Every sport has rules, as well as penalties for breaking those rules, and football is no different. Football has a multitude of rules, and a multitude of penalties to go along with them. Football is a dynamic sport, meaning that the game changes as time goes on, sometimes yielding new rules. In recent years, new rules have been released for the NFL in order to combat the high number of injuries and concussions. One of these rules is Illegal Double Team Blocking.
Based on new rules put into place regarding kickoffs for the 2018 NFL season, a double-team block on a kickoff is only legal if both players are from inside the 15-yard set-up zone. While there are only three players outside the set-up zone, they cannot double-team block someone trying to cover the kick. This was part of a new series of rules regarding kickoffs, that came about as a result of kickoffs yielding five times as many concussions as other plays, This rule helps lower the likelihood of concussions by lowering the number of people running towards the same area. This penalty is called when one or more players from outside the set-up zone come to double-block for a kick return.
|Illegal Double Team Block||15 Yards (Offense)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
This is a unique football rule, as it is only present in the NFL rule book. This is due to the fact that not only is this a new rule, but also a specific solution to the concussion problem in the NFL. In 2017, concussions were roughly five times more likely to occur on a kickoff than on any other play over the course of an NFL game. With the kickoff being such an integral aspect of the sport of football, something had to be done to rectify this, as the safest course of action would have been to eliminate kickoffs from the game. The result of the penalty is the loss of 15 yards for the offensive team. This makes this a relatively severe penalty.
This penalty is unique in that it is very obscure, even by NFL standards. According to the NFL rulebook, there does not exist any specific penalty signal that the referee will give in order to call an illegal double-team blocking penalty.