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Ryan Shazier’s hit in playoffs will now be a penalty

ryanshaziergetty0809ftr_1oxbbew8vzy3919wfr9s4c6q27 Getty Images

After Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier leveled Bengals running back Giovani Bernard with a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit in the playoffs, the NFL said Shazier’s hit was legal. But it won’t be anymore.

NFL V.P. of Officiating Dean Blandino said today that under a new interpretation of the league’s rules against hits with the crown of the helmet, hits like Shazier’s will be illegal going forward.

Specifically, the new interpretation eliminates the requirement that a defender would have to “line up” his opponent in order for a hit with the crown of the helmet to be a penalty. Starting this season, when a defender lowers his head and forcibly hits with the crown of the helmet, it will be a foul, regardless of the angle the player takes.

The new interpretation comes too late for Bernard, but it’s a sensible decision by the NFL: At a time when the league calls brain injuries its greatest concern, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to allow brutal hits like the one Shazier put on Bernard.

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99 Responses to “Ryan Shazier’s hit in playoffs will now be a penalty”
  1. dougchillin says: Mar 21, 2016 2:09 PM

    God this is stupid. Gio got LIT UP. That hit was beautiful and textbook. All it takes is a few losers to cry out about head injuries and the NFL folds. Flag Football is in the future.

  2. hahalolrofl says: Mar 21, 2016 2:14 PM

    Water the product down until it is unrecognizable. NFL will be unwatchable sooner than we all realize.

  3. kcchefs58 says: Mar 21, 2016 2:14 PM

    They’re ruining the league. The yearly increases in ratings and revenue prove it.

  4. Mr. Wright 212 says: Mar 21, 2016 2:14 PM

    Shouldn’t be, but whatever.

  5. aequitas83 says: Mar 21, 2016 2:18 PM

    dougchillin says:
    Mar 21, 2016 2:09 PM
    God this is stupid. Gio got LIT UP. That hit was beautiful and textbook. All it takes is a few losers to cry out about head injuries and the NFL folds. Flag Football is in the future

    ————–

    Regardless of one’s opinion on the rule interpretation, you’ve been reading the wrong textbook. That’s how a tackler breaks his neck and/or suffers a concussion. Head needs to be up and to the side. Never initiate contact with the crown.

  6. tomterrific121212 says: Mar 21, 2016 2:20 PM

    Just wrap up when you tackle. If everyone starts to do it, it won’t be noticeable in 5-10 years.

    Have to teach it from the ground up.

    I dont want to see my favorite players growing up acting like human vegetables when they get older.

    It is for the better.

    As good as the NFL is today, we have yet to master the game this is another step in the right direction though.

  7. ditkainyourbutkus says: Mar 21, 2016 2:20 PM

    get ready for receivers lowering their heads like RBs after the catch on purpose to try to get flags

    full NBA grade flopping is coming with these rule changes

  8. bluecat013 says: Mar 21, 2016 2:21 PM

    Stupid, watering it down, ruining the league; says everyone who isn’t going to spend the rest of their lives stumbling around in stupor, with no memory and committing suicide at the age of 53; all so you can go, “ooh, that hurt.” Geez, get some decency.

  9. steelpenguin6687 says: Mar 21, 2016 2:26 PM

    If they want to end hits leading with the crown of the helmet, take the helmet out of football. IMO, as long as the helmet is there, it is going to happen.

    Further, I do agree with those stating the demise of football is going to happen sooner rather than later. Forget all of the rule changes, whether good or bad…the NFL, along with many other pro sports, are pricing themselves out of existence.

  10. snapcracklepopfart says: Mar 21, 2016 2:28 PM

    Maybe all you blood sport fans can go enjoy MMA or the hunger games instead. I enjoy watching impressive athleticism but Causing serious damage to people isn’t my idea of entertainment.

  11. savethebs says: Mar 21, 2016 2:28 PM

    Yes, the game is changing. Get used to it. I loved that hit too. But honestly, for the NFL to survive in the long run they have to make rules like this. You don’t have to like it, but you should understand it.

  12. zoellner25 says: Mar 21, 2016 2:29 PM

    Youth players are taught to tackle with their heads up, hitting with the face mask/shoulder pads. Hitting with the crown of the helmet is spearing and should not be allowed.

  13. vottorific says: Mar 21, 2016 2:31 PM

    Too little. Too late.

  14. mongo3401 says: Mar 21, 2016 2:32 PM

    I can understand why they changed it for safety reasons. Only worry is first season in affect may result in a lot of players being ejected when it’s called in them twice in one game. Each crew. As we all know, is going to interpret the bits differently.

  15. magicmtndan says: Mar 21, 2016 2:33 PM

    Those damn helmets and the heads inside get in the way of making tackles!

    You guys with your “just wrap up” comments – sure they sound like smart comments but when you have 2 guys running at/toward each other, “just wrapping up” is way more than 3 words – it’s a physics challenge.

    They can try to outlaw hits and take them out of the game but there will always be hard, helmet-to-helmet hits because they’re impossible to avoid.

    So we’re going to continue to see penalties and concussions unless they remove helmets and heads.

  16. BenAnderson58 says: Mar 21, 2016 2:34 PM

    When does it start being a penalty for RBs, TEs and WRs to do it when a tackler is coming at them?

    AP has made his career on lowering his head.

  17. jag1959 says: Mar 21, 2016 2:35 PM

    That hit was a textbook example of the sportscenter effect in action. There’s an entire generation that watched someone getting blown up by the big splashy hit versus the fundamentals of wrapping up win the visibility war.

  18. peytonwantsaflag says: Mar 21, 2016 2:35 PM

    it was already illegal, nowhere in the current rule does it saying ANYTHNG about “lining up” the runner.

    New interpretation is just another way of saying “we screwed up”

  19. kennyx says: Mar 21, 2016 2:36 PM

    Stupid yes, but if that was a more vicious hit then Antonio Brown took. So if that’s a penalty, then…

  20. Kaz says: Mar 21, 2016 2:36 PM

    Too little too late for the League to try to make up for all that the Steelers got away with during that wildcard game.

    Any rule changes from banning coaches from opposing teams defensive huddles? Banning coaches from pulling hair and getting physical? Attempting trips to win game? I know it’s one organization that gets away with this, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be addressed.

    The Gio hit was far more brutal than the Brown flop. Yet they called one an unfortunate hit, and the other attempted murder. Lames.

  21. Kaz says: Mar 21, 2016 2:39 PM

    Steelers fans calling the Gio hit beautiful yet crying over the “dangerous” Burfict tap, that was really Brown lowering his head and brushing up against Burficts SHOULDER in passing. Not nearly as dangerous as the hit they call “beautiful”. Burfict should have (and could have) hit Brown like that. Wonder how “beautiful” it would be then.

  22. Indybear says: Mar 21, 2016 2:42 PM

    Yet we still don’t know what constitutes a catch.

  23. ggagne66 says: Mar 21, 2016 2:45 PM

    I’m a fan of big hits, and don’t want them to change the game a huge amount. And I don’t think Shazier’s intent was to be dirty. But these hits should be illegal, as much to protect the tackler as the tacklee. I was coached and now coach my players now to never hit anything you can’t see, and to never drop your head. And my playing days were 20 years ago, so it’s nothing new.

  24. shaggytoodle says: Mar 21, 2016 2:46 PM

    I thought it was illegal last year… leading with the crown of the helmet wasn’t allowed, and if anything is hurting the league it’s poor officiating, this is another instance like the Car. NYG game where if the Refs knew what they were doing they wouldn’t be having these talks.

    If you guys want to see an amazing clean hit look at the MNF game between KC and GB. It’s text book.

  25. lightninglucci says: Mar 21, 2016 2:46 PM

    I’m confused. I thought spearing was already a penalty.

  26. bake69 says: Mar 21, 2016 2:47 PM

    It was always a penalty.

  27. mmack66 says: Mar 21, 2016 2:51 PM

    Still trying to figure out how the Shazier hit was any less egregious than the Burfict hit.

  28. connfyoozed says: Mar 21, 2016 2:52 PM

    jag1959 says:
    Mar 21, 2016 2:35 PM

    That hit was a textbook example of the sportscenter effect in action. There’s an entire generation that watched someone getting blown up by the big splashy hit versus the fundamentals of wrapping up win the visibility war.

    —————————————————————-

    Bingo!

    And what makes it even worse is that the NFL continues to promote and capitalize on these hits. The league continues to maintain the untenable position that they are doing everything they can to research brain injuries and to medically assist retired players, yet stadiums around the league and highlight shows around the world show hits like Shazier’s, and nary a peep from the NFL.

    One more thing… there is a big difference between a hit being “fundamentally” unsound and being illegal or dirty. Shazier’s hit was brutal, it was not textbook, it was borderline… but it was legal when it happened, and it was by no means dirty.

  29. realdealsteel says: Mar 21, 2016 2:52 PM

    dougchillin says:
    Mar 21, 2016 2:09 PM
    God this is stupid. Gio got LIT UP. That hit was beautiful and textbook. All it takes is a few losers to cry out about head injuries and the NFL folds. Flag Football is in the future.
    ________________________________________

    The league is setting it up to make Pro football so soft, that women will be playing it with me. That’s the ultimate goal. And I won’t be watching it anymore either.

  30. steelcurtainn says: Mar 21, 2016 2:55 PM

    Too Late, The NFL has already ruined the league with these kind of changes. This isn’t real football anymore. The NFL will never be real football like it used to be.

  31. brawnyhombre says: Mar 21, 2016 2:57 PM

    “get ready for receivers lowering their heads like RBs after the catch on purpose to try to get flags”

    Like Antonio Brown did when he ducked his head into Burfict’s shoulder (not helmet, but it seems nobody questions whether THAT one was a penalty)?

  32. baltimoresnativeson says: Mar 21, 2016 2:58 PM

    Take the helmets off, you’ll get proper tackling every time.

  33. purpledieselgoldsmoke says: Mar 21, 2016 3:01 PM

    This game will be turning into flag football soon it’s the players fault that they keep collecting pay check if there seeing stars!! Look at boxing soon they catch wind that these guys are hitting each other in the face oh no only body shots from here and out!!

  34. myopinionisrighterthanyours says: Mar 21, 2016 3:02 PM

    While I generally agree with this, and definitely understand the intent, the NFL has just opened Pandora’s box because these are moving targets.

  35. silverhat78 says: Mar 21, 2016 3:02 PM

    Flag football at its finest.

  36. nhpats says: Mar 21, 2016 3:03 PM

    kennyx says:
    Mar 21, 2016 2:36 PM
    Stupid yes, but if that was a more vicious hit then Antonio Brown took. So if that’s a penalty, then…

    ———–
    I disagree. Antonio Brown didn’t even have the football and Burfict had plenty of time to pull up. The hit on Antonio Brown was completely unnecessary……and it cost the Bengals the game. But hey, Vontaze and his 70 IQ got to feel like a big man for a few seconds so I guess it was worth it.

  37. 6thsense10 says: Mar 21, 2016 3:03 PM

    jag1959 says:
    Mar 21, 2016 2:35 PM

    That hit was a textbook example of the sportscenter effect in action. There’s an entire generation that watched someone getting blown up by the big splashy hit versus the fundamentals of wrapping up win the visibility war.
    —–
    Right. Because without ESPN those hits would be out the game. I’ve watched enough game films from the 60s, and 70s to know NFL players were flying around like that for a while and I watched my share of football games from the 80s to know big hits were drawing oohs and aaahs before ESPN became popular.

  38. nhpats says: Mar 21, 2016 3:05 PM

    steelcurtainn says:
    Mar 21, 2016 2:55 PM
    Too Late, The NFL has already ruined the league with these kind of changes. This isn’t real football anymore. The NFL will never be real football like it used to be.

    —————

    You can thank Bill Polian and Peyton Manning for changing the way DBs can cover receivers. Then again, what do we expect from a Dome Team.

  39. fsstnotch says: Mar 21, 2016 3:06 PM

    Burfict hit was on a defenseless receiver who didn’t have the ball. Shazier hit was on a runner. Both hits were vicious. Both hits are what the NFL is trying to do away with.

  40. coloradical420 says: Mar 21, 2016 3:10 PM

    As a fan of the AFC West I can say that I’ve never considered Cin v Pitt to be a very intriguing match-up. I don’t care that they’re both in the North, the rivalry never struck me as intense. The hit mentioned in this article along with the Burfict/Brown incident and a few other extra curricular activity I can say without a doubt that I am now fully intrigued and hope at least one of these games is nationally televised next year.
    Go Broncos!
    Back2Back!

  41. bspurloc says: Mar 21, 2016 3:15 PM

    .
    so its ok for the RB to lead with his head?
    not that you have many options when you slam thru a line…
    unless u r on the cowbots cuz that O-Line omg!

  42. steelerben says: Mar 21, 2016 3:18 PM

    There is absolutely no reason that the game cannot still be a contest of strength, speed and skill without having to include repeated brain injuries.

    Modern athletes are not only bigger and stronger, but they are also better informed. If you want the game of football to remain, then you’re going to need athletes that want to play it, which will not happen if the NFL ignores medical science and make no changes to the way the game is played.

    Tackling someone by launching yourself at their head might once have been considered “good hard football” and perfectly fine. Then again, we also once believed that there was no link between smoking and cancer and that drinking while pregnant was no problem.

    Ask Junior Seau if he thinks the NFL is going in the wrong direction with trying to protect players.

  43. robadat says: Mar 21, 2016 3:28 PM

    Not being a fan of either team, I liked that hit, it wasn’t illegal at the time.

    Now, based on player safety (concussions) concerns, changing the rule to make that an illegal hit going forward, I think that offensive players should also be penalized when they lower their heads and lead with their helmets when they take on a would be tackler.

  44. crownofthehelmet says: Mar 21, 2016 3:31 PM

    Hope they also change the rule to call a penalty on a ref if he blows a quick whistle like he did against Shazier on that play, costing him an easy TD. That was the real crime of that game.

  45. vetdana says: Mar 21, 2016 3:33 PM

    CTE and the laws of physics will nean the demise of football , as we now know it.The rules are changing every year to reduce contact in the sport.Everything that has drawn us to the spoort from the past is going to be watered down or compltely eliminated in the present and future.It has to be that way or law suit judgements will bankrupt the sport.In the mean time, the costs of feilding a pro team is becomning prohibitibe with player contracts in the tens of millions for many individual players. The cost to the fans will become far more than is affordable.We are going to see a very high priced game of pseudo flag football that will become unwatchable.Forget the popularity today..that will change in time, with the upcoming changes.Too bad ..how I loved Pro Football the way it was played in the 50-70’s.

  46. ggagne66 says: Mar 21, 2016 3:39 PM

    I see alot of “they’ve changed the game and I won’t watch it anymore” posts. Funny, we’ve been hearing that for years, every time a rule change is made. Doesn’t seem to be affecting the ratings though.

  47. samoanjungle says: Mar 21, 2016 3:44 PM

    So I thought “Leading with the crown of helmet” “helmet to helmet” has been a penalty for years.
    The league has too many Steelers fans

  48. ajsjr40 says: Mar 21, 2016 3:49 PM

    Go back to leather helmets and people will stop leading with the weapons that are strapped to their head.

  49. captainyak says: Mar 21, 2016 3:49 PM

    Running backs lower their helmet all the time. Does the rule apply to them too.

  50. zoneread510 says: Mar 21, 2016 3:53 PM

    Players will start to have to use their shoulders for every tackle.

  51. piffy34 says: Mar 21, 2016 4:01 PM

    “MAKE THE NFL GREAT AGAIN”

  52. candrwells says: Mar 21, 2016 4:07 PM

    I have no problem with the rule, however I think there’s going to be quite a few ejections for multiple personal fouls this year. Could be quite an officiating mess.

  53. geefan1 says: Mar 21, 2016 4:10 PM

    Leading with the crown of your helmet has been against the rules for years – they used to call it spearing. It shouldn’t have required a clarification of the rules to call what’s been illegal all along, but I guess they needed to make it even more plain for those who didn’t understand it in the first place.

  54. zonex74 says: Mar 21, 2016 4:12 PM

    Bottom line, the hit WAS legal as Gio was a runner, and now they are changing the rule so that it’s not. Shazier wrapped him up but also caught him with the helmet WHILE wrapping him up. And had they not whistled the play dead it would have been a TD. THE wrap up is clear, along with the 12 coaches on the field for Cincy.

  55. oldschoolomen says: Mar 21, 2016 4:15 PM

    Hits with the top of the helmet have always been illegal and have never been text book. The text book says, “see what you hit,” not “can you tell me if his shoes were untied.”

  56. unfairbutbalanced says: Mar 21, 2016 4:15 PM

    Helmet to helmet hits on a running back inside the tackle box are still OK. The NFL is so hypocritical.

  57. jkhart says: Mar 21, 2016 4:19 PM

    That hit was a textbook example of the sportscenter effect in action. There’s an entire generation that watched someone getting blown up by the big splashy hit versus the fundamentals of wrapping up win the visibility war.

    —-

    Anyone saying that he should have done something differently needs to be reminded that if the play were called correctly, it would have resulted in a fumble 6 and effectively ended the game. But yeah, tell me again why he should have just stuck to fundamentals.

  58. tanstewie says: Mar 21, 2016 4:47 PM

    That hit should have been illegal

    Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8. Initiating Contact With the Crown of the Helmet. It is a foul if a runner or tackler initiates forcible contact by delivering a blow with the top/crown of his helmet against an opponent when both players are clearly outside the tackle box (an area extending from tackle to tackle and from three yards beyond the line of scrimmage to the offensive team’s end line). Incidental contact by the helmet of a runner or tackler against an opponent shall not be a foul.

  59. rukkus1 says: Mar 21, 2016 4:49 PM

    For the majority of talk about that game, all you hear about is Burfict and how dirty he was. Shazier set the tone and if I am a Bengals player or relative of a player, I am glad Burfict responded with force. 8thevery situation except the Antonio Brown hit.

    Burfict has his dirty moments but I can understand why the Bengals lost their composure in that game.

    Shazier blew up Bernard in a dirty way… then celebrated it. That’s the dirtiest thing about that game by far.

  60. bonniebengal says: Mar 21, 2016 4:52 PM

    About freaking time. It was already called against everybody but the Steelers.

  61. razzlejag says: Mar 21, 2016 5:14 PM

    I agree with Steelpenguin, pro sports will price themselves out of sight. I used to go with my son to games all the time when he was little. Now we go to an NBA game and 2 tickets cost me $220 and parking was $42. A beer was $11.25 (I bought a round for 4 of us- $45 plus tip.)

    In the NFL Free Agency, guys like Malik Jackson and Olivier Vernon signed for about $15 MILLION dollars per year. I don’t begrudge them the money but it can’t keep coming out of me much longer.

  62. ebdug says: Mar 21, 2016 5:21 PM

    Everytime there’s a hard hit Goodell outlaws it.

  63. scchamil says: Mar 21, 2016 5:37 PM

    I like how they didn’t even need to change the rule. That was beautifully efficient. Illegal for 30 years, legal for 1 game… illegal again. Circle of life. Rule started to get a little unruly, started not making sense when Steelers weren’t playing… had to make a move. Just needed a little interpretation change, got it buttoned right back up. Best part – not a single call was missed.

  64. jasecity says: Mar 21, 2016 5:39 PM

    It is amazing how we can all watch the same thing and see completely different things. I watched the replay of the hit with someone and we couldn’t agree if the Shaziers helmet hit Gio in the facemask.

  65. 6superbowls says: Mar 21, 2016 5:46 PM

    In 10 years you’ll be watching soccer on Sunday afternoons instead of the NFL…

  66. johnc44 says: Mar 21, 2016 6:00 PM

    That hit was outside the tackle box so it was illegal according to the wording in the rule book last season.
    The problem was the game was officiated differently for each team.Does any neutral fan who watched how that game went think that wouldn`t have been called it if Burfict hit Brown exactly the same way Shazier hit Gio? The last 2 games between the teams got out of hand because the refs let the Steelers get away with things that the Bengals got called for.Like the perfect hit by Williams on Wheaton that was flagged.At some point the players either get frustrated and give less effort or they get frustrated and fight back even harder and maybe even dirtier.I would prefer the game was called the same for both teams but if i can`t have that i`d rather have my team fight back than lay down.

  67. jvibottomline says: Mar 21, 2016 6:12 PM

    That type of ability to hit is why guys make the NFL. Crown of the helmet under the chin strap, that is how you put someone down. This game is a boring shell of what it was in the 80’s and 90’s.

  68. whodeytn says: Mar 21, 2016 6:13 PM

    The third rule change from this game (Bryant’s “TD” catch, Joey Porter being fined).

    Too little too late, NFL. Thanks for nothing.

  69. jkossrt says: Mar 21, 2016 7:50 PM

    Tackling has become a lost art. So many times last season I saw defensive players go for the big hit, trying to knock the player down, when they had the opportunity to make a solid tackle. And many times the back or receiver just bounced off the hit and picked up extra yardage he shouldn’t have had. All because of poor tackling.

  70. jlbay says: Mar 21, 2016 7:55 PM

    In the first half the an almost identical hit by the Bengals was called as a helmet to helmet. The then Steelers do the same hit, it should have been flagged and then it was challenged and the ball given to the Steelers. It is possible to hit a player without using your helmet as a weapon, and so the rule should stand that no helmet to helmet hit is legal.

  71. dagator8888 says: Mar 21, 2016 9:06 PM

    Was illegal to begin with. The ruling that Bernard had caught the ball, turned and made a football move and became a receiver, yet, Shazier did not have time to adjust his hit was ridiculous. His aim was always at his head. Exactly like a hit the Bengals got called for in the first half. Worse than the hit on Brown.

  72. TebowedOutOfThePostSeasonsAndNeverToReturn says: Mar 21, 2016 9:21 PM

    Bengal fans replacing Seahawk fans as the biggest crybabies in the league. Geez… everytime they lose a playoff game to the Steelers – largely thanks to their own incompetence – they just cry cry cry.

  73. cwifyou says: Mar 21, 2016 9:25 PM

    Bunch of whiney haters. GIO turned into the path of Shazier’s helmet. Most of you guys are totally insane.

    Dagator, you’re wrong and the NFL says you’re wrong

    Little baby you are.

  74. cwifyou says: Mar 21, 2016 9:26 PM

    jlbay, it was not the same. You guys are INSANE.

  75. cwifyou says: Mar 21, 2016 9:27 PM

    johnc , you’re wrong and the NFL says you’re wrong. Nuts with a capital N. Bunch of haters are just totally crazy.

  76. truthinesshurts says: Mar 21, 2016 9:31 PM

    ++++++++++++++++
    peytonwantsaflag says:
    Mar 21, 2016 2:35 PM
    it was already illegal, nowhere in the current rule does it saying ANYTHNG about “lining up” the runner.

    New interpretation is just another way of saying “we screwed up”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    tanstewie says:
    Mar 21, 2016 4:47 PM
    That hit should have been illegal

    Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8. Initiating Contact With the Crown of the Helmet. It is a foul if a runner or tackler initiates forcible contact by delivering a blow with the top/crown of his helmet against an opponent when both players are clearly outside the tackle box (an area extending from tackle to tackle and from three yards beyond the line of scrimmage to the offensive team’s end line). Incidental contact by the helmet of a runner or tackler against an opponent shall not be a foul.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I agree with these two posts. Blandino is an idiot covering up his mistake. I’m not a Bengals or Steelers fan, but that call changed the game and was incorrect. Blandino is making up secret interpretations that aren’t in the rule…”lining up” the runner….not in the rule.

    Note: Mike Carey agreed with it is all you need to know…the call was wrong.

  77. cwifyou says: Mar 21, 2016 9:32 PM

    The Steelers will always be greater than you. You know it…that is why you lie and distort.

  78. cwifyou says: Mar 21, 2016 9:34 PM

    Again, dimwits, GIO turned into Shazier.

  79. cwifyou says: Mar 21, 2016 9:36 PM

    truthiness, no it was a legal hit. You guys are so full of hate and jealousy. But hey have at it. Steelers live in your tiny little heads.

  80. cwifyou says: Mar 21, 2016 9:37 PM

    Most of you fools want a game where the offensive player can draw a penalty and totally change the game….just because the Steelers have 6 and you probably have Zip.

  81. golions1 says: Mar 21, 2016 9:40 PM

    Typical to see the league once again cover for the dirtiest team in football.

  82. truthinesshurts says: Mar 21, 2016 9:47 PM

    For those saying it was a legal hit, you obviously didn’t read the rule. It has nothing to do with the runner turning into it, or the tackler “lining up” the runner.

    From the rule, this is what matters:
    “…It is a foul if a runner or tackler initiates forcible contact by delivering a blow with the top/crown of his helmet against an opponent…”

    End of story, illegal hit. I’m not a Bengals or Steelers fan, and I didn’t really care who won the game.

  83. truthinesshurts says: Mar 21, 2016 9:50 PM

    captainyak says:
    Mar 21, 2016 3:49 PM
    Running backs lower their helmet all the time. Does the rule apply to them too.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yes…yes it does apply to runners too…here’s that pesky rule again:

    “…It is a foul if a RUNNER or tackler initiates forcible contact by delivering a blow with the top/crown of his helmet against an opponent…”

  84. sechristbmw says: Mar 21, 2016 10:11 PM

    Well it’s official for me, I am switching to basketball first, then football. The NFL has done what NASCAR did; constant rules tinkering and changes.

    15 yard flags handed out like candy, so I respond by start putting on the brakes on how much I watch and care.

  85. theavengerthatparties says: Mar 21, 2016 11:03 PM

    The article even said “helmet to helmet hit”. That’s a 15 yard penalty and automatic first down!! NFL wants the Steelers to win.

  86. imsorryyoufeelthatway7 says: Mar 21, 2016 11:09 PM

    coloradical420 says:
    Mar 21, 2016 3:10 PM
    As a fan of the AFC West I can say that I’ve never considered Cin v Pitt to be a very intriguing match-up. I don’t care that they’re both in the North, the rivalry never struck me as intense. The hit mentioned in this article along with the Burfict/Brown incident and a few other extra curricular activity I can say without a doubt that I am now fully intrigued and hope at least one of these games is nationally televised next year.
    Go Broncos!
    Back2Back!
    ————————————–
    We are all entitled to our own opinions, but as an ACFN fan, I’ve never particularly thought of absolutely any ACFW matchup as intriguing. Then again, we all have our own biases.

  87. sixringslikeatelephone says: Mar 22, 2016 3:30 AM

    Well after about three generations of players who’d rather make hits than tackles maybe we’ll finally see the pendulum start to swing back.

    My only worry is when are we giving officials too big of a mental checklist to apply at the speed of the game.

    Excessive play reviews are slowing the chronological speed of the game to a crawl.

    I’m a baseball fan and most games aren’t going 3.5 hours like the standard NFL contest.

  88. John Harbaugh Is A Sad, Whiney Middle Aged Woman says: Mar 22, 2016 6:45 AM

    It’s great that the NFL has finally acknowledged, publicly, without mincing words, that the Shazier hit in the playoffs was perfectly legal.

    I realize there’s a large contingent of disgruntled Bungles fans in Cincy who don’t want to admit the truth, but suck it up buttercup. Terrible city, classless fanbase, I hope they dwell in the basement of their division for the next decade at least after that shameful display.

  89. whodey2016 says: Mar 22, 2016 8:15 AM

    I may be a Bengals fan but I was against burficts hit that being said shaziers helmet to helmet should’ve been called since a penalty was called on Reggie Nelson for a similar hit. The NFL stated Bryant’s td catch shouldn’t have counted. I believe they need better refs that can make better calls and keep the players safe. All I know is on both sides people acted like idiots both on field and in the stands. I remember my hs football coach saying hit em so hard their mama will feel it. He did also stress the importance of safety and tackling correctly which is ur head up and wrap the tackled up. Its just a bunch of poor tacklers trying to look better than they are. And Steelers fans on here crack me up they are some of the rudest fans I’ve dealt with at games or online guess all Steelers fans tackle with the crown bunch of brain damaged fools.

  90. handsofsteelhartofstone says: Mar 22, 2016 9:53 AM

    No one is arguing that leading with the crown is legal.
    However, you bengals morons refuse to see that CLEARLY, Shazier buried his face mask into that tiny little girls chest and the top of his helmet gets the bottom of her facemask.
    That IS NOT A PENALTY.

    now what the coward burfect did, that’s not only a penalty, it’s the act of a coward, he’s not a man, he’s human waste and should be flushed

  91. bolgheri says: Mar 22, 2016 11:36 AM

    It seems as though this comment thread is predominantly Bengals fans somehow finding solace or evidence of an NFL conspiracy via the arcane ‘refinement” statement covered in the article. Amazing that such a large group can’t come to grips with the realities of what unfolded in that ugly game, in spite of the ability to go back and review the video evidence, along with the rule book in hand, and simply own it… Are y’all really that collectively desperate ?

  92. bucandball says: Mar 22, 2016 11:48 AM

    The bigger point is that players are tackling too high to begin with. Hit at waist level, wrapping up the thighs is what we were taught way back when. You see it every game, RB or TE bulls for 10 or 12 extra yards as smaller DB tries to wrestle his upper body down. Today it seems like players are conditioned to knock the runner down with an impact shot rather than stick and wrap up.

  93. dcsteelersfan says: Mar 22, 2016 1:01 PM

    the one thing the nfl forgets to add is that this is a human sport. human element defines this sport. its the reason why some plays are broken plays. its the reason why some qb’s get sacked. why some running backs get hit for a loss of yards. why some defenders get interceptions. why some defenders causes fumbles. because of human element. they aren’t robots. some of these owners and commissioners probably never played anything close to professional football. they don’t understand how fast the game is. I’m a firefighter. I talked to some volunteer firefighters and asked how long does it take for them to put their gear on. I have heard 5 minutes with some. I’m like wow…in dc you got about 60 seconds…tops! sometimes you gotta get your gear on in less than 30 seconds. it goes to show how fast things can be. so if that can be considered fast…..then I know an nfl play can be just as fast. so if an nfl play is just that fast then I have to consider when a running back is running as if he is attempting to get a first down or touchdown and the defender is what stands in the middle of him doing that then you don’t have the luxury of saying oh let me line up like this. let me tilt my head like this. let me wrap my arms around his waist like this. its……I gotta take him down! now! and before you even say down its either you hit or you got ran over for overthinking it. the running back is also in a position to be elusive. to juke. to fake you out. how can you adjust to that? you cant. injuries are apart of the game. I wish the commish would understand that. goodell is the worst thing to happen to nfl. you got a guy who wishes he could be but since he cant its reign terror on those who can. and anyone who sides with that guy has no idea either. the nfl is the most elite level. its the reason why star collegiate athletes don’t pan out. because you cant hide behind your flaws in the nfl. you get exposed. so thinking that the nfl can adjust to avoid specific hits its idiotic. its too much going on on a specific play. you think a defender wants to injure his neck? no. you don’t think they know what a concussion feels like? to be on pain meds because they have a killer headache? no one purposely wants to helmet to helmet but damnit it happens. the nfl might as well call flags on every injury. a hit caused a guy to have a torn acl. flag on the play. turf toe. flag on the play. because that’s what it is. flagged for causing an injury

  94. alfie1blog says: Mar 22, 2016 4:47 PM

    I agree with you 100% dcsteeler. It’s going to get to the point offenses are going to average 600 ypg because there literally won’t be anywhere left for a defender to make his hit on the ball carrier. As it is now, there’s a maximum of 2 1/2 feet of ball carriers body that’s legal to target. There’s only one more change they can make from here n that is changing the abbreviation from NFL to NFFL. NATIONAL FLAG FOOTBALL LEAGUE!!!!! JUST SAYIN!

  95. reger91 says: Mar 24, 2016 3:28 AM

    Like Antonio Brown did when he ducked his head into Burfict’s shoulder (not helmet, but it seems nobody questions whether THAT one was a penalty)?

    ________________________________________
    Loser Bungle fans still moaning about the play off loss at home too Pittsburgh. Get used too it you’ll never field a winner!

  96. Lou Stools says: Mar 24, 2016 3:20 PM

    samoanjungle says: The league has too many Steelers fans.
    ============

    (insert your own noun here) has too many Steeler fans

  97. whodey2016 says: Mar 26, 2016 8:40 AM

    Bunch of ignorant Steelers fans….dirty team…..dirty fans and the nfls favorite because controversy brings in money. I bet you both Bengals and Steelers games are sold out next season. The NFL said a penalty should’ve been calked on shazier because how they called Reggie Nelson’s penalty. They also said Bryant’s td catch shouldn’t have counted that means the Bengals lost due to the refs incompetence not because the Steelers we’re better or the Bengals beat themselves. I believe in karma what goes around comes around shazier will get his payback and the Bengals will get theirs. Done with listening to all the whining from Steelers and Bengals fans let’s focus on next season the draft is coming.

  98. whodey2016 says: Mar 26, 2016 8:47 AM

    Now watching the film over again Burfict at the very last second was trying to turn away from the little girl Bryant. He got knocked out by a shoulder Bernard got knocked out by a helmet so who’s the girl tucking his head in scared or the one just catching a pass.

  99. eleventyeight says: Mar 26, 2016 6:02 PM

    And, for the umpteenth year in a row, the league makes a rule specifically designed to deny defenders in general (and Steelers d in particular) the freedom to play the game safely and instead forces them to waste critical moments trying NOT to do something illegal but that the other guy can change at will.

    All offense all day- the “new” NFL.

    As soon as Pittsburgh builds an unstoppable offense and wins another trophy the new anti-offense rules will start.

    The *Patriots will, as usual, be exempt from any rules.

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