What is the Mel Blount Rule?

What is the Mel Blount Rule?

Few athletes are so violent that they force rules changes, but Pittsburgh Steelers CB Mel Blount was one of the few in the history of the game.

Blount’s trademark was aggression within the first inch. He was known to jam receivers coming off the line of scrimmage with a stiff arm that was more akin to a boxer’s punch that was intended to knock the receiver out of his rhythm and offset the timing of the play. Blount’s powerful style was so successful the NFL was forced to create a new rule for 1977 that banned any contact with receivers within the first 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.

Known as the “Mel Blount Rule,” the 1977 rule is still enforced today, much to the annoyance of defensive backs everywhere.



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