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NFLPA trying to get one of the Patriots’ favorite special teams plays outlawed

One of the Patriots’ favorite plays might become illegal in the future.

Over the last two seasons, the New England Patriots have blocked four field goal or extra point attempts. Three of those four blocks came on plays were a defender leaped over the offensive line to get in front of the kicking lane: Jamie Collins did it once in 2015, Shea McClellin twice this season (a third successful block was called back on a penalty).

In short: the Patriots like using this method of trying to block field goals. However, they might have to find other ways to get blocks, at least if the NFLPA gets its wish. According to a report by the Washington Post, the Players Association is trying to get the leap as practiced by New England and other teams outlawed due to safety concerns.

The NFLPA’s player president Eric Winston argued that jumping over the line is a dangerous play for all those involved:

[It’s] just becoming a really, really dangerous play and now especially because everyone’s on the lookout for it, right? So someone’s ankles are going to get clipped. They’re going to go ass over teakettle, and either someone’s going to get landed on or he’s going to fall on his head. And they’re really bad injuries, too. It’s not like, ‘Oh, he could sprain his ankle.’ Those are neck injuries. Those are bad knee injuries. We expressed that to [the NFL competition committee], and I hope they follow through on that.

The competition committee, for which Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has a well-documented disdain, is one of the NFL’s bodies to potentially initiate rule changes to the NFL owners. According to Winston, it is "probably on board" with altering the existing rules, which simply forbid players lining up directly over the long snapper.

Later in March, teams and the committee can officially submit proposals which will be voted on during the owner meetings in May. If outlawing the leap on kicking plays is on the agenda, it seems likely that the proposal will not be greeted with much joy by the Patriots and especially their head coach.