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2015 Rule Changes Because of the New England Patriots Playoff Run

The Patriots will be blamed for three rule changes this off-season. Here are the actual inspirations.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The league has an odd sense of humor when it comes to creating rules. They always wait until after a major event to install a rule, and somehow the Patriots are always highlighted. Whether it's the Tuck Rule or the "Don't hit a quarterback in the knees!" Rule, the general public tends to connect these with New England.

This, of course, ignores the fact that the Patriots were on the losing side of a tuck rule penalty in the 2001 regular season, against the Jets- yes, the game that launched Tom Brady's career included a Tuck Rule call. It also ignores the fact that quarterbacks were protected due to Carson Palmer's injuries, not Brady's.

But this is fine. Such is the way for teams in the spotlight. The NFL is going to be changed a few more rules this off-season and they will naturally be linked back to the Patriots. Coincidentally, each playoff game from the Patriots has spawned a new rule.

Divisional Round

Short-handed offensive line

Highlighted: Patriots vs Ravens

Actual: Lions vs Vikings

Rule Change: Offensive players with eligible receiver's jersey number (1-49 or 80-89) can no longer report as ineligible and line up outside of the tackle box.

The Lions deserve some credit for pulling off a similar execution back in Week 6, but perhaps a little more credit should go to old friend Nick Saban and Alabama:

Conference Championship

Football Preparation Protocol

Highlighted: Patriots vs Colts, Deflarthyism

Actual: Vikings vs Panthers, heating footballs on the sidelines

Rule Change: Yet to be announced, but there will be protocol changes on how footballs are managed during games.

DeflateGate will live in infamy, regardless of how Tom Brady's appeal process resolves. The NFL will announce at the owners' meeting they are changing how footballs are protected prior to the game. Everyone will point to the Patriots. People should be pointing at the officials.

Super Bowl

On-Field Injury Detection

Highlighted: Patriots vs Seahawks

Actual: Seahawks vs Packers

Rule Change: NFL will now provide a medical spotter that can stop the game if they believe there's "clear visual evidence" a player "displays obvious signs of disorientation." This is for concussions, but can likely carry over to other injuries.

Perhaps Julian Edelman definitely shouldn't have stayed in after that wallop in the middle of the field. He stayed in the game and was the catalyst for the Patriots comeback against the Seahawks.

Seattle, on the other hand, probably should have lost Russell Wilson early on in the NFC Championship Game for the above hit. Apparently team officials gave Wilson the "all-clear" after two-seconds of questioning. It's not certain if many outside of Green Bay remembers this hit.


The Patriots certainly forced some changes. I wonder if they'll have to have a highly debatable goal line stop in order for the league to get the end zone cameras that Bill Belichick has been asking for.