The NFL Wants To Ban A 93-Year-Old Blocking Technique — And It Would Change Football As We Know It

brian cushing injured by jets cheap shotBrian Cushing was taken out by a cut block earlier this season

Photo: ESPN

The NFL wants to get rid of blocks below the waist in a move that would have far-reaching effects for the game, Peter King of SI reports.The reason: These cut blocks are dangerous to defensive players — stars like Brian Cushing and Eric Berry have both suffered serious leg injuries on legal cut blocks.

King says the league really wants the ban to go through. They probably don’t have the votes to make it happen in 2013, but it could happen down the line, he reports.

So what’s the big deal?

Cut blocks are an important part of how teams both run and pass protect these days.

Teams are using tight ends as receivers more often, meaning that running backs are kept in to block on a significant portion of passing plays. And one of the only ways running backs stand a chance against bigger, stronger on-rushing blitzers is by diving at their legs. Eliminating these blocks would put a greater premium on running backs who can pass protect, and could lead to a more conservative shift in offensive strategy as teams struggle to protect the QB.

Here’s what Mike Florio of PFT said:

“If the ban is passed, there will be no way to stop the biggest, strongest defensive players without double-teaming them, which will impact offensive output and, for one of the only times in the last 40 years, push the pendulum back to the defence.”

The running game will be affected as well, and NFL people are really concerned. Here’s what King wrote today:

“Two coaches with an offensive leaning told me they thought it’d be the death kneel for running games as we know them, because so many teams teach pulling guards and backs to chop down defenders by diving and rolling at their feet.”

The NFL is notoriously slow to evolve, so it’s unsurprising that the football world is having a minor freak out at the prospect of its game being tweaked.

But as Florio noted, this is a big deal because it helps the defence. Every trend in football right now points to more offence in the future. This one, if it goes through, means more defence.

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