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New helmet-use rule is more narrow, limited than believed

Goodell AP

The Commissioner’s traditional end-of-meetings press conference quickly morphed into a panel discussion, with a variety of coaches, executives, and officials explaining to the media (and, necessarily, to everyone else) the ins-and-outs of the new rule regarding the use of the helmet.

While Falcons president Rich McKay acknowledged that the new rule is a “pretty major change,” the new rule is much narrower and limited than many believe.

The new rule prohibits ball carriers and defensive players from initiating contact in the open field with the crown of the helmet.  The crown, as explained by Rams coach Jeff Fisher, is the top of the helmet.  The facemask and hairline of the helmet may still be used to initiate contact.

Fisher emphasized that ball carriers will be permitted to protect themselves, by dropping their pads and dipping their helmets.  A foul arises only if the top of the helmet is used to ram the opponent.

In that way, the new rule is an extension of the rule against spearing, which in NFL parlance means hitting a player who is on the ground with the crown (top) of the helmet.

Also, the blow with the top of the helmet must be “forcible,” a know-it-when-you-see-it standard that could potentially cause reasonable minds to differ.  As a result, the decision will be treated as a judgment call, not subject to replay review.

These types of hits are not rare.  The league office studied every game during two weeks of the 2012 season — Week 10 and Week 16 — and determined that 11 total hits during those 32 games would have drawn flags.  To the extent those numbers can be extrapolated, that’s one flag for illegal use of the crown of the helmet in the open field every three games.

McKay explained that the league hopes the new rule will trickle down to the lower levels of the sport, like other safety-related changes.  McKay specifically pointed to the adoption of the horse-collar rule at the college and high school level.

So it’s not as bad as some think, and anyone who still doesn’t like it has plenty of time to work through the various stages of grief and arrive at acceptance before the Cowboys and Dolphins suit up in early August for the Hall of Fame game.

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119 Responses to “New helmet-use rule is more narrow, limited than believed”
  1. bigbenh8tr says: Mar 20, 2013 2:17 PM

    Really doesn’t matter how narrow or limited they intend for it to be. It is just another judgement call refs will have to make, and we’ve seen how well those have been handled in the past. This will easily decide more than 1 game this season.

  2. mec693 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:17 PM

    its better than what I thoughtbut not only is this gonna be hard to officiate but how many flags will we see until players get used to it?

  3. richiedean49 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:18 PM

    NFL=No Fun League. You’ll know it when you see it.

  4. skittlesareyum says: Mar 20, 2013 2:19 PM

    I still don’t like it, but it is better than initially reported, so I guess I’m thankful for that.

  5. kpow55 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:20 PM

    All the people claiming they are done with the NFL equals more elbow room at the stadiums, shorter food lines and lanes opening up on the freeway on my way in.

    If you’re officially done, I take it I wont see you comment on any further stories as your officially done and don’t care, correct?

    Anything else makes you either weak willed or a blow hard liar with a severe chicken hawk syndrome.

    4th and 1 and 3rd and 1 commenters, learn what a tackle box is please.

    2 greatest RBs ever were heads up, J Brown and B Sanders.

  6. mungman69 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:20 PM

    Flag football anyone.

  7. burnzido says: Mar 20, 2013 2:20 PM

    Oh!! Thats all? Well in that case……let the flag football commence!

  8. riverhorsey says: Mar 20, 2013 2:20 PM

    Fisher explained this once and it was clear. You can’t use the top of your helmet as a missile.

    Simple rule.

  9. kh221 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:21 PM

    Look forward to this call being called incorrectly all season long. Goodell is ruining football.

  10. bucrightoff says: Mar 20, 2013 2:21 PM

    Actually that makes it worse. If it was broad that’d be cool, but as its narrow, it makes it an even more subjective call, which will inevitably lead to even more blown calls.

    Basically, this whole rule sucks and has only one purpose: Preventing concussions. Break your neck, your back, tear up your knee? No problem. Just don’t get concussed.

  11. nygiantstones says: Mar 20, 2013 2:21 PM

    Yeah, and you said this would be tabled until May or indefinitely.

  12. humbleminded85 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:22 PM

    Ok that makes more since, basically now both sides of the ball can not make initial contact with the crown(keyword) of the helmet. Problem is when it’s such a bangbang play, humans simply can’t always determine who did what without replay.

  13. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Mar 20, 2013 2:23 PM

    They just don’t get it! This is going to restrict players natural instincts & reactions plus officiate a key football run style out of the game of football thereby changing the game of football and on top of that leave important run play moments to subjective interpretation by the officials since we all know just how well they already do on these type of calls!

    They don’t get that it strikes at the very sanctity of the game!

  14. rpiotr01 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:23 PM

    It doesn’t matter how narrowly the rule it written. It’s a judgment call on the part of the refs and they’ve shown that they are going to err on the side of throwing a flag no matter how wrong they are proven to be after the fact. Look at hits to the QB’s head – ANY hard hit on a QB is a foul these days because if the QB’s head moves a certain way it’s deemed to be a penalty.

    They won’t be able to see if the crown hits first or if the forehead or facemask hits first – they’ll see general body language and throw a flag regardless of the letter of the rule.

  15. Stiller43 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:25 PM

    So you lower your shoulders to get low, but keep your face up to hit someone with your face mask…wouldnt that be bending your neck already? Then if a defender hits your head area (legal contact on a ball carrier), your head would snap back pretty bad…

    I hope im wrong on this, but how do you lower your shoulder a lot without also lowering your head to where youre leading with the crown?

  16. bobby2478 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:25 PM

    Thanks Florio, excellent clarification!

    Another thing people should note, the NFL ultimately sets an example for PeeWee league football, High School football etc. So the fact they are making these changes and focusing on concussions, will force high schools and pee wee leagues to pay more attention to it.

    Which will result in a game that is more safe and fun to play for your kids, 90% of whom will never play in the NFL.

  17. transam7816 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:26 PM

    So Trent Richardson hit was fine?

  18. brownsfanincali says: Mar 20, 2013 2:27 PM

    eh…. I was wasting too many Sundays on the NFL anyways, I’ll get more done around the house anyways.

  19. whatnojets says: Mar 20, 2013 2:28 PM

    whatnojets says:
    Mar 20, 2013 12:42 PM
    No big deal…applies only to open field tackles

  20. ralzdmann says: Mar 20, 2013 2:28 PM

    If you think this is where it will stop with this rule, dont fool yourself. It’s the begining not the end….

    Big RBs will go away.

  21. bharr170 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:30 PM

    Still can’t blame the Bengals!

  22. ejmat2 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:30 PM

    So in shorter terms, the NFL just approved a rule that will give refs more chances to be subjective and screw up calls. Great job!!!!

    The fact is there is no reason for this rule change. In fact, the rule change may bring more injuries by players having to think about it while on the field.

  23. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 20, 2013 2:31 PM

    A couple of definitions of the word “ram”:

    to move with extreme rapidity

    to strike against violently

    Yep no potential for disagreements or ambiguity.

  24. patfanken says: Mar 20, 2013 2:32 PM

    They better give those refs a raise because, while the rule makes sense to a bunch of executives in a plush resort in March, is not going easily or consistently enforced in November.

    Their jobs are going to be harder because so much judgment is going to be involved in this. Given how the fans have become so intolerant about perceived “bad calls” already, this is going to make the refs even more in the spot light.

  25. mataug says: Mar 20, 2013 2:32 PM

    This may sound like a dumb question but are RBs permitted dive into the end-zone when they are near the goal line ?

  26. myeaglescantwin says: Mar 20, 2013 2:34 PM

    why are so many people against a rule that is trying to eliminate SPEARING.

    this is a new trend started by Mike Alstott.
    And his career ended with a major neck injury.

    They are not saying a RB can’t lower the level and deliver a shot that involves the head, they are simply saying that SPEARING IS STILL ILLEGAL.

    in pop warner through college ball, SPEARING IS NOT TOLLERATED.
    This is when a player intentionally delivers a blow using the top of the helmet which puts both the offensive and defensive players at risk.

    dumb point to argue against.

  27. wannstache says: Mar 20, 2013 2:35 PM

    These officials can’t get pass interference calls right, so how can they possibly think they can handle this calling this new rule properly even part of the time. We are now only a few years removed from the “F’ in NFL standing for flag, as in flag football. May as well introduce the slide rule for running backs as well as QB’s.

  28. agcooney108 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:35 PM

    obviously people don’t know where the crown of the head is, some of you should research it. you have to bend your head, neck and upper back significantly to use your crown. it’s going to be pretty easy to call.

  29. nobby821 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:36 PM

    Hey maybe this is good for production. Dougie ran for 250+ last year against Oakland after following Scianos simple advice to keep his head up.

  30. jimmyt says: Mar 20, 2013 2:36 PM

    It’s no different than when first reported. I understood it then, I’m not dumb.

  31. ocean10 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:38 PM

    This is great! Safety is good — players first!

  32. shawkfan51 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:39 PM

    “Also, the blow with the top of the helmet must be ‘forcible,’ a know-it-when-you-see-it standard that could potentially cause reasonable minds to differ. As a result, the decision will be treated as a judgment call, not subject to replay review.”

    And therein lies the problem, because all it will take is one official’s faulty judgement to result in a bogus 15-yard penalty. Just like faulty judgements have led to bogus roughing the passer penalties and bogus penalties for hits on defenseless receivers. Don’t these people ever learn from their mistakes?

  33. therealbigben says: Mar 20, 2013 2:39 PM

    Listen, you people claiming you’ll never watch the NFL again are the LEAST likely to give it up. Get real. You come on PFT boards or call your radio stations but you think you’ll have something better to do this fall??

    Yes the NFL looks different than it did in the 80s (more passing, more tv stops and the prominence of fantasy football) but the NFL is still as popular as ever, still the #1 game in town.

    No one wants more officiating but no one wants to see someone die or be paralyzed on the field. This rule is as much about protecting the RBs is at is the defense. Besides how often have we heard defensive players whine that the all the new rules are favoring the offense? This is just consistency being applied to both sides of the ball.

    You fools that say you’re turning your tv off are hilarious. I’m sure there’ll be a huge dip in ratings from you clowns taking up scrapbooking and Pinterest. See ya ladies

  34. rufusporter says: Mar 20, 2013 2:40 PM

    Please. The new rule is a judgment call that officials will get wrong half the time. It will put running backs in danger and decide the fate of games. Horrible.

  35. beerbudsnbevo says: Mar 20, 2013 2:42 PM

    Tiki is flabbergasted

  36. mwatts1 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:43 PM

    @kpow55:

    Amen, less wait at the beer line for all of the “fans” that are “leaving football”. Like they say, “MORE BEER FOR US”!

  37. pkrlvr says: Mar 20, 2013 2:43 PM

    That’s great, just what the games need. More penalties, more breaks in the action, and more room for referee mistakes. They should add a few more commercial slots too while they are at it.

  38. bleedsoe9mm says: Mar 20, 2013 2:44 PM

    ask stevan ridley if this is a good rule , this is for rb protection as much as protecting defenders . anything that gets football back to form tackling and not this missle mentality is good for the game . now maybe colleges and high school will have to start teaching tackling again , in recent year allot of kids entering the league had no idea how to do a form tackle

  39. fuglyflorio says: Mar 20, 2013 2:45 PM

    A guy like Brian Dawkins wouldn’t be able to play in today’s NFL. His entire career revolved around spearing. He hardly did anything else.

  40. therealbigben says: Mar 20, 2013 2:46 PM

    Also, quit saying that this rule will decide games. If you really think that I question whether you have ever played or watched a game. You could say any one call decides a game if you want to use it as a crutch, but rarely, if ever, do you hear coaches or players saying one play changed the game. They play 60 mins. One penalty called twice a week isn’t gonna shift the outcomes of games. Get a clue.

  41. crownofthehelmet says: Mar 20, 2013 2:48 PM

    You can try to contain me, but you can’t stop me.

  42. dennis2488 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:50 PM

    Some of these commenters are morons . The helmet is not a tool or a weapon so why should any player be allowed to use it as such. At some point in the last 35 years the role of the helmet changed from being strictly a protective device into a game changer. This is a step back towards traditional football.

  43. jstyle2007 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:51 PM

    going to have more stiff arming. more facemask penalties. more eye gouching. more butt grabbing. more concussion maybe, because everyone is going to try to bodyslam each other

  44. jamaltimore says: Mar 20, 2013 2:51 PM

    Stupid rule, stupid owners, stupid commissioner and stupid fans for continuing to pay these big babies only so the owners can litigate themselves out of a big liability THEY CREATED. There’s no way the can’t institute something now that would alleviate lawsuits going forward in standard player contracts. It’s the lies they used to get out of paying players who have a legitimate beef.

  45. josdin00 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:52 PM

    I understand that the NFL does not want judgement calls reviewable. Contact looks different in slow motion vs full speed. However, why can’t you make penalties like this at least partially reviewable? The “initiating contact in the open field with the crown of the helmet” part of the rule is certainly not subjective, and could be easily reviewed.

  46. shutupandbehappy says: Mar 20, 2013 2:53 PM

    The truth is that this rule won’t trickle down to the lower levels because it’s already a rule in high school football.

    I’ve officiated high school for more than 10 years and this is actually not that hard of a call to make. It’s obvious when a runner drops his head to initiate contact with a defender in an attempt to punish vs. when the runner drops his head for other reasons like trying to plow for extra yards.

    I called this against a kid last year and the coach got all irate at me for the call when I made it, but then at half time he came and thanked me because he could see red streaks of paint from the other teams facemasks on the crown of the helmet and realized his kid was in fact leading with his head.

    I know a lot of people think this is the nerfing of the game, but it’s a good rule because it’s not safe to lead with the head. I suspect that once the RBs get used to the rule, the level of incidence will go down significantly. It really does take a intentional act of lowering the helmet to punish to get this fowl called. Dropping the shoulder achieves the same result and has far less injury risk.

  47. wannstache says: Mar 20, 2013 2:55 PM

    The sad thing is they pitch these rules as the league being concerned about the well being of the players, but it’s really about about limiting how much money they will lose in future lawsuits. If was about caring for players, they would be looking after all the physically impaired retirees.

  48. theemrsanity says: Mar 20, 2013 2:55 PM

    Ironically they create this rule on the same day they do away with teh tuck rule.

    It will be interesting to see precisely when they use this rule to dictate the outcome of a game.

  49. obsession55 says: Mar 20, 2013 2:55 PM

    Refs will completely screw this up, and cost teams games. RB’s will instinctively lower their helmets when they’re about to be tackled, they’ll initiate contact with their shoulder, and the refs will still throw a flag because they’ll see a lowered helmet! The game is too fast for these incompetent refs as it is, now were giving them another judgement call to make???

    This is the begininng of the end of pro football as we know it. Sad…

  50. baddegg says: Mar 20, 2013 2:56 PM

    One common thread is emerging with all of these rule changes, be it the defenseless receiver rule or the rb helmet rule: it is essentially a bad thing for NFL football players to have heads. Let’s face it, football is a violent sport. Large, strong men routinely block, hit and tackle one another — both within and outside the bounds of the rules. As the head is currently attached to the body, this causes a real chance that you might actually hit someone’s head in the course of a game. This cannot stand. I propose that next year we look into removing players heads from their bodies to protect them from harm or possibly replacing them with an artificial robotic head. Perhaps Dr. James Andrews could assist in this regards. We’d still have a problem with the Redskins’ shoddy field, but at least we’d be safe from concussions once and for all.

  51. eja642 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:00 PM

    @Stiller43
    Lower your shoulders and look up, your head is already back, a position it can no longer “snap” to.

    This rule has a much greater impact on defenders than ball carriers.

    I was always taught to keep my eyes up when tackling, see what you hit, wrap up and drive.

    That’s obviously impossible on every play, but on the plays where you can do it, I believe you should. Leading with the top of your helmet, rather than the facemask, puts the tackler in much greater danger. Think about which directions you can move, tilt and turn your head. Inside of your body like a turtle isn’t one of them. And it’s impacts which cause in that sort of directional movement of the head, resulting in the compression of the cervical spine, which lead to and increased risk of concussion(due to increased impulse of the collision,) broken vertebrae and severed spinal cords.

    With the addition of this rule, I wish they would eliminate some of the other nonsensical player safety rules such as “defenseless players” or unnecessary roughness for launching. So long as you’re not leading with the top of your helmet those plays really aren’t any more dangerous than other big hits in the open field or on an airborne receiver.

    Assuming this is properly enforced, which is quite an assumption. I can honestly see this rule having a positive impact on the game. It should certainly improve tackling. I’m sick of seeing tacklers just dive at the knees/ankles of a ball carrier.

  52. clincoln007 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:00 PM

    Tell me if I’m missing something….this rule now makes a goalline dive an illegal play? If your on the 1 you have to run standing straight up into a wall of 300lb elephants!

  53. nickynick04 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:00 PM

    As a Football coach of over 25 years on the high school and D 3 College level I always coached my RB s to approach a Defebder by giving him a
    ” shoulder pad to tackle “.
    As you approach the defender lead with your shoulder pad..of coarse the helmut will come into play but you are NOT Leading with it. AND
    its a great coaching /running back approach to carrying the ball.
    It is hard to tackle the RB when he leads with the shoulder pad.

    Just passing along a technique/approach I coached for years.
    Hopefully it ll help someone….Leading with your head is stupid ! And Dangerous.

  54. gpclaw says: Mar 20, 2013 3:01 PM

    Why is it more limited than believed? Jeff Fisher has been talking about this all week, and gave a press conference on Monday describing the specifics of the rule. It’s only because of lazy sports reporters parroting one another, instead of researching the available facts, that this was so blown out of proportion.

  55. turdfurgerson68 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:01 PM

    Enough with the ‘Flag Football’ comments, please.

    If you don’t care for the new rules then don’t watch the games…it’s that simple

    And for every dope who says ‘boycott the NFL’ or ‘I’ll never watch the NFL again’, please be a man and put your money where your mouth is and watch something else on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday.

    I guarantee that every moron who makes these stupid comments will be watching the upcoming season…100% of them.

  56. nickynick04 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:02 PM

    Defender

  57. trudger164 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:04 PM

    This is just to give the NFL cover as the lawsuits start rolling in re: concussions and CTE.

    They don’t care about the game as much as they care about keeping the $$ in their pockets.

  58. dvo21 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:05 PM

    it starts off narrow and every year they will keep adjusting it

  59. swagger52 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:09 PM

    Correct..this only applies with hits outside the line of scrimmage. You can call it the Ridley-Rag-Doll rule. A Patriot got knocked out of a game, so of course, we have to have a rule.

  60. boogerhut says: Mar 20, 2013 3:09 PM

    So basically we have yet another rule that will depend on the refs interpretation. We know how well that works with pass interference. I see more games decided by the refs in the future. Only a matter of time before Vegas stops taking bets for football games just like the WWE.

  61. valhalla2013 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:12 PM

    As a Viking fan I know Adrian likes to clock defensive players with the crown of his helmet. This being said I’m still ok with the new rule we all have to adapt if we want to continue to watch pro tackle football and keep the lawyers bank accounts fat and happy.

  62. jimmyt says: Mar 20, 2013 3:14 PM

    Tell me if I’m missing something….this rule now makes a goalline dive an illegal play? If your on the 1 you have to run standing straight up into a wall of 300lb elephants!

    Just what part of “outside the tackle box” don’t you understand? Which of those words are too big?

  63. coltzfan166 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:14 PM

    I actually agree with that

  64. ss2k8 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:16 PM

    The rule isn’t bad, but in today’s “flag first-ask questions later” style NFL officiating, this call is going to get screwed up constantly by ole’ eagle eyes mcgee a good 30 yards away from the pile. Not sure why this can’t be reviewed. Instruct your officials to watch it once on regular speed, if there’s force, slow it down and see where the contact is. It’s a judgement call either way as far as what constitutes force but at least you can see for sure if the crown was used.

  65. gbmickey says: Mar 20, 2013 3:17 PM

    I do hope the whiners do give up on the game as well as commenting here. Most understand why the NFL is doing this and the ultimate goal being we have a league to enjoy for years to come.

  66. mumfio says: Mar 20, 2013 3:17 PM

    obsession55,
    Instinctively lowering your head isn’t spearing. No player should be using the crown of the helmet as a weapon. People are acting like running backs spend all game spearing defenders and this rule is an affront to the game. People obviously don’t understand what using the crown of the helmet means.

  67. clssylssy says: Mar 20, 2013 3:18 PM

    So, I guess we should all just go and watch high school football. It’s usually more competitive and cheaper than season tickets in the NFL anyway!

  68. greenngld says: Mar 20, 2013 3:19 PM

    So an offensive player can be flagged for spearing now. That’s what all the hubbub is about?

  69. greenngld says: Mar 20, 2013 3:23 PM

    I always thought it should be illegal for a ball carrier to ram his hand into a tackers face and call it a stiff arm, but if a defensive player does it, it’s illegal hands to the face. Why is it different?

    This isn’t either.

    If a DB can’t spear, a RB shouldn’t be able to spear either. If a LB can’t sack a QB leading with his head, a WR shouldn’t be able to ram a safety with the top of his head.

    Get a grip, and carry on…..

  70. humbleminded85 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:23 PM

    bleedsoe9mm says: Mar 20, 2013 2:44 PM

    ask stevan ridley if this is a good rule , this is for rb protection as much as protecting defenders . anything that gets football back to form tackling and not this missle mentality is good for the game . now maybe colleges and high school will have to start teaching tackling again , in recent year allot of kids entering the league had no idea how to do a form tackle
    —————————————————-
    I got a task for you and this is not a joke or sarcasm bud, go on youtube and watch that play from both angles and you will clearly see Ridley was 100% responsible for his KO. As you will see, Pollard squared up perfectly with his right shoulder ahead of his head, Ridley drops crown of helmet into Pollards shoulder. Please watch and tell me what you think.

  71. brownsfanincali says: Mar 20, 2013 3:24 PM

    Too many lawyers, not enough football guys running this game … just wait until your favorite team loses a game when a back tries to run over a defender at the goal line as time expires.

  72. mikethesteelerfan says: Mar 20, 2013 3:25 PM

    “The league office studied every game during two weeks of the 2012 season — Week 10 and Week 16 — and determined that 11 total hits during those 32 games would have drawn flags”

    THAT IS A LOT OF FLAGS!!! game changiing flags at that!!!

  73. Kaz says: Mar 20, 2013 3:26 PM

    They are trying to get rid of the RB position. Spread them out and fling the ball everywhere is much more exciting they believe. This is just part of the process. It may take 10 years to finally come but it’s coming.

  74. ninerdynasty says: Mar 20, 2013 3:26 PM

    another door for the refs to screw up. Just how helmet to helmet half of the time is being called wrong.. this will be no exception

  75. ninerfan81 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:27 PM

    I will say this as a young guy who played RB up until junior high, we have a natural inclination to drop our head gear, its not even necessarily tought its a natural human instinct. WITH THAT SAID, I’VE NEVER seen a RB intentionally drop his head gear to the point of having his eyes parallel to the field with an inability to see his defender, acting as a spear head. #1 even as a 10yr old we’re smart enough to know that “doesnt feel right” and you could get hurt and #2 we cant see the defender whom if we really want to “truck”, we need to line up properly through the point of attack. This rule is cosmetic to appease those outside of football as a “MAJOR” measure to make the game safer…this doesn’t necessarily make the game safer but adds another layer of complexity to an already difficult gig for officials. There will be a fair number of idiotic calls on the offensive player AND it will impact how RB’s behave at the goal line where savage running and pad level is essential. Good job fooling the masses on a “non issue”. There has not been a bevy of RB “spearings” to begin with in my opinion.

  76. lbcoach34 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:28 PM

    i played, it’s a physical game – and now it seems way more violent than in my day…i have young kids now – that want to play…and i’m nervous about it

    So if it makes the game safer in due time – I’m all for it

  77. justintuckrule says: Mar 20, 2013 3:35 PM

    They told us the “defenseless receiver” would never be called also and that rule has TOTALLY castrated DBs. Now flags are thrown simply if WRs are hit too hard.

  78. kw27p says: Mar 20, 2013 3:37 PM

    Vince McMahon is looking like a genius,lol now is time for that XFL comeback!!’

  79. bgrillz says: Mar 20, 2013 3:47 PM

    Everyone here talking tough about how wimpy this makes the NFL, are not playing the game. None of you are NFL players. The game has changed. It’s so much faster, the guys playing are so much stronger. Running at full speed at a defender who is also running towards you at a high rate of speed and putting the top of your head into them is just dumb. The players do need to be protected from their self. And yes, this is a CYA move by the NFL, because all these dopes are getting concussion after concussion, and coming back and suing the league when they are broke, and drooling and can’t remember who the heck they are anymore. This is an overreaction by fans, and some players, because everyone is afraid of change. The same people so hard against this were probably the same idiot who cheered and went oh (expletive) Stevan Ridley just got knocked the (expletive) out! Grow up neanderthals!

  80. mumfio says: Mar 20, 2013 3:47 PM

    justintuckrule,
    I’ve seen many receivers get blasted on passes that were well over their heads or long after the ball hit the ground. DB’s shouldn’t just be able to get a free shot on a defenseless receiver and knock them out of a game. There are times where you are right, but more often than not the flag should be thrown.

  81. bdawk20 says: Mar 20, 2013 3:49 PM

    The rule is actually fine in theory, but like so many others have said, I do not trust the refs to enforce it properly.

    What if a guy is being tackled from behind, forcing the crown of his helmet down, and it strikes a defensive player? Somewhere, at some time, that is going to be called (incorrectly) a penalty by a ref who doesn’t have the gusto to see the entire play.

  82. nflofficeadmin says: Mar 20, 2013 3:54 PM

    You are going to have to put a stripe/marker on every helmet so it is clear to every ref, player, and fan what is inbounds and what is out of bounds. Otherwise, too much room for judgement/error.

  83. macbull says: Mar 20, 2013 3:56 PM

    This is the STUPIDEST RULE the NFL has ever created.

    Ever try to tackle someone without your head going down?

    …can’t be done !

    Goodell and the owners are STUCK ON STUPID !

    Guess I will be watching more College football, where real men play “America’s game”…tackle football !

  84. EJ says: Mar 20, 2013 3:57 PM

    There will only be a few repeat offenders. A few Running Backs, one or two Wideouts and DB’s, which will be the biggest offenders of the rule. Players like Donte Whitner, Wes Welker, Marshawn Lynch, Dannell Ellerbe and Darrelle Revis will be some of the players that will be hurt by the rule change.

  85. trapshoot says: Mar 20, 2013 3:58 PM

    Refs and players will have a hell of a time with it if passed.

  86. melikefootball says: Mar 20, 2013 3:59 PM

    Another judgement call, just what the game needed, add another hour to the gaames.

  87. omegalh says: Mar 20, 2013 4:01 PM

    It’s like tackling if you had a leather helmet on. Its a different tackling technique. Geesh, its like there isn’t more than one way to do something properly. Keep living in a black and white world.

  88. patfanken says: Mar 20, 2013 4:02 PM

    There is a big difference between hitting with the crown of you helmet and the top of your helmet. It the top that should be illegal, anywhere on the field by any player. Hitting with the crown means your eyes are up and your next is in the optimum position to take on a blow.

    To the guy who used the Ridley hit to justify the rule. Bad choice Bud. NFL officials have already come out and explained that that hit was legal.

    The more I think about it, the more I’d rather see this rule enforced and some of those touches to the heads of QB’s and so called defenseless receiver penalties become history.

  89. larryboodry says: Mar 20, 2013 4:02 PM

    I was all in on this clarification, until I got to the ‘judgement call’ part…We all know NFL referees have no judgement.

  90. southbeachtalent says: Mar 20, 2013 4:03 PM

    kh221 says:
    Mar 20, 2013 2:21 PM
    Look forward to this call being called incorrectly all season long. Goodell is ruining football.
    ___________________________________

    No, broke players that mis-managed their money and greedy lawyers DESTROYED football.

  91. lovefootball4life says: Mar 20, 2013 4:03 PM

    So I’m a running back, a defender grabbed me around the waist which is causing me to lead forward. I lunge forward for that one last yard I need for the first down just as another defender arrives in front to prevent me from getting that last yard. The lunge causes the crown of my helmet to hit him because I am nearly horizontal. Penalty for me?

    I am not looking forward to the time this rule ends a critical drive or stops a touchdown.

  92. larryboodry says: Mar 20, 2013 4:04 PM

    brownsfanincali says: Mar 20, 2013 2:27 PM

    “eh…. I was wasting too many Sundays on the NFL anyways, I’ll get more done around the house anyways.”

    You’ll be back, anyways.

  93. heyzeus143 says: Mar 20, 2013 4:05 PM

    Stupid, leaves the door open for someone to get screwed

  94. rtant2013 says: Mar 20, 2013 4:09 PM

    You guys ate ridiculous if you think this rule is stupid. First it will be fairly easy to call, to lead with the crown of your helmet you have your entire body bent over pretty much, its totally different positioning of the body between leading with the hairline and the crown of the helmet. Secondly, your taught not to do this in pop warner, you never lower your head and lead with it. Thirdly, look at the injuries this would have saved not only to RBs like Ridley in the Ravens game but the LaGrande kid from college who was paralyzed because he led with his helmet on a tackle on special teams. This is a great move in safety, and won’t change the game at all. Like I said your told not to do this when you first start playing football, guys in the NFL should already know this is stupid and can seriously injure you.

  95. tennesseeoilers says: Mar 20, 2013 4:11 PM

    What?!? You mean Jeff Fisher isn’t a tool?!?

    … Wake up, people. For a moment there, PFT fans were sounding as foolish as the Nashvillians who were (notice the past tense?) glad he left town.

  96. buminaroundbrown says: Mar 20, 2013 4:12 PM

    So does this means that the greatest power back of all time Earl Campbell would have been penalized for the greatest run in MNF history . When he hit the corner put his head down and demolished the Dolphins linebacker ?

  97. cliffordc05 says: Mar 20, 2013 4:13 PM

    There have been different reports on the number of times this rule would have been in effect last year. One report on ESPN claimed that it would have impacted 11 plays during the entire 2012 season while Florio’s figure is 11 times in three games. Clarification please….

  98. bleedsoe9mm says: Mar 20, 2013 4:15 PM

    @humbleminded85
    ya i don’t need to watch it ridley was 100 % responsible , he lowered his head . now maybe rb’s will be taught not to do that

  99. christophershearin says: Mar 20, 2013 4:20 PM

    i want a replacement commish………….

  100. norcalsportsknowledge says: Mar 20, 2013 4:21 PM

    Judgement calls are bad for the sport and need to be reviewable. One bad call can change a game, one game can change a season.

  101. pillowporkers says: Mar 20, 2013 4:26 PM

    I’m so glad they clarified this. It’s only in the OPEN FIELD 1 on 1 is when the penalty will be called…

    TRANSLATION: Only on big gains (potentially before half, 4th quarter drives) will the penalty be called, resulting in 25 yard+ game changing, field position killing penalties. I feel so much better now about the new rule.

  102. rodh32340 says: Mar 20, 2013 4:29 PM

    NFL=National Federation of Lawyers

  103. santogigantepatriota says: Mar 20, 2013 4:34 PM

    Know it when you see it. Top of the helmet. Forcible. Not subject to review. Great guidance!

  104. jamief3 says: Mar 20, 2013 4:40 PM

    I’d rather watch the lingerie league if they’re gonna powder puff it up. the first time someone drops his shoulder and turns his head and gets his neck broken, we will have another round of lawsuits. sign a waiver if you don’t know football can be dangerous.

  105. purplepunisher says: Mar 20, 2013 4:41 PM

    NFL = Not Football League

    The NFL version is quickly becoming something other then football. Sorry to say these constant rule changes are driving me to other sports.

    P.S. College football don’t listen to the NFL, you will soon be the king of sports and the NFL will be like the NBA.

  106. hmpennypacker says: Mar 20, 2013 5:10 PM

    Isn’t this a rule that applies to open field tackling? In which case it wouldn’t apply to getting through the line of scrimmage? If thats the case I don’t think this rule is bad at all. It might also answer some questions about why James Harrison is not getting work.

  107. turner28 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:25 PM

    clincoln007 says:
    Mar 20, 2013 3:00 PM
    Tell me if I’m missing something….this rule now makes a goalline dive an illegal play? If your on the 1 you have to run standing straight up into a wall of 300lb elephants!

    ————–

    You are missing something.

  108. CP says: Mar 20, 2013 5:27 PM

    It’s not going to trickle down to the lower levels of the sport, because the lower levels aren’t as stupid as the NFL.

    It will also open the door to another league.

  109. istallion says: Mar 20, 2013 5:51 PM

    The NFL needs to be aggressive in protecting its assets, ESP from head injuries.

  110. bobbybrown3 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:54 PM

    Plain and Simple there are going to be missed calls on this. I remember the Kam Chancellor hit on Vernon Davis last year that was arguably the most violent hit of the year; but it was perfectly clean legal hit!!! However he got a 15 yd penalty because it “looked” bad, same thing is going to happen, RB lowers his shoulder hits a DB hard and he’s going to get flagged if it “looks bad”

  111. justintuckrule says: Mar 20, 2013 6:14 PM

    @mumfio – the WRs shouldn’t go up for uncatchable passes then. If the risk was placed back on WRs and their QBs where it used to belong, you would see less of those types of hits.

    There’s more concussions on WRs now then ever before. The rule isn’t working! It’s encouraging WRs to be more fearless. The ground causes just as many concussions as the hit themselves.

  112. mumfio says: Mar 20, 2013 6:52 PM

    People, please explain why players not being allowed to use their helmet as a weapon is going to ruin football. There is no reason a player should intentionally use the crown of the helmet to hit another player. Spearing has been an illegal play for as long as I have been watching football. This is just expanding on the original spearing rule. What’s the problem?

  113. mumfio says: Mar 20, 2013 7:32 PM

    justintuckrule,
    Please provide a link proving WR’s have more concussions than ever before since the “defenseless receiver” rule was put in place. To say a rule that penalizes defenses for hitting receivers has actually increased concussions seems ludicrous. It would seem db’s would just want to blow up anyone in their path if they weren’t penalized or fined for it. A penalty & fine would more than likely DECREASE concussions.

    Even if you are right about increased concussions, it would probably be due more to the fact that WR’s are getting more passes thrown their way. More catches = more hits. Not the rule.

  114. fordwuzanazi says: Mar 20, 2013 9:18 PM

    Everyone notice it says defenders will not be allowed to lower their heads when tackling a ball carrier too.

  115. petedutcher says: Mar 20, 2013 9:25 PM

    “The facemask and hairline of the helmet may still be used to initiate contact.”

    So…if a tackler is coming at the guy with an Arm Bar grab/tackle…wouldn’t that cause a major neck injury???

    This new rule is going to cause more injuries than ever. And it isn’t about player safety…it’s about making teams pass more than run…because passing games are more exciting.

  116. ytownjoe says: Mar 20, 2013 11:08 PM

    If we’re going to have powder puff football and eliminate the violence, let’s hope they start a women’s league. No pads, no helmets and tight fitting uniforms. Watch which league gets the ratings.

  117. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Mar 21, 2013 9:45 AM

    Currently the NFL is enjoying a peak in popularity however these rule changes designed to make the game completely safe will water down the product and eventually popularity will suffer.

    It reminds me of how NASCAR went. More safe now than ever but not as popular as before.

  118. dcowboy4life says: Mar 23, 2013 12:20 PM

    Good grief! Do you “so-called” football fans not care if any player gets concussions, broken necks, paralyzed or killed?? This rule is to PROTECT players. If you don’t like it, simply don’t watch! That simple!

  119. thebigzippo says: Aug 14, 2013 9:42 PM

    Why don’t they put some light space age foamy stuff on the top of the helmet to provide a cushion?

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