ST. LOUIS—Rams quarterback Marc Bulger on Wednesday submitted a formal request to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in hopes of having a “5-Mississippi” pass-rush rule instituted before the Rams’ first game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I’m one more big hit away from becoming a certified marshmallow-head,” Bulger said after a discouraging practice in which he was repeatedly sacked by the scout team defense. “I’ve always wanted to meet a matador, and it appears management has granted that wish by signing five of them to play offensive line for the Rams.”
In a seven-page petition faxed to the league office, Bulger spelled out the definition of his “5-Mississippi” rule: the defense must count aloud “1-Mississippi, 2-Mississippi, 3-Mississippi, 4-Mississippi, 5-Mississippi” before attempting to rush the quarterback. Bulger’s rule is commonly observed in schoolyard contests and backyard games across the United States.
Bulger cited the Rams affinity for allowing sacks—especially as the health of left tackle Orlando Pace continues to decline—and mentioned that some of the linemen just have names that don’t instill confidence in a signal caller.
“When one of your linemen is [right guard Richie] Incognito, you start to wonder if they’ll show up on game day,” Bulger wrote.
The Rams’ golden arm also penned a concession that the defense could be allowed one immediate rush per four downs, but that the quarterback would have the option to forgo the center-quarterback exchange and begin the play holding the ball 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage—the schoolyard version of the shotgun formation.
In the document’s final section, labeled “Innovative Thoughts,” Bulger suggested the quarterback could earn an “immunity necklace” a la Survivor by going five pass plays without being sacked or by running for positive yardage or getting back to the line of scrimmage without fumbling the ball.
Bulger’s counterpart in Sunday’s game, Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, said he’s not willing to go as far as a “5-Mississippi” delay, but might throw his support behind some sort of compromise.
“I grew up with the ‘5-Chicago’ rule, and it seemed to make everyone happy,” McNabb said. “Three syllables are plenty.”
Goodell has yet to publicly comment on Bulger’s petition; a source from the commissioner’s office said Goodell “will probably do a ‘5-Mississippi’ count before reacting to the request.”