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SEC Announces Football Rule Changes

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

With this being an off-year in the rules cycle of the SEC, there were not too many major changes in the rules that will govern play in the league, but SEC Director of Officials Steve Shaw did announce a few changes for the 2014 season.

One change that should be sure to make football fans happy is the a change to the targeting rule.  Last season, if a player was flagged for targeting, he was disqualified from the game and the team received a 15-yard penalty.  The hit would then be reviewed and the disqualification could be overturned.  However, the 15-yard penalty would still be enforced.

Starting this year, that changes.  If the penalty is overturned, both the disqualification and yardage penalty goes away.  However, if there is another personal foul involved in the penalty, that yardage would still be enforced.

It also looks like the SEC tried to clean up the language surrounding targeting a bit as it concerns quarterbacks.  The league has initiated a strike zone of sorts when a quarterback in is in the "passing posture." **SPOILER: THIS WILL BE OUR NEW AREA OF EMPHASIS FOR FUSSING AND DEBATING** When a quarterback is in the passing posture, defensive players can only strike him in the area above the knees and below the shoulders.

Another change that could have an impact on the game is the introduction of an eighth official to the crew. While this is more of a test run this year as only one crew will have the eighth official, every team will have a game officiated by this crew.  The eighth official, known as the center judge, will have the duty of spotting the football.  I'm not sure about you, but I can't wait for the drama of what happens when this crew does not get the Iron Bowl and the Tigers look slow running their offense.

The final change taking place will be one everyone in a press box will love. Teams must now have numbers that stand out on the jersey.  Teams that do not take care of that will be penalized a time out at the start of the quarter.  As someone who has been in the press box and had a difficult time seeing numbers, this will be a welcomed change.