NFL owners today instituted a league-wide penalty and fine any time a player is shoved forcefully out of bounds, insisting that instead players are to “gently nudge” each other off the field to end a play.
“Too often we see a player violently push, shove or otherwise force another ball-carrier onto the sidelines when that could cause harm to the ball-carrier and countless other players, coaches, officials and cheerleaders, said commissioner Roger Goodell. “Rather than use that type of potentially damaging force, players will now be required to gently nudge opposing players out of bounds. Those who don’t comply will be in danger of a penalty and substantial fine.”
Surprisingly, players welcomed the news.
“Man, it sucks to get pushed out of bounds really hard,” said Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew. “Sometimes you plow into people and have a nasty collision. It turns out football can be a pretty violent sport and it’s about time the owners took on such a serious topic.”
Goodell said the league considered one alternative to the penalty and fine approach, but ultimately ruled it out.
“We looked into having everyone on the sidelines hold huge down pillows to help brace for possible impact with players, but the kind of pillows we wanted cost like $50,” said Goodell. “And even though we’re a multi-billion dollar operation, we can’t afford the extravagance of fancy comfortable pillows.”