To prevent COVID-19 outbreaks among players, the NFL announced Thursday that tackling will be banned for the 2020 season. Instead, referees will use their own discretion as to when a defensive player is close enough to the ball that he might successfully complete a tackle.
“For instance,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell explained, “If a defensive linebacker is within five feet of the quarterback, and the quarterback has a panicked look on his face, we’ll call the play dead and a sack will be awarded to the defensive team. We have full faith in our officials that they will make the right calls.”
The organization added that if all goes well this season, tackling may be banned indefinitely to curb the spread of concussions, which the commissioner said, “is a pandemic in itself.”