Hat tip to our friends at Stampede Blue for finding this rule change.
Having played the majority of their home games indoors since the Metrodome opened in 1982, rules concerning snow haven’t really been an issue for the Minnesota Vikings for most of recent NFL history. However, a new NFL rule change could have an effect on them in a couple of their games in 2018, as well as for other teams going forward.
According to the new NFL Rule Book under the section concerning “non-player fouls,” the NFL has added this rule:
It is impermissible for the grounds crew or other team personnel to clear away snow for a Try kick, field goal, punt, or kickoff.
As Stampede Blue points out, the genesis of this may have come from last year’s game between the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts, which was contested in a huge snowstorm in upstate New York. During one of the timeouts, the Colts had both players and non-players on the field to attempt to clear a space for Adam Vinatieri to attempt an extra point.
Perhaps the most egregious example of this comes from a 1982 contest in Foxboro that came to be known as the “Snowplow Game.”
During a timeout late in a scoreless game, Patriots coach Ron Meyer got the driver of a snowplow that was being used to clear some of the yard markers to go out onto the field and drive over the spot that the Patriots were going to be attempting a 33-yard field goal from. The kick was successful, and wound up being the only points in a 3-0 Patriots victory.
It doesn’t sound like the new rule prevents players from attempting to clear off a spot for the kicker and holder, but they can’t have a bunch of non-players out there helping them out with it, either.
The Vikings do have three potential snow games this season. . .well, maybe three. They have a late October trip to the northeast to take on the New York Jets, a mid-november contest against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, and they travel to Foxboro to take on the Patriots on the first Sunday in December.
If any of those games do end up being “snow games” and the home team has to attempt a game-tying or game-winning field goal, at least we won’t have to worry about a snowplow driver giving their special teams any assistance.