Power in the N.F.L. as the league considers new rules
As the National Football League considers new rules that might make a game of catching a ball more like the N.B.A., a growing list of players now want to catch it on the fly.
The N.F.L. is considering a rule next season that would allow a player to hold onto a ball or a leather “tackle” during a kickoff or punt.
Such a move could make the game more like the N.B.A., in which a player on a team holding on to the ball does not have to hold on to it, so long as another player on the team holds off the opposing team. The N.F.L. hopes to have a rule in place by the end of the year that would make a play like that a legal occurrence.
This would free up a player who plays in a short, high-scoring game.
“I think it would be a fine rule to have,” said New York Giants center Kevin Boothe, who would be a natural fit for the rule. “[You know,] you take it to another level. Where does it go, that’s where it’s going to take it.”
The NFL, which has been working away on a rule — one it hopes will become part of next season’s game — has considered the idea of making a ball carry-able or a tackle-able in a game.
When asked whether the N.F.L. is on the verge of making a rule that would allow a player to catch a ball on the fly, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, “We are looking at it,” and “some kind of rule is looking at it at this point.”
The league is also considering a change to its rule that allows a penalty for targeting or hitting a receiver in the head with the ball. If, as has been suggested in recent weeks, the league agrees to a rule that would deem a pass interference penalty a legal play, then it might have to tweak its own rule for targeting and hitting.
“There’s a lot of things we’re looking at,” said