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NFL rules Chris Baker's hit on Nick Foles was legal


Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Well, apparently Chris Baker's hit on Nick Foles wasn't illegal after all. At least that's according to what the NFL had to say. Read this quote from the NFL's executive vice president of football operations (and former Eagles player) Troy Vincent, via the Washington Post.

"Baker didn’t do anything wrong with that hit. When you look at the rule, he didn’t do anything illegal. People can say it’s a cheap shot and you can talk about whether it might fall under unsportsmanlike conduct. But when you know the rule and you look at the play, he didn’t hit him in the head. He didn’t hit him in the neck. We looked at it. I looked at it very closely. He’s not going to be fined for that."

OK, so I get what Vincent is saying about the head/neck thing. That's defined here in Article 9, Section (b)

But what I still don't get is this point from "Passer out of the play"

It clearly states the passer must not be unnecessarily contacted by the defense through the end of the play, until the passer assumes a distinctly defensive position. How did Foles assume a distinctly defensive position?

Especially when he was contacted by Baker after Bashaud Breeland was already being tackled to the ground? Watch this GIF below, via @L_Mitros85:

Look at the still screens for further proof of Breeland already being down (or on his way down):

The rules goes on to talk about the head/neck thing, which isn't where Baker hit Foles. So is this legal contact because it's not in the head/neck? But I thought the rule indicated the passer must not be unnecessarily contacted at all?

I don't know.

Just seems weird that a league so concerned with player safety is OK with a hit like this.

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