Chiefs Player First to Suffer From NFL’s New Low Block Rule

Getty Chiefs offensive linemen warm up prior to their preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.

The NFL’s new controversial ruling — which was implemented this offseason — has impacted the Kansas City Chiefs first this season.

The league’s new low block rule makes the jobs of defensive backs increasingly difficult, as they now have to engage offensive linemen — who have an incredible size advantage on them — above the waist on plays involving linemen pulling outside the tackle box. The league has administered their first fine for the new low block rule during the first week of the preseason, and the fine was given to Chiefs safety Will Parks, per NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero. Parks was fined $5,500.

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Here is the play that Parks was fined for during Kansas City’s 19-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the preseason opener:

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The New Low Block Rule

In a proposal first brought to the table by the competition committee, the league expanded their ruling regarding blocking below the waist, with offensive and defensive players no longer being able to block below the waist on scrimmage downs when contact occurs beyond five yards on either side of the line of scrimmage and more than two yards outside of either offensive tackle, according to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero.

Because of the new rule, expect to see a lot more runs to the outside for offenses, as the size advantage for offensive linemen creates a new type of advantage on those plays. However, as former Chiefs offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz pointed out last week, the new rule does create a disadvantage for offensive linemen on certain plays.

“Screens are going to look a lot worse this year since the OL can’t cut,” Schwartz wrote on Twitter. “Before the OL would just throw his body at the LB and hope the RB cut inside of the block. Now you just have to flail at the guy and allow your RB to get lit up behind the line.”

Another Chiefs Player Fined

Along with the fine for Parks, Pelissero also reported that Kansas City running back Darwin Thompson was fined $4,900 for headbutting a 49ers player after a play in which Thompson ran the ball. Thompson’s fine is an example of the NFL cracking down on its taunting policy, which the league mentioned this offseason would be a point of emphasis during the 2021 season.

“The NFL’s annual rule change and points of emphasis video notes game officials have been instructed to strictly enforce taunting rules in 2021,” Pelissero tweeted on Aug. 10. “Two violations results in automatic ejection, with fines and even suspensions (!!) in play, too.”

Here’s what the NFL mentioned was the reasoning behind the crackdown on taunting this year:

“The N.F.L. Players Association, coaches and competition committee have all made a strong statement regarding respect among everyone on the field,” the league said back in April, as transcribed by The New York Times. “We saw an increase in actions that clearly are not within the spirit and intent of this rule and not representative of the respect to opponents and others on the field.”


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