Some day, the NFL’s officials may correctly end consistently enforce the new rule against delivering blows with the crown of the helmet. But that day hasn’t arrived yet.
In an officiating video distributed by the media, NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino admitted that the officials whiffed twice on the new rule last week, once throwing a flag when they shouldn’t have, and once failing to throw a flag when they should have.
The flag the officials threw but shouldn’t have came on 49ers safety Donte Whitner, who got a 15-yard penalty for what referee Terry McAulay called, “illegal contact with the crown of the helmet.” But Blandino admitted in the video that there was no such contact with the crown of the helmet.
“Does he deliver a forcible blow with the crown of the helmet?” Blandino said as he re-played the hit. “You can see the contact is actually with the shoulder.”
The flag the officials didn’t throw but should have came when Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer delivered a blow to Chicago’s Chris Conte with the top of his helmet. Blandino acknowledged that the officials were told this week that they missed that one.
“This is a violation not flagged on the field, shown to our game officials this week that if we see this action we want a flag down going forward,” Blandino said.
Dwyer was fined $21,000 for that hit. Maybe the NFL needs to start fining officials who get the calls wrong.