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Art Rooney II gives his thoughts on the NFL’s rule changes, and more

The Pittsburgh Steelers Team President gives his thoughts on the rule changes which were passed for the 2021 regular season.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers, along with all other NFL teams, are preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft in just under a week, but there was other NFL news which took place recently, and it had nothing to do with the upcoming draft.

No, this news was based on the new rules changes which will go into effect during the 2021 regular season.

For a complete breakdown of those rule changes, check out the link below:

When the league announced these rules would be passed, Bob Labriola of Steelers.com sat down with Steelers Team President Art Rooney II to talk about those rules changes, and his thoughts on everything.

Rooney spoke about not just the rules which were changed, but also those which were proposed and tabled for another season. Check out some of his comments below:

Rooney on Cut Blocks

“Probably the most significant one was the one that didn’t pass, which was the chop-block rule that we had some concerns about,” said Steelers President Art Rooney II. “Our biggest concern with that was while you understand the reason for the rule because chop blocks can lead to lower body injuries, the concern we had was you’re maybe trading one set of problems for another. This (rule) could have cornerbacks, smaller guys out on the field trying to defend themselves against 300-pound guards and tackles pulling around the end and trying to take on those blocks. If you’re able to cut (the big guys) that gives (the little guys) a bit of a fighting chance against the bigger guy. It’s really a question of big people against little people, and how do the little people defend themselves in situations in the open field. We just thought that rule needed to be studied a little more, and so that was tabled.”

Rooney on OT in Preseason/Onside Kicks

“We were in favor of eliminating overtime in preseason, so that is a good development. The most significant one (that passed) was Playing Rule Proposal No. 2, which is an effort to give at least a little more opportunity to recover an onside kick. This rule limits the number of guys the receiving team can put up in the box to nine. It’s only passed for one year, and so we’ll see if it makes any difference. But with some of the recent rules changes that had been made, the percentage of onside kicks recovered by the kicking team has really dropped. This is an effort to provide a little better opportunity for the kicking team to recover.”

Rooney on the proposal for an “Eye in the sky” official

“Some of the comments we had were along the lines of ‘just too much replay,’ and I personally think we should do one or the other,” said Rooney. “If we’re going to bring the extra official in and make him the replay official in the stadium, I wouldn’t have a problem with that, but then let’s eliminate the replay in New York. I don’t think we need both. It’s really more of an administration question, in terms of where you’re going to do the replays. Before we moved replay to Central Command (in New York), it was done in stadiums and the replay official was part of the officiating crew. I at least think there’s some merit to that. With technology and all the camera angles available to us, it’s really a question of what’s the best way to do it, what’s the best location for people to do the replays from. I don’t think we need to have that many sets of eyes and that many decision-makers in the mix.”

“I’m not going to tell you I didn’t have some concerns about it,” said Rooney. “It’s really a question of: where do you do the replays from, and who really has the ability to overturn a call. This rule is designed to provide more information to the on-field referee who still has the final authority to make a call unless it goes to an official replay. These things are happening without it going to an official challenge. It can get a little confusing, and we’ll see how it works. I think we need to look harder at the whole replay situation and make sure we don’t have too many voices in the referee’s ear.”


What do you think about the upcoming rules changes for the 2021 season? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft.