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NFL Rules Changes: Chop blocks banned, PAT permanently moved to 15-yard line

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NFL owners voted in seven rules changes on Tuesday as part of their annual meetings, which are currently taking place in Boca Raton. The two highest-profile changes include the banishment of chop blocks (which are not to be confused with cut blocks, mind you) and the permanent implementation of the longer PAT going forward.

The total elimination of the chop block was met with enthusiasm by defensive players on twitter but some offensive players voiced their concerns.

Still, it's important to stress that cut blocking in one-on-one situations is still legal. The Seahawks, and most zone blocking schemes, use cut blocks as a part of their strategy, typically on the backside of plays to try to take away pursuit away from the ball. Offensive linemen will dive at a defensive players legs to knock them to the ground, and this is still legal as long as it's going in the same direction of the play.

What this rule change does is eliminate cut blocks with two offensive players involved, meaning when a defensive player is engaged with an offensive lineman, a second offensive lineman now cannot cut him down. This double-team, high-low cut block is what's known as a chop block. There were previously a few situations where high-low chop blocks were still legal last year, for some reason -- but what this does is completely take them out of the equation.

Regardless, the end of days are not nigh for the Seahawks' run game.

Anyway, apart from that, the PAT rule sticks permanently, meaning those point-after-tries are going to continue to be a bigger deal in the league. There were 71 missed PATs last year, which is 8 more than the previous seven years combined.

Other rules changes that have been approved:

-- Offensive and defensive play-callers are able to use the headset communication system whether they are on the field or in the booth.

-- A horse-collar tackle has been expanded to include the area "at the name plate and above."

-- A team will be flagged for delay of game if they attempt to call a timeout when they are not able to.

-- The NFL has eliminated the 5-yard penalty for "an eligible receiver illegally touching a forward pass after being out of bounds and re-establishing himself inbounds, and makes it a loss of down."

-- The NFL has eliminated "multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession."