Fox analyst Mike Pereira breaks down new rules

Roddy White doesn't have to worry about defenders "launching" into his head or neck area anymore.

Roddy White doesn't have to worry about defenders "launching" into his head or neck area anymore.

FLOWERY BRANCH – The defenses in the NFL can’t seem to catch a break.

Last season, there were 10 quarterbacks who passed for more than 4,000 yards. Folks are arriving at the conclusion that the NFL has turned into a wimpy passing league.

Some think that with the expansion of the definition of a defenseless player that the defenses don’t really stand a chance.

“This is becoming an offensive slanted league in terms of the rules and such,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.

During their recent meeting with NFL official Jerome Boger to go over the rule changes for 2010, Smith, a former defensive coordinator, wanted to make sure his players knew exactly what a “defenseless player” is. Here’s a story on all of the key rule changes.

Mike Pereira, the NFL’s former vice president of officiating who’s joined Fox Sports as their NFL rules analyst, sees some positives and negatives with the new rules.

“There are significant player safety changes again,” Pereira said. “The defenseless receiver, it used to be that he was protected until he completed the catch.  Now he’s protected even after he completes the catch and before he clearly has a chance to protect himself.

Mike Periera, who retired after the 2009 NFL season, will serve as a multi-platform NFL rules analyst.

Mike Periera, who retired after the 2009 NFL season, will serve as a multi-platform NFL rules analyst.

“So if he’s got two feet down, but has not really brought the ball in to a degree where he can anticipate the contact and protect himself, the rule states that the defender can’t launch, which means springing forward and leaving his feet and hit him in the head or neck area with his shoulder, forearm  or helmet.”

As big and fast as the players are now, how are they going to make that determination if the receiver has had a chance to gather himself and is now ready to anticipate the hit?

“The message that’s trying to be sent there is that even after the receiver makes the catch, don’t leave your feet and head hunt,” Pereira said. “Hit him, but don’t launch and hit him the head.”

I know that Joe Zelenka, the Falcons long snapper, likes the new rules.

“They completely protected the center on field goal tries and extra points and added punts,” Pereira said. “The defender at the line of scrimmage can’t line up over him period. He has to completely line up clearly outside of the center’s body.”

Periera, who use to make appearances on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL radio, will be available to all of the Fox crews during the season for in-game commentary when a controversial call arises. He will also write on line and appear on radio.

Fox is billing Periera, who retired after the 2009 NFL season, as a multi-platform NFL rules analyst. He will be situated in his own control room at the FOX Network Center in Los Angeles, giving him visual access to all games played.

Also, NFL fans will have the opportunity to ask Pereira questions via live chat on Assisting him to monitor all Sunday game action will be a team of Los Angeles-area football referees, each assigned to a different game.

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32 comments Add your comment

Willie Coyote

August 25th, 2010
7:17 am

Are defenders still allowed to tackle?


August 25th, 2010
7:43 am

I think this is a brilliant idea by Fox to have Pereira “on-call” during all broadcasts. I think it will just add another layer of entertainment/education to the games. As for the launching rule, I think that it really shouldn’t affect the game that much. You can still dislodge the ball without aiming for someone’s head. The problem, though, is going to be inconsistent calls. I thinkk this is definitely one where there’s going to be bias towards superstar recievers.

Season Ticket Holder

August 25th, 2010
7:44 am

Let’s give all the receivers two flags and let them play flag football.

Big Willy

August 25th, 2010
7:51 am

Those fellas on the offensive side of the ball should anticipate getting hit as soon as they roll out of bed Sunday mornings.


August 25th, 2010
8:06 am

Any skilled defender can deliver the message “not in my territory” without trying to kill the guy. The better defenders will still be able to protect their area; there is no need to see who can deliver the biggest highlight just because.


August 25th, 2010
8:09 am

The NFL is going to end up as lame as NASCAR yes they need ways to keep players safe I want disagree with that but gotta agree are they going to start playing flag football are what as a wise man once said C’MON MANNNNNNNN lets play some fooseball cause mam mama mama says she wants to see the hits

And im #5 whats my prize ?


August 25th, 2010
8:15 am

Gimme a break – they just don’t want vicious hits to guys heads.

If you want to see that, watch MMA, not football.


August 25th, 2010
8:16 am

DIRTYBIRD78 – you get no prize cause you can’t count. You’re not #5, you’re #6.


August 25th, 2010
8:21 am

Unfortunately it seems our OC Mularkey is out of step with where the league is going, with his rudimentary passing offense not being able to take advantage of the rules changes favoring the great passing teams, like the Saints last year or the Colts and Patriots every year.


August 25th, 2010
8:28 am



August 25th, 2010
8:47 am

Yes, the NFL is a mans game, but at the same time, I don’t believe in things that encourage or promote hurting players. I’ve heard the morning show guys on 790 The Zone talk about the concussion debate that is going on around football and how eventually, parents will just stop letting their kids play due to health concerns. Personally, that is something I don’t want to see happen, make the game as safe as possible.

Football is great to watch, I never played but can only imaging the excitement guys feel when they win or make a great play, it’s the ultimate team sport. Personally, I know coaching young kids is a blast. I disagree with rules about hitting a QB low when he is in the pocket. Too many times a guy is being blocked or pushed and just knows he has to get to the QB. He isn’t always 100% in control. That should be taken into account when throwing flags on those types of plays. No defender every tries intentionally to hit a QB around the knees or ankles. Its, not a technique used to bring down the QB, it just happens sometimes.

Defenders should not be going for the head ever. I have no problem with a defender going for the ball or just attempting to run through a guy a fraction of a second after he goes up and makes a catch. We all get excited over big hits, but when you know it’s your family (child, brother, uncle, cousin, father or spouse) getting blasted, its not excitement it’s horrifying. Just make it as safe as possible without making it easier for one side or another. It’s a tall order but put forth your best effort.


August 25th, 2010
8:55 am

Why don’t we just quit keeping score too so no one gets their feelings hurt either.

The Walrus

August 25th, 2010
9:00 am

So can a defender launch himself into the receiver if he hits him in the body, or is launching at any part of the body strictly a no-no?


August 25th, 2010
9:15 am

The NFL is becoming too rules heavy. I’m tired of expecting a flag on every play. And I’m tired of games being decided by the refs. If the rules committee wants to do something productive, then find a way to have fewer flags thrown during a game.


August 25th, 2010
9:29 am

The issue is player safety. I understand the pros are making millions, but the college, high school, and rec league players aren’t. The NFL has the resources to study injuries and outcomes, and they set the tone for the future of football at all levels. Concussions and spinal injuries are life and death, and that’s no game. Without players, there is no game. At today’s sizes and speeds, no current helmets or padding is sufficient to guaranty player safety. The rules have always adapted to changing player abilities. Making intentional contact to the opponent’s head or neck should be out of bounds, and even this rule doesn’t go all the way there. It simply says you can’t “launch” yourself at that area until the player has a chance to defend himself. It’s a good change.

GT Fan

August 25th, 2010
9:49 am

Right on JB! It’s no wonder that the college game has surpassed the pro game in fan interest over the last few years. The QB’s are put in a bubble, recievers can’t be hit until they have full control of the ball and are fully able to take the hit, corners can’t touch a reciever after 5 yards… Where does the watering down of the game stop? The NFL has made pro ball almost as boring as baseball. All we need now is for the QB coach to be allowed a visit to the huddle once every possession…


August 25th, 2010
10:10 am

The defenseless player rule is needed to keep guys healthy. This game is brutal I’m fine with that.

What they need to do is give corners the ability to play physical down field back. Some arm barring and hands and physical play are fine within reason. Big physical WR’s can’t even be doubled effectively anymore. That’s the problem DOL. Not the non defenseless player rules… the problem is Peyton Manning and the Colts whining about down field contact 6 years ago when the “best QB in the game” couldn’t beat the Patriots. That said… the 2 or 3 guys in the league who are actually elite CB’s… they’ve certainly made a good living off that rule.


August 25th, 2010
10:24 am

Good Point PMC. A good way to even up things for the D would be to allow CB’s to contact guys down the field as long as they are not redirecting a WR. Good trade off for calling off a lot of knock out type shots by defenders on defenseless receivers. Let DB’s play the way they did before the 5 yard rule. If you are looking back for the ball, you can put your hand on a receiver to feel where he is.


August 25th, 2010
10:27 am

Can the defenders at least “two-hand touch” these cry-babies? If the NFL turns into a pass happy Arena league, then I will cancel my NFL ticket on Directv, and just watch the NCAA games. When the NFL starts taking football out of the game, then its time to quit watching.


August 25th, 2010
10:30 am

The NFL can’t afford to be losing their star players or fantasy players. Fantasy is all about scoring. Now there is clear path to the goal post for kickers. We might have to start picking kickers in front of defense. Here’s a thought stop over paying the stars and allow teams more bodies, then defense can defend and we can find out who the real stars are.


August 25th, 2010
10:56 am

Roger Goodell will get those mean ole safeties off you important wittle WR: two-hand touch rules ONLY next year.


August 25th, 2010
11:04 am

Well, soon football will be like golf. There will be etiquett observed on every play. Defenders must say “excuse me” or I’m sorry” before the initial hit or they will be flagged. We can turn our attention away from the plays and watch the referees. We will watch them in eager anticipation as they group together and make hand gestures to whom committed the faul and look as if they are reciting the rule book to assign the correct rule violation. Now we can raise the price of tickets again so Mike Periera can a 20 million dollar a year paycheck. Screw the football fan it is a business.


August 25th, 2010
11:49 am

Shots to the head and neck should have been out of the game a long time ago. The helmet was designed as protection, not weaponry. Trust me, NFL players know many ways to deliver a hard shot without having to go to the head and neck.

No shots to the head and neck should be standard for all levels of football. Lower the shoulder, wrap and run through ‘em – just not at the head and neck.


August 25th, 2010
11:54 am

Hey, maybe this new rule will actually improve tackling by forcing players to use correct technique instead of being head hunters.

Quickie Mid-Week Links

August 25th, 2010
12:08 pm

[...] Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution talks with Fox Sports NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira about new rules being implemented this [...]


August 25th, 2010
12:27 pm

Who’s covering the owners’ meeting today? Is Blank the “host” since this is “his” city?
Amen on tackling technique! We showed very poor fundamentals vs. Pats….


August 25th, 2010
12:30 pm

Nevermind, I see that you are….. Is the deal contingent upon the team staying put?

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

August 25th, 2010
1:45 pm

New rules or no new rules…..I just hope that the officiating crews that we get at the Dome this year are better than the one that was here for the New England pre-season game…..that roughing the kicker call was totally bogus. Hopefully the league reviews the games and sort out the officials that make these obviously bad calls. Instant replay definitely make these guys look like complete idiots when they blow a call.


August 25th, 2010
8:31 pm

GT Fan. Take a look at the ratings differential between college and pro games and then come back and see if you can make an educated posting.


August 26th, 2010
1:50 pm

I think there should be in-game counseling sessions for opposing players who have had an altercation. If we can bring the players together spiritually we can eliminate any unnecessarily “painful” moments, be it physicality or some form of verbal bullying that creates the rift.

Now you’ll have to excuse me as my panties accidentally rolled off the tip of my nose.


August 26th, 2010
3:10 pm

Reports out of the SD media that the Falcons have asked about dealing with Vincent Jackson’s contract these are just rumors but the Falcons are asking about dealing for Vincent Jackson .


August 26th, 2010
7:30 pm

These guys are payed to take the hits. Its going to be another gray area call that if he breaths on the guys helmet to hard he will be called for the penalty. Look at some of the hits on QB last year that was a joke because of good acting. What about the guy that gets blind sided going to make a play. Why don’t they say, if he’s not looking at you; you can’t hit him….. JOKE. This will be flag football before we know it.