Understandably, the NFL has allowed ball carries to “give themselves up” by sliding feet-first and avoiding a potential hit from a defender, but the league is amending the rule.
According to ProFootballTalk, the NFL will deem any hit to a player diving feet or head first unnecessary roughness.
The verbiage to the rule reads as follows –
“A player does not have to slide feet first to be considered to be giving himself up. Regardless whether the slide is feet first or head first, as long as he gives himself up, he should receive the protections afforded to him as a player in a defenseless posture.”
Like the current rule, the ball will be spotted at the point where the at the point where the player initiated to dive as opposed to where the player ends up at the end of the dive.
The rule could come into question especially at times when a player dives for the goal line and is hit by a defender, which in theory could only result in two ways – a touchdown, or a unnecessary roughness penalty.