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NFL Adopts New Rule on Grabbing Face Masks

Jan. 9, 1962 - The NFL adopted its first playing-rule change in four years today in a safety move. Under the change, suggested by the Baltimore Colts, it will be illegal for any player to grab the face mask of an opponent, either in tackling or blocking. The penalty will be 15 yards. In the past, the ball-carrier was the only player whose mask could be grabbed. “We didn’t have any serious trouble with this in league play,” said Commissioner Pete Rozelle. “Actually, most of our injuries are of the knee or leg type. However, I did see one ball-carrier grabbed by his mask and thrown several yards. It scared me a little.”


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