Let's have some rule changes! The NFL is always tweaking the product, but we've got a couple of big ones this year. One of them announced today is this: "It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. The player may be disqualified. Applies to any player anywhere on the field." That means this isn't just a headhunting rule... it also applies to ballcarriers lowering their heads to try to get tough yards. It's going to be really interesting to see just how strictly the officials are going to enforce this one, because it could be a huge change to the game.
The other important new rule, of course, is the rewritten "catch rule." It will define a catch with a three-step process: A receiver must control the ball, establish himself in bounds, and perform a football move such as taking a third step or lunging with the ball in hand. There's no more worrying about "surviving the ground." Under this new rule, controversial plays like the infamous Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson non-catches would now be catches. But if you think that re-writing the rule means that controversies over catches and non-catches are going away... get ready for a lot of reviews again, just reviewed differently this time.