Still the No Fun League: NFL approves ban on leaping over line to block kicks

Plays like this, when Miami’s <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/28544/" data-ylk="slk:Tony Lippett">Tony Lippett</a> jumped over the line during a kick attempt in January, are now banned in the NFL. (Getty Images)
Plays like this, when Miami’s Tony Lippett jumped over the line during a kick attempt in January, are now banned in the NFL. (Getty Images)

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week the league may relax its current, excessively restrictive rules on celebrating, and while we may see that come to pass, we got another reminder on Tuesday that the NFL isn’t called the “No Fun League” for nothing.

At the annual owners meetings in Arizona, a proposal to ban one of the game’s infrequently used but always exciting plays was passed, and it is now illegal for a player to leap over the line of scrimmage to block a field goal or extra-point attempt.

You know, plays like these:

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A proposal to automatically eject players for egregious hits to the head was also approved.

We’ve seen players leaping a few times over the past few seasons, as teams look for ways to block kicks and stay within the rules; rightfully, there are rules in place to protect long snappers, who are largely defenseless, and trying to block a kick with someone screaming off the edge of the line doesn’t seem to have a high success rate.

When timed properly, the leap over the center of the line was one of the most exciting plays in the game, showing off a player’s athleticism and adding an element of surprise that made it hard for the opposing team to do anything to prevent it.

Heck, even when it didn’t work out, when a player was flagged for being offsides, it was still great to watch, one of those box-jumping videos put to use in a real-life situation.

The rule change was proposed by NFL Players Association president Eric Winston in the interest of players safety, though there’s no evidence a player has been hurt on a leaping play.

And now, it’s gone. R.I.P.

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