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NFL wants coaches to not complain about new helmet-use rule

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Before Wednesday’s 31-1 vote that prevents players in the open field from using the tops of their helmets to ram opponents, plenty of coaches expressed concerns about the proposal.

Now that the rule has been passed, don’t count on any coaches popping off.

As we mentioned earlier in the day on Twitter, word around the league meetings in the aftermath of the vote is that the powers-that-be told coaches not to criticize the new rule.

It’s not uncommon for the NFL to direct its coaches to be discreet. ¬†On plenty of topics, the First Amendment rights crafted by the founding fathers get flung overboard once the coach applies his John Hancock to a seven-figure contract.

It’ll be interesting to see whether the coaches continue to comply once their teams lose 15 yards after a long play.

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65 Responses to “NFL wants coaches to not complain about new helmet-use rule”
  1. macwomack says: Mar 20, 2013 5:54 PM

    Why are the coaches being silenced? John Mara who opened his pie hole to ESPN and admitted collusion against the players union should be the one that they put a muzzle on.

  2. tommysaint1 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:54 PM

    This isn’t America!
    It’s the NFL, two totally different laws.

  3. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Mar 20, 2013 5:55 PM

    No …. The NFL doesn’t want coaches to complain about anything. They get fined for things like that. Shocking they’d say this. News?

  4. FinFan68 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:55 PM

    If you make a rule and then have to immediately warn people to not badmouth that rule then there is probably something wrong with the initial thought process.

  5. thesmartest1 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:55 PM

    These lawyers are out of control.

  6. lonespeed says: Mar 20, 2013 5:56 PM

    They won’t need to, the fans will do all the complaining for them.

  7. lightcleric says: Mar 20, 2013 5:56 PM

    And the coaches want owners to not pass rules when they don’t know what they’re doing. You don’t always get what you want.

  8. Corey Jeppesen says: Mar 20, 2013 5:58 PM

    Wow. Whatever.

  9. niquebchillin says: Mar 20, 2013 5:59 PM

    Told em not to complain, yet it passed by a 31-1 count … Hmmm something fishy.

  10. craigmaitland says: Mar 20, 2013 6:00 PM

    Probably the worst rule change in the history of football. It is going to be wildly inconsistent how its called. Game winning runs are going to get called back, or NOT called back when based on the rules. Worst of all its not going to protect runners either. So they are supposed to stay upright and get lit up? Coaches should be complaining loud and hard right now.

  11. Stiller43 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:01 PM

    Thats nice…

    “Hey guys…were gonna pass this ridiculous rule thats impossible to officiate because when we get sued, we want to be able to prove we made an effort to make things safe…the refs will mess up all the time, but we’ll try to even it out…just dont complain about it, please!!!”

  12. bryans49ers says: Mar 20, 2013 6:02 PM

    This is not NASCAR where they fine drivers mad cash for speaking out against the cars they are forced to drive and compete in,ie: Denny Hamlin. The coaches have to speak out against this kind of crap in order to protect the integrity of the game and the fundamental way its coached and played

  13. 808raiderinparadise says: Mar 20, 2013 6:04 PM


  14. 808raiderinparadise says: Mar 20, 2013 6:05 PM

    Wouldn’t wanna be the first reff to throw that flag when a team is trying to run out the clock in a close game.


  15. thetooloftools says: Mar 20, 2013 6:08 PM

    Players are now suing the NFL because of these hits being legal. They brought this on themselves so they really need to shut up.

  16. whatevnfl says: Mar 20, 2013 6:08 PM

    It’s okay if it’s “chatter.” As long as it’s not official complaining.

  17. SilentMajority says: Mar 20, 2013 6:09 PM

    People are making a bigger deal about this than it really is. It isn’t going to change the game much, if at all. It’s funny how people complain about the NFL only caring about their profits and not about safety, and when they address the safety issues everyone whines about how they destroyed the game… So why would they intentionally destroy the game if its going to hurt their profits?

  18. fordwuzanazi says: Mar 20, 2013 6:10 PM

    They have spun this thing out of control. What it sounds like to me is the NFL doesn’t want defenders lowering their heads on ball carriers (i.e. pistol QB’s) and thats who will be penalized the most.

  19. trapshoot says: Mar 20, 2013 6:12 PM

    Hilarious to say the least.

  20. highpowered350 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:14 PM

    I purchased a season ticket after paying a PSL fee to a game with a different set of rules, can i now get my money back or will i have to file a LAWSUIT.

  21. nathan702nelson says: Mar 20, 2013 6:15 PM

    Translation: Silence, Leslie Frazier. You shall not back talk the king.

  22. rootintootinnootin says: Mar 20, 2013 6:18 PM

    “wants coaches to not complain” or “doesn’t want coaches to complain?”

  23. isphet71 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:20 PM

    The NFL will next extend their ultimatum to the fans to not complain about the new rule, either.

  24. sixjak says: Mar 20, 2013 6:20 PM


  25. TheWizard says: Mar 20, 2013 6:21 PM

    Why should they complain if only one team voted against it?

    They should complain to their owner, if anybody.

  26. bucrightoff says: Mar 20, 2013 6:22 PM

    Goodell is a good tyrant, I’ll give him that.

  27. aberystwyth2 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:22 PM

    I’d like to know if marshawn lynch’s run against the saints in the playoffs a few years ago would have been called back…Hey PFT powers that be can we Have daopoulis review that play in light of this new rule, please?

  28. 315judman says: Mar 20, 2013 6:24 PM

    The league also locked all of the coaches in one room and played “Cotton Eyed Joe” 100 times. They are not supposed to complain about that either.

  29. benroethlisberger7 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:24 PM

    RIP NFL. We had a good run.

  30. gonavybeatarmy says: Mar 20, 2013 6:25 PM

    The NFL is really getting to be a big drama queen. It’s beginning to tire me out.

    Is it possible that the 24-7 365 omnipresent NFL is pushing itself too often?

  31. marima07 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:25 PM

    The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken! Yeesh. Sounds more and more like a cult every year.

  32. calicowboysfan86 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:26 PM

    We don’t need a coach to tell us… We already know it’s a terrible rule.

  33. pistolpete31 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:28 PM

    Should be the coaches that vote for it in the first place, owners are just money hungry junkies.

  34. favresweiner says: Mar 20, 2013 6:28 PM

    I’m sure they won’t complain about it. Just like they don’t complain about holding penalties, pass interference penalties, defenseless receiver penalties, roughing the passer penalties etc…..

  35. jchuber says: Mar 20, 2013 6:31 PM

    I not gonna waste too much time.
    Obviously godell and the owners are off on another “Don’t confuse me with facts, my minds made up” exercise in stupidity. Probably at 21k a pop. Reminds me of that old song about I owe my soul to the company store. All I can say is much more money than brains.

  36. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Mar 20, 2013 6:33 PM

    Now that we’ve shoved it down your throat, shut up!

  37. kevin7777777 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:34 PM

    The owners ram rodded this through worried about potential law suits. They must appear to be doing everything in their power to make the game safer. The players, coaches, and fans, seem to hate this rule. The owners will put a gag order on their coaches. It will be interesting to see how it’s actually enforced. I personally don’t like the rule.

  38. sbaltimore says: Mar 20, 2013 6:35 PM

    It just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it?

    I mean…you couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried.

  39. tjrogers09 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:36 PM

    Of course the NFL doesn’t want the coaches to complain about the rule…What are they supposed to do when the referee has no clue on how to officiate this call this season? Sit there and take it? Another terrible move on Mr Goodells part…I’m still baffled why he made $30 million last year????

  40. goldrush94 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:39 PM

    Goodell has turned the NFL into a circus. It’s becoming more and more of a joke game.

  41. sgtr0c says: Mar 20, 2013 6:43 PM

    I have complained about the refs for close to 40 yrs now. They really do not have to make it any easier for me, I am pretty good at it now.

  42. nomoreseasontix says: Mar 20, 2013 6:44 PM

    Do not anger the great and powerful Oz…

  43. njoberg says: Mar 20, 2013 6:45 PM

    No wonder Goodell supports our prez

  44. njoberg says: Mar 20, 2013 6:46 PM

    No wonder Goodell supports our president

  45. stillers213 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:52 PM

    NFL Rule 1,639,994,853,284-1A: Coaches shall not complain. Any coach found complaining will lose a time out then be given a time out in the corner.

  46. eastofmissball says: Mar 20, 2013 6:56 PM

    If I see a RB slide feet first before contact, I will be the one complaining as I put my foot through my 55 incher… Roger I have a gut feeling you are going to owe me a new 55 inch Samsung….

  47. warhammer420 says: Mar 20, 2013 6:58 PM

    So the NFL is opposed to free speech now?

  48. bigcitysteel says: Mar 20, 2013 7:00 PM

    Dont speak your mind on a completely stupid rule or the dictator will see you at the league office for a “productive meeting” and a ridiculous fine to your organization to help line the fatcats pockets….what a joke of a league this is becoming.

  49. nicewolf64 says: Mar 20, 2013 7:02 PM

    how many flags will this add to every game?

  50. utahgetme2 says: Mar 20, 2013 7:07 PM

    thetooloftools says:
    Mar 20, 2013 6:08 PM
    Players are now suing the NFL because of these hits being legal. They brought this on themselves so they really need to shut up.

    As frustrating & ridiculous as this rule is to fans & many players, tooloftools’ comment is accurate. Players can’t have it both ways despite their protestations to the contrary. I’ll believe that the players are serious in their belief that this rule is nonsense once they all drop their head-injury legal actions. Until then, they’re just playing to the masses…

  51. questionableprovenance says: Mar 20, 2013 7:16 PM

    This is absolutely no problem. What we will be seeing and hearing in the media is “People close to Coach… are very upset with the new rule.” If you don’t believe me, discuss it with “People close to Tom Brady are very upset with the Patriots for releasing Welker.”

    Except for Belichick, of course: he doesn’t have any people close to him.

  52. Deb says: Mar 20, 2013 7:24 PM

    Fans want NFL coaches to speak frankly and honestly about NFL rule changes–preferably before rule changes are adopted. But it seems honest input from the people who play and coach the game isn’t welcome in Goodell’s World.

  53. hounds64 says: Mar 20, 2013 7:47 PM

    Won’t the “open field” component almost eliminate the possibility to call this penalty?

    If the RB or WR is in the open field, they are going to the end zone not looking for someone to ram. For example, IMO the T-Rich play did not take place in the “open field”.

    I need Pierrera (or somebody) to explain the definition of “open field” to me. Just hope it doesn’t cost my team a game on a largely subjective call!

  54. orivar says: Mar 20, 2013 8:09 PM

    Time to make a new league guys! Start supporting your local semi-pro football teams /arena leagues. Time for the small guys to take over the big one.

  55. musicman495 says: Mar 20, 2013 8:39 PM

    You know, I complained about the kickoff changes a couple of years ago, but the stats regarding injuries on kickoff was inescapable, and the changes cut the injuries dramatically.

    Here, Jeff Fisher – not Roger Goodell – says the evidence was overwhelming regarding this use of the helmet, and the support for this in the Competition Committee was unanimous. Maybe we should see how it is implemented before we all assume it will “destroy the game.” Frankly, people have been talking about rule changes “destroying the game” since the 50s and guys like Night Train Lane, and the game is more popular than ever.

  56. raiddawgz says: Mar 20, 2013 9:32 PM

    Call it what you want, this just gives Goodie another opportunity to tax players after a game. The more rules dished out, the more chances of getting to players funds. Goodell hiding behind player safety to satisfy an alternate agenda…

  57. pghdc says: Mar 20, 2013 9:57 PM

    The NFL network has been in full scale propaganda mode since this decision was made. It was too painful to watch. I had to turn it off. Big Fail! Only a matter of time before the full transition to flag football to is complete.

  58. jdlikewhoa says: Mar 20, 2013 10:03 PM

    Referees can’t even call pass interference consistently.

  59. longdrive2011 says: Mar 20, 2013 10:40 PM

    I see almost zero consideration for what the fans think about this and other rule changes. No fans, no concussions; problem solved I guess.

    The reality is even with the rule changes there is a reasonable chance that a player will be killed next year in a play that will be penalized. after the damage is done. You can’t prevent an illegal and dangerous hit with a flag.

    I will now put my bubble wrap suit on to prevent injury while walking around the house so I can’t type any more – later.

  60. skinsrollyou says: Mar 21, 2013 12:03 AM

    In related news, Obama does not want American citizens to complain about his poor handling of the country he was regrettably empowered to run.

  61. ilovefoolsball says: Mar 21, 2013 12:11 AM

    This sounds very familiar to the rules they placed on Payton after the farce of bounty gate.
    “We set the rules, you comply. Don’t like it? Get suspended. It’s because we say so and that is reason enough.”

    You’re getting what you deserve for supporting that chump just because you hated a team and its kinda funny.

  62. mrmidevil says: Mar 21, 2013 1:09 AM

    All of them should complain. What is this? Pansie ball?

  63. cwwgk says: Mar 21, 2013 8:18 AM

    The NFL is a private enterprise. The First Amendment only prohibits governments from restricting free speech of its citizens. Private businesses, including the NFL, can require employees to refrain from speaking in a negative way about the business. A very common, routine business practice. An employee is an agent of the employer. Their words are considered the words of their employer. Common sense dictates that employees not criticize the company. They are free to do it, just not on behalf of the company itself.

    Such a basic principle, but if the NFL does it all of a sudden it supposedly is another example of the league’s tyranny. Please. I don’t agree with everything the league does, but I don’t disagree with everything either.

    Virtually all of the owners who voted for the rule change have been making similar decisions for decades. Businesses become obsolete if they don’t evolve. It has been under the stewardship of the current owners that the NFL has exploded into the dominant sports enterprise in the United States. Without a close second. This includes frequently changing the rules. Seems to me, they might know what they are doing.

    Yet, the vast majority of commenters here apparently know for certain the league is on the verge of ruin. And that Roger Goodell is the second incarnation of Satan itself. Get over it. The objective evidence soundly repudiates such ignorant claims.

  64. k9krap says: Mar 21, 2013 3:28 PM

    I’m questioning the vote. In an article yesterday, it was stated that the Redskins were abstaining from all voting that was done. In every article about this particular rule change, it’s been noted that the vote was 31-1, signifying that all teams voted. Did the Redskins not continue their abstinenence from voting when this rule change was brought up for votes?

  65. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Mar 21, 2013 8:01 PM

    It’s not only like that in the NFL. Corporate America is cunducted the exact same way. “Know your role and shut your hole.”

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