Four NFL officials were on hand today at Levi’s Stadium to discuss the numerous rule changes for the 2014 season with the San Francisco 49ers and media. Rule changes that would had greatly benefited the 49ers from a year ago, the NFL has since made the necessary adjustments moving forward.
A 10-minute presentational video that Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows, ESPN’s Bill Williamson, San Jose Mercury News Cam Inman, NinersDigest.com Chris Biderman, San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch, and myself watched, it provided some great insight on the new rules in place. From what constitutes unsportsmanlike conduct to the “NaVorro Bowman” rule, back judge Lee Dyer touched on a variety of topics in Thursday’s media session.
Speaking of the “Bowman rule” Dyer spoke about that play saying, “If there is a fumble in the field of play, it is now reviewable where what you saw last year was not reviewable.” He went on to say that it should have been corrected, however due to the rules in place at that time there was nothing in place to overturn the ruling on the field.
Another rule that was emphasized was the five-yard defensive holding for illegal contact. Dyer said last year if a defensive player held the player’s jersey which didn’t impede his progress for making a play on the ball a flag would not result. However, this season Dyer said regardless if it “impedes” or not a flag will result as holding is black and white this season with no gray areas. A five-yard penalty.
But don’t think for a second that the wide receivers won’t be closely monitored, as a clip showing WR Anquan Boldin pushing off against St. Louis Rams CB Janoris Jenkins will directly result in offensive pass-interference. No longer can Boldin use his leverage to separate from defensive backs as that will also result in a five-yard penalty.
Also, the “Ian Williams rule” was also changed as offensive lineman can no longer “roll up” on the back or side of the legs of the defender otherwise a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty will result.
But the most gray area rule change for me continues to be the “unsportsmanlike conduct” for taunting. What constitutes taunting? Dyer put it this way, if it’s not allowed in the workplace it won’t be tolerated on the field. Dyer did say that if two players were jokingly jarring at each other for fun (friends) a flag would not result necessarily but did say a warning may result.