What is the Hines Ward Rule?
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the only known team in the NFL with two players who were so aggressive that they had rule changes created as a direct result of their style of play.
The Mel Blount Rule was put into action in 1977 to prohibit contact with a receiver within the first 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.
In 2009, the Steelers became the first team with a second rule named for one of their players and again it had to do with a receiver. Known for his aggressive crack-back blocks on defenders, Pittsburgh WR Hines Ward became Public Enemy No. 1 for all defensive players during the 2008 season when he broke the jaw of Cincinnati Bengals LB Keith Rivers on a crack-back block.
In an effort to stem crack-back blocks like the ones Ward was known for, the NFL created a 15-yard penalty for offensive players who block with hits to blindside of a defender. An offensive blocker is in violation of the rule if he uses his helmet, shoulder, or forearm to hit a defender from the side or from behind.
The final vote was 7-1 in the eight-person competition committee.
Pittsburgh was the lone vote against.
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