PHOENIX - Among his long list of career highlights, it's one of Earl Campbell's most iconic plays. Taking a pitch to the left against the Los Angeles Rams, Campbell cuts upfield and lowers his head into Rams linebacker Isiah Robertson, who collapses in a heap while Campbell gets his jersey torn off as six defenders drag him to the ground 15 yards downfield. 35 years later it's one of the best remembered plays of a Hall of Fame career. Today it's a penalty.
NFL owners have passed a player safety rule barring ball carriers from using the crown of their helmets to make contact with a defender in the open field.
Several coaches and team executives expressed concern about officiating the new rule, but Commissioner Roger Goodell championed it and it passed Wednesday as the owners meetings concluded.
The tuck rule, one of the most criticized rules in pro football, was eliminated. Now, if a quarterback loses control of the ball before he has fully protected it after opting not to throw, it is a fumble.
Video review now will be allowed on plays when a coach challenges even though he is not allowed to. But the coach will be penalized or lose a timeout, depending on when he threw the challenge flag.