Many fans dislike it and many players dislike it, but the NFL says the new rule restricting players from delivering blows with the crown of the helmet is working.
In a video distributed to the media, NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said the league believes players are doing a great job of avoiding contact with the tops of their helmets.
“We are very encouraged with the results so far,” Blandino said. “We have not seen a lot of examples of that through the first six weeks of the season.”
According to Blandino, the rule has been violated four times so far this season.
“Players are getting the message,” Blandino said. “They’re adjusting. We’ve only seen four clear-cut examples in thousands of plays, so obviously the coaches are teaching the technique out of the game and players are aware that this is something that is dangerous, and the rule is designed not only to protect the player getting hit but the player doing the hitting.”
Unfortunately, the rule is still causing some confusion for the league’s officials, who in some cases have called penalties when they shouldn’t have, and in other cases have failed to throw a flag when a player did violate the rule. The players are doing their part in complying with the new rule, and now the NFL needs to make sure the officials know when to call a penalty and when to let clean hits go.