a modification to its fair catch rule on kickoffs.

According to section 10-4-2 in the NFL rulebook, a player can now call for a fair catch anywhere within the 25 yard line on a kickoff, and the ball will be brought up to the 25 yard line.

According to the chairman of the NFL’s competition committee, Rich McKay, the rule was developed to reduce injuries during  kickoff, specifically concussions.

“The kickoff play for us has been a play that has had a lot of changes over the years, all really driven by health and safety,” McKay said. “The concussion rate on the play has gone up.”

The NFL hopes to reduce concussion rates on kickoff with this new rule.

According to Souderton varsity football coach Ed Gallagher, this rule may eventually trickle down to the high school level.

“With kickoffs you’re talking about people running 15, 20 yards downfield with a full head of steam and running into each other,” Gallagher said. “I think [the fair catch rule change] would be a nice way to take that part out of the game to make it safer.”

Gallagher says that he is always focused on player safety, and has adapted along with professional and non-professional rule changes to do this.

“There have been a lot of shoulder injuries and concussions in the past 20 years,” Gallagher said. “We are trying to minimize that, and a couple years ago we had very few injuries so that was pretty good.”

Another one of the major rule changes the NFL made this season was allowing a team to carry a third, emergency, quarterback.

Gallagher said “It’s ridiculous that we never had this rule,” as it is an easy way to plan for an injury. Having a third quarterback on the roster allows for teams to remain functional if injuries befell their starter and backup.”

Gallagher has dealt with quarterback injuries in the past and knows the value of an emergency quarterback.

“Two weeks ago I had four different kids learning five plays each just so if something happened, I could run the offense without sputtering,” Gallagher said.

The NFL has also allowed certain players to wear the number zero this season, as well as updating several penalties.

The penalty adjustments are something the NFL goes through every year to attempt to make the game safer and more fair.

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Jacob Godshall
Jacob Godshall, Opinion Editor

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