There is mucho wailing and gnashing of teeth over the present quandry of the rules and ramifications of hitting quarterbacks. The NFL through the Grand Imperial Pooh-Bah Ray Anderson has issued many directives concerning the Bozo no-no’s of pass rushing. It has caused much confusion. Rather than dwell on what we don’t know, let’s look at what we do know, and I think we’ll all find out it’s fairly simple.
You can’t hit a quarterback in the head helmet-to-helmet (too many examples to list).
You can’t hit a quarterback in the head with any part of your body (again, too many to list, though empirical evidence suggests punching is frowned upon, Seymour’s hit on Roethlisberger).
You can’t hit a quarterback facemask (attached to a helmet i presume) to-back (Harrison’s hit on Drew Brees).
You can’t hit a quarterback helmet-to-chest (Harrison’s hit on Ryan Fitzpatrick).
You can’t hit a quarterback from the knees down (Tom Brady Rule).
You can’t hit the quarterback while in a throwing motion (NFL memo this past week described the Ryan Fitzpatrick hit and used the words “while in a defenseless position,” which was Fitz throwing the ball).
You can’t push a quarterback to the ground just after he releases the ball (Lamar Woodley on Bruce Gradkowski).
You can’t land on a quarterback with “Full weight.” (Harrison’s hit on Jason Campbell).
You can’t hit a quarterback when he runs and slides.
Thus, you are only permitted to, while in the act of rushing the quarterback, taking your helmet off (there’s simply no way to get around a helmet contacting the quarterback while moving forward), hitting the quarterback in the thighs above the knees only with the shoulder before he begins to throw the ball or starts the act of sliding. (Presuming that the quarterback actually has the ball and is on the field of play and not standing on the sidelines holding a clipboard).
Unless of course, your name is Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Then the above will not apply.
There, simple wasn’t it?