A closer look at 12-men proposal and SB46


A closer look at 12-men proposal and SB46

PALM BEACH -- With 17 seconds left in Super Bowl XLVI, the Patriots had the ball on their own 44 and trailed by 4.

And, as the ball was snapped, the Giants had 12 defenders on the field.

Even though Justin Tuck was on his way off the field and was on the sidelines as the play unfolded, the result of the play -- an incompletion, eight precious seconds coming off the clock and a 5-yard penalty -- highlighted a glitch in the 12-men penalty.

At a point in the game where seconds are more precious than yards, letting an extra defender leak onto the field to defend has some upside, especially if the 12th man helps force an incompletion.

The NFL's Competition Committee will likely close this loophole this week at the league's annual meetings at The Breakers hotel.

Rich McKay, chairman of the Competition Committee, was on PFT Live with Mike Florio last week to discuss this particular proposal.

The proposed change will treat 12-defenders as it's treated in college. If the play is about to happen and there's no move being made to the sidelines, the play will be blown dead pre-snap and 5 yards will be marched off.

If a 12th defender is on his way off the field but doesn't reach the sidelines -- as in the case of Tuck -- the play will continue, a flag will be thrown and the offense will have the option to accept or decline the 5 yards.

In other words, if the proposed rule change were in place for the Super Bowl, nothing would have changed.

That's an important distinction to bear in mind this week if people start incorrectly assuming the Patriots would have gotten those eight seconds back if the rule were already in place.

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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