Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the dreamiest football player of them all? Why, Tom Brady of course. Don't agree with us? Well the NFL certainly does, and they're doing their best to make sure Tommy doesn't get any more unnecessary boo-boos (God forbid!).
Yesterday the league approved four new rule changes, including a brand new "Tom Brady Rule" (not to be confused with the one made up on the spot for him a few years ago) that prohibits defenders who have been knocked to the ground from lunging at quarterbacks (meanwhile Bengal fans ask where's their "Carson Palmer Rule"). But before all you hating-ass haters start thinking TB's getting some kind of preferential treatment, know that he's not the first athlete to have the game changed for him. Peep our guide to the 10 Plays and Players That Sparked Sports Rule Changes...
THE PUNCH, 1977
• After L.A. Laker Kermit Washington's infamous right hook to Houston Rocket Rudy Tomjanovich's jaw on December 9, 1977, the NBA mandated that any player throwing a punch be expelled from that game and, at minimum, be suspended for his team's next contest. Not that that's stopped about half the NBA from taking swipes at each other since.
THE AVERY RULE, 2008
• During last year's NHL playoffs, the New York Rangers' Sean "Sloppy Seconds" Avery camped out in front of New Jersey Devils' goalie Martin Brodeur and proceeded to throw a hissy fit in an effort to distract him during a NY power play (it worked). The very next day the NHL enacted a new rule essentially banning players from repeating Avery's 11-year-old-on-four-dozen-pixie-sticks routine. Although they are apparently allowed to repeat his hockey-player-on-[INSERT CANADIAN ACTRESS' NAME HERE] routine.
THE TRENT TUCKER RULE, 1990
• With 1/10th of a second left to play in a tie ball game between the Knicks and Bulls on MLK Day 1990, New York guard Tucker caught an inbounds pass and heaved a nothing-but-net three-pointer to win the game. The Bulls protested, but the play stood. The rule was subsequently changed to allow only tip ins on plays where fewer than 3/10ths of a second remained on the clock. Gaining a more than adequate matter of revenge, the Bulls would dominate their rivalry with the Knicks through the '90s.
BOB GIBSON, 1968
• The pitcher who put the b's, a's, d's and s's in "badass" so thoroughly dominated the National League in 1968 that Major League Baseball lowered the pitching mound before the '69 season. He then put the "so" and "what?" in "so what?" and proceeded to mow down the NL again in '69.
EDDIE GAEDEL, 1951
• Gimmick-loving St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck signed the 3'7" Gaedel in August of '51, and filed the 26-year-old dwarf's contract with the league on a Friday afternoon, knowing that it would not be examined until the following Monday. Gaedel appeared as a pinch hitter in a game against the Detroit Tigers that Sunday, August 19, and walked on four pitches prior to being removed for a pinch runner. Gaedel's contract was voided the following day and the American League started examining new player contracts a little more regularly. (Incidentally, Gaedel suffered from a bad case of being typecast, started drinking, and died at age 36 after getting beaten up in a barroom brawl. So all's well that ends well.)
THE ROY WILLIAMS-HORSE COLLAR RULE, 2004
• The Cowboys safety tackled Terrell Owens by the back of his jersey in a December, 2004 game, breaking the wide receiver's ankle. The next year, so-called "horse collar" tackles were banned; amazingly enough, pony cuff, goat hem, flea inseam and various other animal-tailoring takedowns are still legal.
THE HOLY ROLLER, 1978
• About to be tackled during the waning moments of a Chargers-Raiders game, Oakland QB Ken Stabler waived his right to the tuck rule and fumbled the ball forward. It was subsequently batted and kicked by various Raiders before Oakland tight end Dave Casper landed on it in the end zone, scoring the winning touchdown. The league later disallowed the offense from advancing a fumble in the last two minutes of each half, leaving the current tally for disputed calls involving the Raiders at Silver and Black: 1; everybody else: 15,476.
THE LEW ALCINDOR RULE, 1967
• In an attempt to reign in the dominance of Lew Alcindor, college basketball banned the dunk after the 1967 season. Alcindor later changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar because pork is a dirty meat; the NCAA later changed their rule because it was really fucking dumb.
LENNY RANDLE, 1981
• While playing third base for the Seattle Mariners, Randle attempted to blow a slowly hit ball into foul territory. MLB later enacted a rule preventing players from changing the path of batted balls even if they didn't actually touch them. Of course Randle was already famous for punching his manager, so he was something of a trailblazer on a couple of fronts.
THE MARTIN BRODEUR RULE, 2005
• Prior to the 2005-06 season, the NHL instituted a rule prohibiting goalies from handling the puck behind the goal line, except in a trapezoidal box behind the net. The rule was meant to stymie Devils' netminder Marty Brodeur and his propensity for taking the puck on long walks and reading it James Patterson novels, thereby making hockey just that much more inscrutable for casual fans.
*BONUS FUTURE RULE CHANGE*
KERLON AND THE SEAL DRIBBLE
• Honestly, we love this guy, but they're going to have to outlaw his Sea World act before somebody clubs his ass to death, Canadian pelt-hunter style.
Special thanks to the SSSL for research assistance!