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Mike Brown voted against helmet rule because it’s hard to officiate

Mike Brown, Marvin Lewis AP

Bengals owner Mike Brown, the only one of the league’s 32 owners to vote against the new rule against initiating contact with the top of the helmet, says he did so because he believes the rule will be too tough for the officials to enforce properly on collisions that happen in the blink of an eye.

“It’s a very controversial change,” Brown told reporters on Tuesday, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I view it as difficult if not impossible play to call. We had a lot of this with the secondary plays last year. I didn’t think those calls were always right. These plays happen in a flash. They’re just a reaction to people: Did he hit him with his shoulder pad? Did he hit him with his helmet? Was it intended? That’s difficult to sort out. I’m not confident we should add another discretionary call. We’re asking an awful lot of our referees to make those kind of calls.”

Brown said he understands the intent behind the rules change, but he would like to see some solid evidence that the new rule will prevent injuries before he’s on board with it.

“We’re all for safety and make it as safe as we can devise,” Brown said. “The issue on this one is hard to measure. Just how much of an impact does it have on safety? There are no statistics in front of us as far as injuries. It makes me wonder if we have properly quantified it to make a decision on it now. In the past we have actions that have crept into the game that have been taken out. In the old days we had the clothesline and then the head slap. They crept into the game and then they were removed and it was good. In this case I don’t know if we are talking about anything that has crept into the game at all. It is something football has had as long as I remember.”

But it’s something football won’t have anymore.

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67 Responses to “Mike Brown voted against helmet rule because it’s hard to officiate”
  1. reesesteel23 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:24 PM

    Smart Man!

  2. thesmartest1 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:24 PM

    Good job Mike Brown.

  3. ravenator says: Mar 20, 2013 5:25 PM

    Did Mike Brown just make a smart football decision, shocking!

  4. donovandancy says: Mar 20, 2013 5:27 PM

    Someone make a new league that actually plays football, or run over and shoot the current managers who wont protect the sport in the name of “protecting the sport”.

  5. FinFan68 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:28 PM

    Brown is right

  6. lightcleric says: Mar 20, 2013 5:29 PM

    Exactly right. They can’t even get regular helmet-to-helmet calls right yet(hi Bill Levy!) and they want to add ANOTHER layer of complexity to it?

  7. ottawabrave91 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:29 PM

    I have said for years that goodell is ruining the NFL. he has no character, accountability, integrity, or common sense

  8. runwright44 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:29 PM

    But it’s something football won’t have anymore.

    This isn’t written in stone. If attendence/tv ratings go south dramatically the league will once again bow to the cash cow and amend or change the rule.

  9. jeffchadwick says: Mar 20, 2013 5:29 PM

    You know there’s a problem when Mike Brown is the voice of reason.

  10. andyb02 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:29 PM

    RIP Football

  11. cmich2006 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:30 PM

    He is exactly right. The NFL is just adding more subjectivity to the game which is going to make it more difficult to officiate and thus have more controversial outcomes. This will drive away fans as they will start to realize that the overemotional feelings they have for their team on Sundays just won’t be worth it anymore when games are taken from them because of the bad calls. We might be there already when you look at the Denver- Ravens game this year.

  12. Max says: Mar 20, 2013 5:30 PM

    Can someone stop them from running please… they can sprain their ankles!

  13. racistchecker says: Mar 20, 2013 5:34 PM

    I see the intent is to protect the heads of players is to prevent concussions that the NFL is being scrutinized for but doesn’t the rule now expose the players whole torso and the organs it protects?

    I can see years from now players sufferings from internal organ damage instead of concussion symptoms. Which is worse?

  14. ttoptom says: Mar 20, 2013 5:34 PM

    Many good comments already made.

    But I have a cynical question prompted by last year’s officials lock-out:

    In passing rules that can only be properly called using hi-speed, hi-def cameras, is the league forcing a move to few refs and basically all calls made from the booth?

    Like I said, it’s cynical, but doesn’t seem beyond possibility with Goodell.

  15. ajgreenshands says: Mar 20, 2013 5:36 PM

    He may be frugal, but he’s not an idiot.

  16. cometkazie says: Mar 20, 2013 5:36 PM

    An owner is making sense.

    Amazing . . . .

  17. milkcan44 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:38 PM

    Forget lowering the head. Why are ballcarriers and receivers allowed to snap back a defender’s head by stiff-arming them in the facemask??

  18. roxtar10 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:41 PM

    Too hard? How about damn near impossible! This is going to be so subjective and ruin game flow because of the inconsistency of these calls, it’ll be ridiculous.
    On another note, the Bucs are trying to trade LeGarrette Blount. What does this do for his trade value now that 9 out of every 10 carries for him is a flag? No need for the short yardage back or the goalline poacher any more. At least fantasy football should pick up some interest knowing that 3rd and goal from the 1 yard line now has to be a passing play.

  19. FinFan68 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:41 PM

    ottawabrave91 says:
    Mar 20, 2013 5:29 PM
    I have said for years that goodell is ruining the NFL. he has no character, accountability, integrity, or common sense
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    He also has nothing to do with rules changes. That would be the competition committee and the owners

  20. asmodean13 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:43 PM

    I think this rule is just another way for the league to control games and playoffs. And essentially proves its viable to fix football games. I can’t believe I am saying this but I am proud of mr. Brown standing up against it. More discretionary calls by the officials is not what football needs. He’ll they can’t get half the calls right as it is. Bs rule. Leagues wants to much control.

  21. giablommi says: Mar 20, 2013 5:47 PM

    As low an opinion as I’ve had of Mike Brown through the years, he just went up a few notches in my book.

  22. bosworthstokefield says: Mar 20, 2013 5:48 PM

    I do understand the player safety concerns. However, Mike Brown is right. The second paragraph of this post sums it up, succinctly. Making those judgment calls w/o the benefit of replay is nuts. Was Ed Reed penalized and fined (which was later reduced) for a shoulder pad to helmet hit on Mike Wallace, last year?

    Those penalties can end up stunting momentum. A 50 yard run deep inside the red zone can end up 2nd and 25 from your own 15. If the rule is applied incorrectly due to the full speed of the game.

  23. bengals69 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:48 PM

    This rule change, I believe, stems from the litigation the NFL players have started against the NFL. The NFL is being sued right now for withholding information on head trauma injuries in the NFL. So the NFL has to do everything within reason to show any judge that they are being proactive.

    Mike Brown is correct about the practicality of this change but that isn’t the point anymore. The point is now doing what they can to protect the NFL from a huge settlement with thousands of retired and active players.

  24. dukemarc says: Mar 20, 2013 5:49 PM

    This is what it’s come too NFL – your decisions are so stupid even Mike Brown disagrees with them.

  25. gizzmonic says: Mar 20, 2013 5:50 PM

    I found an old vcr tape last weekend from the 80’s. Browns against the Bengals. Man has the game changed. I became a fan because of those games. Hard hitting, raw energy, QB’s hitting the turf. All narated by Don Criqui and Bob Trumpy. If I had the choice between watching re runs of 1980’s football and live 2013 games this fall, I may choose the 80’s.

  26. bryans49ers says: Mar 20, 2013 5:52 PM

    What an overwhelming response by the fans. The league better take notice

  27. gcsuk says: Mar 20, 2013 5:53 PM

    Wow. At first I thought that was Carlton Banks of “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” standing next to Brown. Didn’t realize he and Marvin Lewis were separated at birth.

  28. Stiller43 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:53 PM

    Just like you cant blame the steelers players for passing the cba, you cant blame the bengals for this dumb rule. Good job, mike brown.

  29. boogerhut says: Mar 20, 2013 5:55 PM

    I won’t be surprised if Vegas stops taking bets for the NFL. Refs have yet another way to decide the outcome. Wrong team winning? Offensive PI. Or defensive PI. Or lowering the head. Same result, end of drive. Probably won’t be able to challenge it either.

  30. prime311 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:56 PM

    At first I was against this rule, but logic tells me that if Mike Brown is the only dissenter then maybe I’m wrong.

  31. clssylssy says: Mar 20, 2013 6:04 PM

    I have to respect Mr. Brown for having the courage to stand up for something so controversial that obviously needed more discussion and thought. There are already to many “grey areas” that leave calls descretionary and are not open to challenge.
    It seems rather sneaky and underhanded for the Owners to indicate that this decision would be tabled until May only to do an end run and pass it when the “football guys” weren’t looking. Thank you Mr. Brown, you are a man among followers.

  32. lightninglucci says: Mar 20, 2013 6:05 PM

    Make it reviewable. If a flag is thrown, and the reviews show no helmet-to-helmet contact, then the coach can challenge it and save the 15 yards.

    Or do we wait for a blatantly bad call to decide a primetime/playoff game before we do something?

  33. jikkle49 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:13 PM

    Mike Brown the voice of reason?

    This has to be an episode of the Twilight Zone.

  34. tincansailor981 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:15 PM

    A man with guts, how novel.

  35. kane337 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:16 PM

    Mike Brown the voice of reason for the league? Bengals must be on their way to a Super Bowl.

  36. drez146 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:17 PM

    At least there’s one owner with his sack still attached

  37. flannlv says: Mar 20, 2013 6:18 PM

    What happened to Mike Brown? First the Carson Palmer trade and now this statement?

  38. bucrightoff says: Mar 20, 2013 6:19 PM

    I think everyone became Bengals fans today.

  39. smitty152169 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:22 PM

    How does the worst owner in the league make the best decision on this rule? Only if he would make better decisions when it comes to his football team and yes I’m a Bengals fan.

  40. cincyorangenblack says: Mar 20, 2013 6:24 PM

    And this line of “not with the flock” thinking, ruling, voting is exactly why the ‘NFL’ (under Goodell) continually has it in for the Bengals….

    Crazy how the most ‘facey’ owners are the guys who’s teams always seem to get calls… and favorable matchups and opportune times of the year (Steelers- Rooney’s & Patriots- Kraft; Modell Ravens Era)

    not sayin, i’m just sayin

    Good on you though Mike Brown, finally starting to change your ways these last 3-ish or so years.
    He’s like that grampa everyone knows who was grumpy as hell, then one day decided he was going to be cool & hip

  41. jkampel20 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:24 PM

    The Bengals (much like everyone else) have been burned in critical moments (Reggie Nelson delivering textbook hits) many times.

    He’s sick of it. Players are sick of it. Fans are sick of it. Roger loves it.

    I’m shocked he was the only owner that wants to give the zebras even more power to decide games.

    It’s a sad day.

  42. norcalsportsknowledge says: Mar 20, 2013 6:26 PM

    It’s hard to believe he’s the only one with enough common sense too at least want to take a longer look at this. This was rushed through, which is scary. League is trying to change the game and by doing it quickly they’re hoping no one will notice. I applaud Mr. Brown.

  43. webofbelief says: Mar 20, 2013 6:29 PM

    If the purpose of this article was to somehow embarrass Mike Brown, you failed miserably. He clearly has a well-reasoned argument to back his position. What about the other owners?

  44. 303bengalguy says: Mar 20, 2013 6:34 PM

    Brown has been historically on the opposite side of the consensus of the owners and he was right when he and the Bills owner were the only two to vote against the previous CBA.

  45. scchamil says: Mar 20, 2013 6:35 PM

    You can take shots at Mike Brown for a lot of things, but he has been on the right side of history on a couple of these league decisions now. I believe he was one of only two owners to vote against the distatrious collective bargaining agreement that caused the last lockout too. More important than debating the man, is debating his reasoning here… and it couldn’t be more sound. This is a problematic rule.

    It (along with the defenseless receiver judgment rule) cheapens the game. The difference between extreme success and extreme failure on any given play rests too much in the interpretation of the officials. Replay should be allowed and these penalty should only be called in the most aggregious instances. Player safety is one thing… making rules for the public appearance that you care about player safety is another.

  46. harrisonhits2 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:35 PM

    He’s certainly right in this case. I can’t wait to see the whining from certain coaches and players next year once the refs start calling this.

    If you thought PI is poorly and inconsistently enforced, wait till you see what the NFL’s lousy refs do with this one.

  47. Max says: Mar 20, 2013 6:37 PM

    Is this a way for the league to make money from players, by fining players for illegally lowering the heads?

    Is it really more about the league generating revenue rather than actual safety? Sort of like a COP at the end of the month setting up a speed trap to fill his quota so the Dept. can make some money!

  48. beachsidejames says: Mar 20, 2013 6:40 PM

    Safety? This is going to leave running backs vulnerable. Hard enough to be a physical back in a physical game. Now just before impact of the hit the league wants them to have this on their mind. Not a good move.

  49. beachsidejames says: Mar 20, 2013 6:43 PM

    Mr. Brown was the ONLY one with the guts to vote no. It’s a mans game…Lets keep it that way.

  50. jkampel20 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:47 PM

    Following up to my post earlier….

    Reggie Nelson has been flagged multiple times for textbook hits…

    Hits that were so perfectly executed, the NFL took the tape and showed it to Rookies at some symposium, and told “this is how you hit with your shoulder”.

    Wait….don’t mind the yellow flag on the ground.

    The NFL is becoming a joke. I’m a diehard Bengals fan, and for ONCE I can stand proud of that fact…. Haha.

  51. mikebrownistheworstownerinprosports says: Mar 20, 2013 6:52 PM

    As a Bengals fan for 20 years, this may be the first time I’ve said this: Mike Brown is right.

  52. hqdeezy says: Mar 20, 2013 6:53 PM

    How is Goodell ruining the NFL? He proposed the change, but NFL team owners were the ones who voted in favor of the ban.

  53. thefiesty1 says: Mar 20, 2013 7:15 PM

    He doesn’t really care about the new helmet rule. If his players get hurt it’s no problem for him since he pays them so little it won’t cost him very much.

  54. thraiderskin says: Mar 20, 2013 7:24 PM

    In real-time speed… yeah, virtually impossible. Well played Brown.

  55. truthserum4u says: Mar 20, 2013 7:45 PM

    Mike Brown – voice of reason…who would have thunk it?

  56. orivar says: Mar 20, 2013 8:08 PM

    Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while just took on a whole new meaning. Mike Brown did something right.

  57. sellout1983 says: Mar 20, 2013 8:09 PM

    I agree with Mike Brown…well, there’s a first time for everything! Who Dey!

  58. zenrooster says: Mar 20, 2013 8:10 PM

    In that picture, Marvin Lewis’ smile is saying “This is the first time my boss has talked sense”

  59. 4getu says: Mar 20, 2013 8:12 PM

    All these rules are just making it easier for the NFL to dictate who they want in the playoffs and who will play in the Super Bowl. Goodell wanted ray Lewis to retire on top last season, something tells me he will want Peyton manning to retire on top this upcoming season. Sure hope I’m wrong

  60. godevilsasu says: Mar 20, 2013 8:34 PM

    Props to Mike Brown. Major points…

  61. chocopoppy says: Mar 20, 2013 8:49 PM

    I wish Brown would retire but I agree with him here. This also proves he is no puppet for Goodell. All the “key” owners like Jerrah, Bowlen, Rooney, Mara, etc line up to support Goodell while Mikey Brown votes however the hell he wants to. Props.

  62. sparky151 says: Mar 20, 2013 9:37 PM

    Brown is right that the refs tend to throw their flag first, decide what happened later when hits to the head were made a point of emphasis. As mentioned a couple times already Reggie Nelson was called a couple times for hits that replay showed were perfectly legal. The refs are league employees and there is a perception that some teams get favored treatment. The Bengals aren’t one of those teams so the less subjectivity the better from the Bengal’s point of view.

  63. mikel119 says: Mar 20, 2013 11:35 PM

    what color flags are going to be put on the side of the players??? or if a player is touched will there be instant replay and can a couch challenge the touch. was it 2 hands or one.

  64. tiggerblood says: Mar 21, 2013 12:01 AM

    I’ve been screaming this for two years now. Players know the risk of playing football. They sign the contract the litigation is bologna, by former players who are broke after blowing their fortune. The only former players that have a legit complaint are the ones from before the ’90s when they didn’t make millions. Set up a sports medicine hospital for football related injuries for all former players to use the NFLPA and the NFL owners should find away to fund this by setting money aside in contracts for this. But instead of spending money out of the billion dollar industry on this they’ll change the rules and RUIN the game. In a previous comment someone stated time to start another league. I couldn’t agree more, leave are American pastime alone. The NFL believes they’re so popular that whatever they do people will still watch. Come on my fellow fans it’s time to make a stand without us they’re is no money to be had!

  65. golewgo2 says: Mar 21, 2013 12:47 AM

    Mike Brown was channeling Al Davis on this vote.

  66. jprather17 says: Mar 21, 2013 12:31 PM

    Its tempting to become aBengals fan because of his stance against this stupid rule. Its also tempting to become a Packers fan because they arent owned by a pathetic old man trying to remake the game so it sells better. If the fans own Green Bay who made the decision to vote for them? Shouldnt they be allowed to vote on line and the majority vote gets the vote for their team? If i was the Packers fans who didnt agree with this rule I would be complaining to the chairman of the board.

  67. bonniebengal says: Mar 21, 2013 4:14 PM

    I personally think what is causing all these over the top safety rules is the current lawsuit against the NFL by former players. They are trying to eliminate this happening again in the future. It’s ALWAYS about the money.

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