Veteran NFL official Ed Hochuli and his crew stopped by Cowboys camp Saturday to discuss new rule changes in the league, including the new “two strike” rule.
Starting this season, players who commit two personal fouls in a game will be ejected. Some refer to this as the “Odell Beckham Jr.” rule after the New York Giants receiver had a meltdown in a regular-season game against the Panthers last season and wasn’t ejected.
But Hochuli explained that happened because officials oftentimes don’t remember specific players’ actions over the course of a game.
“We’re not thinking this is Odell Beckham,” Hochuli said. “They’re just colored jerseys and numbers out there to us.”
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That won’t happen this year, though. Hochuli said officials will announce what player has been penalized with a “strike one,” and every crew member will mark it down. A second strike would lead to an automatic ejection.
Among the “strikes” a player may receive could be for taunting or using abusive language.
Asked the difference between acceptable trash talk and abusive language, Hochuli said: “We do talk a lot about what’s OK and what’s not OK. Our goal is to get rid of the trash talk.
“We all know there’s a lot of trash talk going on down there, but when it raises to that level where it’s getting mean and mean-spirited, not the kind of thing like, ‘I got you on that one,’ or ‘I’m going to get you,’ or whatever. When it’s getting real mean-spirited, then we try to break it up.”
Other notable rules changes include:
▪ Coaches may not come on the field unless it’s the head coach tending to an injured player. Coaches may receive a warning before being assessed a 15-yard penalty.
▪ On field goal attempts, defenders will not be able to use their hands and push off a linemen to get over the pile.
▪ A team is penalized for delay of game if they call a timeout without any remaining, or it is not permitted, and an official grants it.
▪ All chop blocks are illegal.
Hochuli opened his meeting with reporters by saying NFL officials are among the most dedicated to the game. They spend hours watching tape each week, are tested regularly in the offseason and are graded on every play.
“Officials get fired every year because their grades aren’t good enough,” Hochuli said. “I just want you to know how dedicated this group of people is.”