Anthony Barr’s hit on Aaron Rodgers would be penalty this season

August 2, 2018 GMT

While the NFLs new rules for the 2018 season will mean Packers fans have to hear Dez caught it, Vikings fans will undoubtedly hear Anthony Barrs hit was illegal.

In a briefing with reporters on new NFL rules and points of emphasis for the 2018 season, referee Pete Morelli said the hit Barr delivered to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers last Oct. 15 which broke Rodgers right collarbone and caused him to miss nine games last season would now be a penalty, under Rule 12, Article 9 of the NFLs rule book that prevents defenders from landing on a quarterback with all or most of their body weight while the quarterback is in a defenseless position.

Players will have to kind of roll to the side, when they make that tackle, instead of plopping down on them, Morelli said when asked about the play. So yeah, Aaron Rodgers would be a foul this year. As long as hes out of the pocket, established and all that. If hes running, thats not going to be the same.


In a video that is being shown to NFL players throughout training camps and was scheduled to be shown to the Vikings on Thursday night, the voice-over says, To further protect quarterbacks, when tackling a passer who is in a defenseless posture, the defender may not land on top of him with all or most of his body weight. Barrs hit on Rodgers was not shown in the video, however, as an example of an illegal hit under the new point of emphasis.

Morelli said defenders can still make two steps toward the quarterback and tackle him when he is carrying the ball; the penalty comes when a quarterback is setting up to throw and gives up his ability to defend himself.

If you roll out and get set up, youre still a passer now, Morelli said. But if youre rolling out and throwing and a guy chases you and tackles you, youre not defenseless. They get two steps, and they can tackle you. You become defenseless when youre setting up.

Barrs hit on the former NFL MVP started a firestorm on social media last fall, as the linebacker became a special target of Packers fans ire for the hit. Rodgers also appeared on Conan OBriens show last fall, saying his angry response to Barrs hit was triggered by Barr giving him the middle finger and making a lewd gesture toward him. Barr responded to Packers fans on Twitter on Oct. 28, before the teams game against the Browns in London, saying Rodgers was shouting profanities at him before he responded.

The leagues video clarified its much-maligned catch rule, which famously voided a fourth-quarter Dez Bryant catch in the Packers 2015 NFC divisional playoff win over the Cowboys. Under the new rule, a catch is completed when a player demonstrates control of the ball, two feet (or another body part) on the ground, and a football move such as reaching to gain additional yardage. Players no longer have to maintain control of the ball when going to the ground, provided they have already satisfied the three requirements for a catch.