Lets phrase it like this. If I ask you to hand me a couple of protocols, what would you give me? A piece of paper with rules on it? I understand its a set of rules, but how does a computer execute that piece of papers rules? It cant.
Or how does a computer execute the rules? in a text file? an exe? Is a protocol like a driver, is it code embeded into an operating system and cant be removed like a driver can? Bottom line is, if I ask for the driver of a NIC card, you can hand me that file of (RULES) we all know as a "driver" on a CD and I can copy that driver to my PC (its tangable), and the NIC will follow those rules to a T. So what is a protocol in that regard?
So, if I ask someone to hand me a protocol, what would it be? What exactly would you hand me?