More enforcement of snap-simulation rule this NFL season

Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch.

Rich McKay, President and CEO of the Falcons, serves on the NFL’s competition committee which is, in part, responsible for rule changes and clarifications. In a regular feature as part of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s football coverage, McKay will break down a rule or issue facing the league each week.

This week: The enforcement of the snap-simulation rule.

During the first quarter of the Falcons’ season-opening victory over the Chiefs last week, quarterback Matt Ryan was flagged for making too demonstrative of a pre-snap gesture. He was called for a 5-yard false-start penalty, one of only two infractions on the Falcons.

Ryan should have seen it coming.

While the so-called “Peyton Manning” rule has long been in the books, McKay conceded that its enforcement has been relaxed in recent years. Not anymore.

“This wasn’t a rule change, this was a point of emphasis this year,” McKay said. “[Simulating a snap] could include a tight end, a running back and, in this case, the point of emphasis was on quarterbacks and their use of thrusting their hands and making quick and sudden movements.

“The reason was they drew some offsides penalties last year that defensive players and defensive coaches, rightly, said crossed the line. We emphasized that you are not allowed to have a sudden movement, and you are not allowed to simulate the start of a play.”

McKay knew the point of emphasis would affect several quarterbacks, including two in the NFC South, namely the Saints’ Drew Brees and Ryan.

According to McKay, the players’ association was informed of the intention, and it was included in the competition committee’s annual report to membership in March. Further, officials explained new rules and interpretations to players during training camp, both in written and video form.

The rule was relaxed in an effort to allow offenses to communicate in noisy and hostile environments without the need to put devices in helmets.

“We were very focused as a league in allowing quarterbacks to execute the silent count,” McKay said. “What you saw people doing was raising their leg once, then raising their leg twice, and ways to communicate so defenses couldn’t just tee off on the offense. But what happened, you started seeing quarterbacks move their hands forward, and a lot of different things that we sudden movements that were not allowed under our rules.”

McKay said quarterbacks are still allowed to move and change plays at the line of scrimmage. It’s part of the referee’s discretion when those movements are too close to simulating the start of a play.

There is a chance it could be called again this week when Manning, the master of movement at the line of scrimmage, and Ryan meet in the Monday night showdown between the Broncos and Falcons.

“You can still operate; you can still do all the things you need to do; you just can’t make a sudden movement with your hands that can lead to offsides [penalties],” McKay said.

- Chris Vivlamore


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20 comments Add your comment

Seen This B4

September 15th, 2012
1:35 pm

First! Complete dominance.

Seen This B4

September 15th, 2012
1:41 pm

Hey Chris: I can see the infraction being flagged for sudden movements of the hands, but what about voice inflections? Brees doesn’t really move his hands that much, but he does use his voice to pull defenders off sides, are they going to call that? Cause if McKay knew that this rules enforcement would affect Brees and Ryan, he must be talking about voice inflection, Brees doesn’t move his arms to simulate a snap count……

Falcon James

September 15th, 2012
3:14 pm

Nobody cares how the rule affects Brees. He should get called every time just for being on the wrong side of the ball.


September 15th, 2012
3:35 pm

@Falcan’t Jamie: You mean like I don’t care about your nonsense?


September 15th, 2012
6:07 pm

Are you kidding me? Brees doesnt move his hands? You need to cut bigger eyeholes in that paper bag you wear.

Brees and Romo are a couple of the worst offenders, but everyone does it. When are they going to start calling all that movement the Center makes a false start? Now, Im even seeing the LT allowed to shift their balance after setting.

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Michael M.

September 15th, 2012
8:17 pm

The only moves I saw Drew Sleezy doing last week was getting sacked……………..ha ! ha ! ha ! ha !…………………….maybe we get some more reps on that technique Sunday afternoon…lmao…………………………………………

LOL at the Aints

September 16th, 2012
12:06 am

LOL at the Aints

September 16th, 2012
12:07 am

Falcon James,, right on brother right on… LOL!!

LOL at the Aints

September 16th, 2012
12:08 am

Seen has a rather large sack showing up on here,, LOL,,,, you gotta hand it to him,,,

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Saints R.E.A.M.

September 16th, 2012
7:59 am

Drew actually has made hand gestures to simulate the start of a play….can’t blame him though…if you can get an edge you take it. I wonder how closely they will call this game in and game out.

Gotta give some credit the Falcons took care of business last week….Saints played poorly. Good thing they don’t crown champions after 1 game. It’s a long season and Saints still win the south!!!

Seen This B4

September 16th, 2012
9:14 am

I got a hand gesture for Michael M.

Michael M.

September 16th, 2012
10:51 am

That will be okay STB4…………………you don’t have to wave at me………………….I know you like me………………………………………well, in a couple more hours it will be time for the “Cam Newton Show “, the suspense builds…….will Cam torch the Caints defense like RG3 did ? or will the Caints sneak out of Charlotte with a victory in week 2 ?
Only the Shadow knows…………………………..lmao !

I am taking Cam Newton and the Panthers this week………………………..the Caints can’t keep beating up on the Panthers as they have in the past………………….giving you a gesture too STB4…………………………

NFL | NewsTrendr

September 16th, 2012
1:14 pm

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Michael M.

September 16th, 2012
2:28 pm

Lookin good at halftime Superman 21 – Caints 13……………………

Big Ray

September 16th, 2012
2:52 pm

Kitty Cats up on the Saints? Say it ain’t so!

Unfortunately for the “division winner” Panthers…no small lead is safe with Cam the turnover machine. He has none so far in this game, but only because a Saints DB dropped a sure pick.

I don’t know which is worse, Cam trying to be the old version of Brett Favre by slinging that pass directly into heavy traffic or the Saints and their “like a sieve” defense…

I know this much….Brees sure misses Carl Nicks…LOL. Then again, who says he cares? He made the Saints pay him for last year’s performance…which he won’t come even remotely close to resembling THIS season.

Big Ray

September 16th, 2012
2:56 pm

Saints defense is gonna get TORCHED by us if they are having this much trouble against the Panthers….

Was about to say they are at least solid against the run, but ummm….NOT! Stewart and Williams reel off 12+ yard runs consecutively…

And then it looks like the Taints had a bounty on Mr. Steve Smith, lol. I guess you’ll take the PI call as long as he’s not in the game, right? You’ll still lose…

Big Ray

September 16th, 2012
3:58 pm

Ha….Saints are done. That defense is a sieve and Brees looks like hurricane Katrina got to him again.

Taints fans….you’re staring 0-2 in the face….oh and 0-1 in the NFC South.

Quiz time

September 16th, 2012
6:28 pm

What’s black and gold and 0 – 2?