At some point within the next hour or so, owners will vote on the suddenly-controversial rule that would prevent offensive and defensive players from initiating contact with the crown of the helmet in the open field.
As we mentioned last night, the current expectation is that the proposal will be tabled until May, which means it could be passed in May, it could be voted down in May, or it could disappear.
Coaches have concerns about the rule, but the coaches don’t make the rules. As the coaches learned three years ago, when owners changed the overtime rules for the postseason while the coaches were playing golf.
The problem from the coaches’ and players’ perspective, as Vikings coach Leslie Frazier explained it Wednesday morning at the NFC head coaches’ breakfast (during which the coaches don’t really get to do much breaking of the fast), is that players operate on instinct. When running backs in the open field have to consciously consider about how they’ll initiate contact, they may not ever get to the open field.
For the league, letting this specific cat out of the bag becomes problematic if the cat can’t be controlled. With the NFL concerned about future litigation from present players, it doesn’t help to talk openly about a proposed safety chance and then to not implement it.
So it’s a dilemma. A conundrum. And potentially, a cluster made of fudge.