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NFL officiating video stresses new “crown of the helmet” rule

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An NFL instructional video on new rules and officiating points of emphasis has been played for players at all 32 team training camps, and it should come as no surprise that the new “crown of the helmet” rule got prominent placement.

The video, which the league has made available publicly, emphasizes that this is a new rule which will be strictly enforced, while also making sure players understand exactly what goes into the rule.

“The first rule change prohibits a runner or tackler from initiating forcible contact with the crown of the helmet outside the tackle box,” the video’s narrator says. “There are three components to this foul: First, the player must line up his opponent. Second, he must lower his head. And third, he must deliver a forcible blow with the crown of his helmet to any part of his opponent’s body. The crown is the very top of the helmet. This rule was designed not only to protect the player receiving the blow, but also the player delivering it. Violations of this rule will result in 15-yard penalties for unnecessary roughness, and potential discipline. If the contact occurs in the tackle box, or if all three components are not present, there is no foul.”

Other rule changes and points of emphasis mentioned in the video include:

– Restrictions have been added on the defense on field goals and extra points: The defense cannot have more than six players on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper. Violations will result in five-yard penalties for illegal formation. Defensive players also cannot push down linemen into the kicking team’s formation, and violations will result in 15-yard penalties for unnecessary roughness. The rules regarding low blocks have also been modified, so the defense cannot hit an offensive player below the waist on field goals, extra points or punts. Previously, players on the line of scrimmage could block low if they were lined up on or inside the tight end, but that is no longer permitted. Long snappers on field goals and extra points are also considered defenseless players who receive all the protections for defenseless players. The snapper cannot be hit in the head while he’s in the process of snapping the ball. Once he starts actively blocking, he is no longer considered defenseless.

– Peelback blocks are now illegal anywhere on the field. Previously, peelback blocks were allowed inside the tackle box. “Illegal peelback blocks are dangerous and have no part in our game,” the video’s narrator says. “Violations will result in 15-yard penalties and potential discipline.”

– Players are reminded that they can be suspended for committing a clear violation of the rules on hits to the head, especially when a player took a clear path to hit an opponent whose position was not affected by another player, and the contact was clearly avoidable. Repeat offenders are particularly subject to suspensions.

– All players with the exception of kickers and punters will be required to wear thigh and knee pads at all times, including in pregame warmups. The first time an official notices a player isn’t wearing pads, he’ll be told to leave the field and put them on. If he comes back on without the pads, it will be a five-yard penalty. If he still doesn’t put the pads on after that, he will be ejected.

– The tuck rule has been eliminated.

– Coaches who throw their challenge flags on plays that were going to be replayed automatically (such as scoring plays and turnovers) will not lose the challenge, but they will lose a timeout or get a 15-yard penalty if they are out of timeouts. (Video of Jim Schwartz throwing his challenge flag was played during this portion of the officiating video.)

– Late hits after the play is over will be strictly penalized.

– Game officials are being reminded to blow their whistles at the end of every play. That may seem obvious, but in the past sometimes officials didn’t bother to blow their whistles

– All players are reminded that they are not allowed to grab opponents’ facemasks — including runners. Runners are not allowed to grab the facemask any more than tacklers are, and runners who grab opponents’ facemasks will be given 15-yard penalties.

– “Sportsmanship is always a point of emphasis,” the narrator of the video said. “Directing verbal abuse at an opponent has no part in our game.” Throwing, spiking, or spinning the ball in the direction of an opponent is a form of taunting that “will not be tolerated.”

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41 Responses to “NFL officiating video stresses new “crown of the helmet” rule”
  1. skoobyfl says: Aug 6, 2013 12:19 PM

    If a 5’9″ players runs into a 6’8″ guy, how exactly would it not draw a flag by rule ?

  2. gloryfromheaven says: Aug 6, 2013 12:24 PM

    I have a bad feeling about the NFL in 5 years…

  3. psmith7716 says: Aug 6, 2013 12:26 PM

    …And finally, the defensive players may not lift
    the skirts of the offensive players.

  4. thestrategyexpert says: Aug 6, 2013 12:30 PM

    The “very top” of the helmet? You’ve gotta be kidding me with that specific language.

    So in other words you can make contact with 99.9% of the surface area of a helmet as long as you don’t also use the exact center-point and peak of the helmet which would therefore refer to something other than the “very top”.

    The lowering of the head would have to happen 100% of the time, since the very top of the helmet will never make contact from an upright position unless you are lining up a vertical air-to-air tackle. The presence of the word “very” paired with top renders the portion of “lowering the head” to be moot.

  5. nananatman says: Aug 6, 2013 12:36 PM

    Also touchdowns are no longer legal, any player caught carrying or catching the ball across the goal line will be assessed a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty. The “End-zone” will now be for the celebrating the successful “extra point.” Celebrating may consist of jumping vertically no more than 3 1/16 inches off the ground with the player keeping his arms pinned flat to his sides. The “Extra-point” will now be referred to as the “Ultimate Point” only and any player deemed to have referred to the Ultimate Point as an “Extra Point” will be suspended with tickets to attend sensitivity training classes with Madonna.

  6. wretchu says: Aug 6, 2013 12:41 PM

    skoobyfl says: Aug 6, 2013 12:19 PM

    If a 5’9″ players runs into a 6’8″ guy, how exactly would it not draw a flag by rule ?
    ===
    By not lowering his head. Or if he’s lowering his head, do it defensively to brace for impact instead of turning himself into a human missile. Do you not have any reading comprehension? There are three factors in the penalty: line up the defender for the hit, lower the head, and make forcible contact with the defender. If ANY of those doesn’t happen (or if it happens in the tackle box), there’s no penalty.

    thestrategyexpert says: Aug 6, 2013 12:30 PM

    The “very top” of the helmet? You’ve gotta be kidding me with that specific language.

    So in other words you can make contact with 99.9% of the surface area of a helmet as long as you don’t also use the exact center-point and peak of the helmet which would therefore refer to something other than the “very top”.

    The lowering of the head would have to happen 100% of the time, since the very top of the helmet will never make contact from an upright position unless you are lining up a vertical air-to-air tackle. The presence of the word “very” paired with top renders the portion of “lowering the head” to be moot.
    ===
    Because that’s how rules (and laws) work. You get as specific and narrow as possible so as to try to not affect other instances that are technically in violation of the letter of the rule but not the spirit of it. See: the Bert Emmanuel rule that changed the definition of a catch that allows a play to be ruled a completed pass even if the ball touches the ground so long as the receiver is in full control of the ball.

  7. lks311 says: Aug 6, 2013 12:43 PM

    Please, no more Green Bay casualties.

    When your team loses this year, I’d like it to be sans excuses.

  8. wecomefromthestars says: Aug 6, 2013 12:45 PM

    “– Coaches who throw their challenge flags on plays that were going to be replayed automatically (such as scoring plays and turnovers) will not lose the challenge, but they will lose a timeout or get a 15-yard penalty if they are out of timeouts. (Video of Jim Schwartz throwing his challenge flag was played during this portion of the officiating video.)”

    Well this is a bit disturbing. The problem there was not whether we got to keep the challenge, timeouts, penalties, etc.. The issue is whether or not the darn play will get reviewed and called right!

    To quote my man, Vince… “What the hell is goin on around here?!”

  9. YouMadCauseImStylingOnYou says: Aug 6, 2013 12:46 PM

    – The tuck rule has been eliminated.

    RIP In Peace.

  10. troy43mvp says: Aug 6, 2013 12:46 PM

    Soccer players around the world are collectively thinking “these guys are Panzy’s”!

  11. Steeler's Didn't-but-Will-eventually says: Aug 6, 2013 12:49 PM

    “NFL side judge Ron Torbert said a penalty would have been called only five times in 2012.”

    Based on that I don’t think the rule will be an issue. Hopefully we don’t get a bunch of officials doubting themselves and throwing a flag on every run play.

  12. jolink653 says: Aug 6, 2013 12:50 PM

    You may yank the flag off the player with the ball, but you may not yank roughly; rather you should ask the ball carrier if it is permissible to remove his flag so that the play can end.

    High fiving and chest bumping are strictly outlawed as this constitutes unsportsmanlike conduct and may make an opposing player upset.

    Also, no more Super Bowl winner. Everyone gets a trophy for trying their best at the end of the year

  13. Steeley McBeam says: Aug 6, 2013 12:50 PM

    RIP NFL 1920 – 2013

  14. marcinhouston says: Aug 6, 2013 12:50 PM

    How would this rule have effected the play in the 2011 playoffs between the 49ers and Saints where Pierre Thomas was hit by Donte Whitacker on the 1 yard line helmet-to-helmet, Thomas had a concussion, and after losing consciousness the football fell out of his hands, leading to a key turnover which extended the play and delayed Thomas’ ability to receive medical attention? I think this rule could be an improvement, because I think to get a turnover you should have to target the ball and knock the ball out, not wait for a concussed player to drop it because they are not conscious. However, I think an improvement would be that if an offensive player uses the crown of their helmet they are down, and if a defender engages in helmet-to-helmet contact they cannot get a turnover. I don’t want to see concussion induced turnovers, I want to see defenders focus on attacking the ball not the head, which is true sportsmanship not any betrayal of the game. Just attack the ball, the ball can’t have a concussion. If we don’t adjust the rules, we will eventually end up with a dead player with a broken neck at the bottom of a pile where others are wrestling for the ball, because when you break your neck, you don’t hold onto the ball afterward, and there might not even be a penalty on the play, in fact the defense might be rewarded with the ball.

  15. crownofthehelmet says: Aug 6, 2013 12:54 PM

    I agree, there should be more emphasis on the Crown.

  16. 737driver69 says: Aug 6, 2013 12:56 PM

    On another note, the league has banned all the hitting and tackling, it s now the new league of the NFFL (National Flag Football League)…..

  17. harrisonhits2 says: Aug 6, 2013 12:59 PM

    gloryfromheaven says:

    I have a bad feeling about the NFL in 5 years…
    _____________________

    Are you kidding me ? How about right now ?

    5 years from now we’ll sideline attorneys added and instead of coaches challenges the attorneys will have “potential litigation” challenges and players will be issued “probation cards” with the first infraction drawing a yellow “out for 1 series card” and the 2nd a red “holding cell card” where they have to go the sideline holding cell and be lectured by the attorneys for a full quarter.

    The National Attorney Ball League, coming to replace the NFL in your area soon.

  18. jakec4 says: Aug 6, 2013 1:02 PM

    Sounds like a good idea to me. At least better than spending time with something so innocent as spinning footballs.

  19. watermelon1 says: Aug 6, 2013 1:03 PM

    Still no changes to the ball carriers being allowed to FACEMASK defenders and deliver blows to the head of oncoming tacklers.

    People call it a “stiff-arm” but that’s not the case when you hand goes into the head/helmet/facemask of the defender.

    Let’s hold both sides of the ball accountable if we’re going to say it’s all about safety… How is one any worse than the other?

  20. xxsweepthelegxx says: Aug 6, 2013 1:06 PM

    Did I miss something on that Frank Gore run??? (for those of you who wasted 15minutes watching the film)

    I must admit it got me excited for the season to begin though.

  21. topicsinsports says: Aug 6, 2013 1:07 PM

    The league has good intentions to try to make the game safer. Unfortunately, the game is inherently violent and too fast paced to make it possible for players to follow these impossible rules.

  22. mrpickled says: Aug 6, 2013 1:11 PM

    Somehow the raiders will get screwed by this

  23. foul83 says: Aug 6, 2013 1:14 PM

    Duuuuuummmmmmmmmmb

  24. dennisatunity says: Aug 6, 2013 1:14 PM

    This is an excellent change and here is why. I was a running back in high school and college and I was actually pretty good–not even remotely on the level of anybody in the NFL, but not bad. I have to tell you that as a short running back who was strong and muscular, I used the top of my helmet to run over guys all the time. I delivered the blow to defensive players. And you know what? It was stupid. I hurt my neck on many occasions and I hurt them on several occasions. And it was totally unnecessary. I did it for 2 reasons: I lacked top speed so I had to run over people; and it was fun. I didn’t do it for any good football reason. It’s the same for these guys.

  25. romoscollarbone says: Aug 6, 2013 1:15 PM

    watermelon1 says: Aug 6, 2013 1:03 PM

    Still no changes to the ball carriers being allowed to FACEMASK defenders and deliver blows to the head of oncoming tacklers.

    People call it a “stiff-arm” but that’s not the case when you hand goes into the head/helmet/facemask of the defender.

    Let’s hold both sides of the ball accountable if we’re going to say it’s all about safety… How is one any worse than the other?
    —————————————————-

    The second to last rule listed addresses exactly that. Nobody is to touch the facemask, runner or tackler. 15 yr penalty…..

    I really do not see any issues with the new rules or the elimination of the ridiculous tuck rule.

    And as to the big “rule”. If you lead with the crown of the helmet, you increase the chance of breaking your neck. It’s pretty simple.

    When I was taught to play football, it was head up at all times no matter what you were doing. More than anything, you can’t hit what you can’t see.

  26. 106reasons says: Aug 6, 2013 1:17 PM

    Wow. It was already tough to play defense in the league. The video examples of when the “contact was clearly avoidable” made me laugh in disbelief.

    What, precisely, is “clearly avoidable” about running full speed at a receiver who is also running full speed and making contact with him a split second after the ball hits his hands and bounces off?

    Why not just rename the “unnecessary roughness” penalty to what it really is in those cases? “15 yards for conspiracy to play defense” is far more accurate.

    Call me crazy, but if the XFL were to make a comeback with second-tier college grads and just use the actual NFL rules from 15 years ago, I’d be glued to the TV set.

    …of course, being the NFL addict I am, I’m still going to watch every single game this year. But…wow.

    Gee, thanks, Roger.

  27. gafraidh says: Aug 6, 2013 1:22 PM

    watermelon1 says:
    Aug 6, 2013 1:03 PM
    Still no changes to the ball carriers being allowed to FACEMASK defenders and deliver blows to the head of oncoming tacklers.

    ====================================

    Did you get to tired or bored to read the entire story?

    “All players are reminded that they are not allowed to grab opponents’ facemasks — including runners. Runners are not allowed to grab the facemask any more than tacklers are, and runners who grab opponents’ facemasks will be given 15-yard penalties.”

  28. thestrategyexpert says: Aug 6, 2013 1:24 PM

    wretchu:

    Great points. All I’m saying is my money is on this rule not being consistently applied and I think some fines will result that shouldn’t be fines and vice versa. I promise you this will happen because of the bad choice of specifics as well as the lack of other specifics that could have been included to clean up the rule. You’ll see what I mean very soon.

  29. dretwann says: Aug 6, 2013 1:39 PM

    I don’t know soccer but it is beginning to look far more manly than American football. Sad sad day to come to that realization.

  30. seahawks4alltime says: Aug 6, 2013 1:48 PM

    So, when a player lowers their tiara, they will be scolded?

  31. brutus3413 says: Aug 6, 2013 1:55 PM

    They should put tape on the crown of the helmet similar to the tape golfers use to see where they are hitting the ball on their club face. If the running back comes back to the huddle with his tape marred in some way, penalize the offense accordingly, because he (or she) obviously used the crown of their helmet on that play.

  32. bjtmeyer says: Aug 6, 2013 2:41 PM

    A rule stressing the importance of strapping on a helmet correctly would be good. I saw more helmets come off of players heads during games last year than ever. It was ridiculous!

  33. lionstigersandwingsohmy says: Aug 6, 2013 3:07 PM

    Actually Brutus, not sure if you were being serious or not, but an indicator of differing colors may help the refs. call it fewer times. If they see any of the indicator, automatic non call. Only if they don’t see any tape/paint does a judgment call need to be made.

  34. seansds3d says: Aug 6, 2013 3:10 PM

    After watching the video the rule does make more sense to me now where before I wasn’t very sure about it… maybe it’s just me but it seems like an obvious thing not to do… even in high school we were taught to keep our head up and not to put your head down to avoid injuring yourself not just the other player. It also looks preventable… all you have to do is move at an angle just before the tackle to avoid the penalty and potential serious injury.

  35. finatic001 says: Aug 6, 2013 3:13 PM

    Are there going to be penalty’s for speeding? I mean seriously any more rules get thrown out there, the game is not going to be same!!! Changing the rules every year how can that be safe and that’s a lot to remember for a football player anyway.

  36. mjmistretta says: Aug 6, 2013 3:41 PM

    I hate Roger Goodwell, He never even played in the NFL and he has to much power to be making all these rules.

  37. steelerben says: Aug 6, 2013 4:17 PM

    New comment stresses Crownofthehelmet rules. Best troll ever.

  38. chifan1981 says: Aug 6, 2013 4:26 PM

    “I hate Roger Goodwell”

    Who?

  39. steelersnowand4ever says: Aug 12, 2013 12:09 PM

    Kinda makes Jack Lambert into a prophet, doesn’t it?

  40. pizzon says: Aug 17, 2013 8:46 PM

    lets just get rid of the players and replace them with robots.

  41. rajbais says: Aug 23, 2013 1:14 PM

    Your division has elite defenses???

    Btw, why worry about the division???

    Isn’t 6 out of 16 not 50% of or not whole season???

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