Richard Sherman, Josh Norman blast new “lowering helmet” rule

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Two of the NFL’s highest-profile cornerbacks are wondering how they’re supposed to make a tackle without lowering their helmets to initiate contact.

After the NFL passed a new rule making it a 15-yard penalty to lower a helmet into an opponent, Washington cornerback Josh Norman and San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman both expressed frustration that such a rule could pass without the players understanding how it’s supposed to work.

It’s ridiculous,” Sherman told USA Today. “Like telling a driver if you touch the lane lines, you’re getting a ticket. [It’s] gonna lead to more lower-extremity injuries.”

Norman agreed.

“I don’t know how you’re going to play the game,” he said. “If your helmet comes in contact? How are you going to avoid that if you’re in the trenches and hit a running back, facemask to facemask and accidentally graze the helmet? It’s obviously going to happen. So, I don’t know even what that definition looks like.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell promised today that the league will spend the coming months educating players on how the new rule will be enforced. The league has a lot of work to do, as players are currently in the dark about this new rule that is supposed to protect them from injuries.

88 responses to “Richard Sherman, Josh Norman blast new “lowering helmet” rule

  1. Two hand touch…. and must remain fully upright… or they could just stop wearing helmets… then you wouldn’t be lowering it.

  2. I’ts human physiology to lower your head aka tense/compact your neck, shoulder and back to brace for an impact. I’m not sure how the NFL expects to combat human nature. There is an obvious difference between bracing for a hit and targeting. This is just silly.

  3. stupid case of putting the cart before the horse….

    I get leading with the helmet to the head rule…but face mask to chest, face mask to the back or shoulder is how you tackle… can’t see how you can’t tackle with out putting a helmet to the numbers …as I was taught as a kid…..

  4. me thinks there’s something behind this new rule we don’t and may never know about. money, insurance, proposed lawsuits….something.

    hope it doesn’t ruin the game we all love.

  5. rideforjesus says:

    I get leading with the helmet to the head rule…but face mask to chest, face mask to the back or shoulder is how you tackle… can’t see how you can’t tackle with out putting a helmet to the numbers …as I was taught as a kid…..
    ————————————-
    You were poorly coached as a kid and your bad coaches are part of the problem.

    You do not tackle face mask to chest, that’s awful technique at any level.

    A good form tackle is driving the shoulder into the midsection/hips/thighs, wrapping up and taking to the ground.

    It’s not only safe, it’s the most efficient way to quickly take down the ball carrier.

  6. NEWSFLASH: Lower leg injuries are not going to put the NFL out of business. Concussions just might.

    And, this is what I hated when I play football. Dirty players use their helmets as weapons not protection! They spear you with them.

    They don’t wrap and tackle like men. They use their helmets to cause injury like cowards! You ever take a helmet to the head or even lower back? It stings like hell! Get back to proper tackling techniques and football as we know it just might survive!

  7. And not to be flip or cavalier but I think the deal is this in 2018 – you play football you know what you’re risking. The upside is obvious, playing a game as a job, enough money to live on, maybe for a lifetime, maybe some fame, some glory etc. The downside you may not know your name and what planet you’re on by the age of 35.

    It’s a deal with the devil but hey…some of the cats would at best be be insurance salesmen and at worst sweeping the floor at McDonalds. I think it should be up to them what they want to do.

  8. Most NFL referees already struggle mightily trying to get even the simple calls right…another subjective rule just opens the door for more mistakes and more second guessing…obviously they did not think this one through…

  9. The NFL’s ride of success is coming to an end. Goodell is more concerned with liability and legal issues.

    Pro Football as we know is slowly disintegrating.

  10. It’ll have to be changed 6-10 more times before it reaches it’s final state of illegibility.

  11. It is a good rule. I’m sick of seeing guys like Burfict and Sendejo launch themselves head first to make a tackle. I get that it’s the way they’ve been taught since they were kids, it’s time to change the way they’re taught. Launching head first is dangerous for the tackler (Ryan Shazier) and for the tackled (Davante Adams). You can hit just as hard leading with your shoulder. Look at the Malcolm Jenkins hit on Cooks in the Super Bowl.

  12. The Seahawks put together a pretty good informative video a few years back on head-up tackling. Maybe Sherman could watch that video? After all, he was…. on the team that made the video.

  13. Sherm – go tell your thoughts to the guys on the other side of the line who sued the NFL for concussions. The NFLPA is whack. They have to get on the same page. This rule is to prevent head injuries which the NFLPA wants to do. Now these clowns cry about it? Cmon man. You cant have it both ways NFLPA – talk to your guys.

  14. It’s crazy how many of you so called football fans have no idea what form tackling looks like.

    Your head/helmet should never even touch the ball carrier if your tackling correctly. You tackle with your shoulder and your helmet should always be off to the side depending on what shoulder you’re tackling with.

    Watch a rugby game if need a refresher on how to tackle correctly.

  15. alleycat702 says:

    March 28, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    I wonder how many of these people who want to enforce this rule actually played football?

    ——————————–

    Exactly. A bunch of touch-feely lawyers.

  16. Everyone run upright like the sausage races in Milwaukee and means of ‘tackling’ consists of grab and pull to the ground. Imagine those training camp drills.

  17. the minimum salary for an NFL player in 2018 is 480000 over a sixteen game season… thats over 280000 per week in a 17 week season. By the time any player makes it to the pro’s they are at the very minimum 19 years old and understand that there are very real life threatening risks associated with playing participating in this sport. I have ZERO pity for them when soldiers get paid not much more than the nfl players weekly salary over the course of a year to go die for our country.

  18. oops… ” thats over 280000 per week in a 17 week season”… too many zero’s… 28000

  19. “Your head/helmet should never even touch the ball carrier if your tackling correctly. You tackle with your shoulder and your helmet should always be off to the side depending on what shoulder you’re tackling with.”

    I was taught to put my helmet on the ball, my shoulder into the gut (if possible of course) and wrap up the ball-carrier with my arms. Potential for a fumble.

  20. Get rid of helmets entirely and you’ll see the issue gone almost instantly. However, we know that is not going to happen. Sooooo….they should figure out a way to make a helmet that has a soft outer shell, then a hard middle shell, followed by a soft (padded) inner shell. The soft outer shell would do wonders to absorb and dissipate initial contact. For the life of me I don’t understand why they haven’t done this already. I suppose some engineer could explain why it won’t work?

  21. They are missing the point. It’s not whether or not the helmet makes contact. The rule specifically states lowering the helmet so they can lead with the helmet. That’s not how anyone previously has been taught to tackle. We were taught to tackle with our shoulder, not our helmet. They are muddying the water with their comments. You can still make contact with the helmet, just not “spearing”. You can still tackle the upper body. Maybe these guys need to go back to Pop Warner and learn how to tackle properly.

  22. If you want to make the game safer with respect to head injuries.

    All tackles and stops must be initiated with first contact from the elbow or lower.

    Its a fairly simple rule to police. But it would drastically change the game.

  23. I hope the scoreboards and statisticians are in shape. (In the 11pm sportscasters voice:) “And yet again, more records broken as the Saints topped the Packers last night, 117-114 in a game that featured 2,800 yards of offense and 1,300 passing yards for each quarterback, and a total of 33 combined touchdowns.” Its going to be Tecmo Bowl. I miss defense.

  24. You are all missing the big picture. The NFL owners could care less about the players and player safety (unless they are superstars). They are very worried that their supply line of fresh meat (youth football) will begin to dry up for the future. It’s only a business, and decisions are only made to maintain and grow the business.

  25. highdimension2015 says:

    March 28, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Did either mention Ryan Shazier, who will miss the year, at least.
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    1. Shazier lowered his helmet and led with the top of his head. Big difference then what Sherman and Norman said which was facemask.

    2. Shazier would have been flagged for 15 yards on his injury per this new rule

    3. Shazier aside, that type of injury rarely happens

    4. NFL is ruining their game. It is a contact sport. If you do not like the risk, choose a different career.

  26. Um….you could try tackling? Like they used to do? The “Sanders Tackle” (never one to be confused with actually being able to tackle) era is over. The rule isn’t going to stop all helmet to helmet contact, just stupid ones where you lead with your head.

  27. It’ll have to be changed 6-10 more times before it reaches it’s final state of illegibility.
    ———————-

    Why does Jeff Fisher immediately come to mind every time I see “6-10” now?

  28. What happens when the running back goes low and helmet to helmet contact is made. Why does the defender get penalized in this situation?

  29. rob471773 says:
    March 28, 2018 at 2:26 pm
    It’s crazy how many of you so called football fans have no idea what form tackling looks like.

    Your head/helmet should never even touch the ball carrier if your tackling correctly. You tackle with your shoulder and your helmet should always be off to the side depending on what shoulder you’re tackling with.

    Watch a rugby game if need a refresher on how to tackle correctly.
    _____________________________________________________
    Post of the day and 100 percent correct! You people acting like the helmet is the key to tackling are why people get paralyzed! Your helmet is to protect your noggin and you shouldn’t use it to try to make a tackle!

  30. I have to give them the comment about an increase in lower body injuries, those who don’t know how to tackle properly above the knees are going to go for the knees every time. It’s going to take time to teach these twits how to tackle so some guys are going to have to kiss their knees and careers goodbye. Maybe the NFLPA should think about that before they start whining, which they will.

  31. so first he complains that the league is going use us up and now he’s complaining because they try and do something about it. give your money back and go work for fedex.

  32. whenwilliteverend says:
    March 28, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    They are missing the point. It’s not whether or not the helmet makes contact. The rule specifically states lowering the helmet so they can lead with the helmet. That’s not how anyone previously has been taught to tackle. We were taught to tackle with our shoulder, not our helmet. They are muddying the water with their comments. You can still make contact with the helmet, just not “spearing”. You can still tackle the upper body. Maybe these guys need to go back to Pop Warner and learn how to tackle properly.

    ——————————————————————–

    I remember the tackling exercises in high school where you would line up to tackle the guy with the ball and for some strange reason he kept trying to move out of the way at full speed and you had to come at strange angles and awkward positions. Text book tackling works great in a head on rugby scrum and pitch not so great in football where the ball can end up anywhere on the field and your chasing people from the front,back and sideways at light speed.

  33. The death of an American game: The crisis in football Hardcover – 1979
    by John Underwood (Author),,,
    written over 40 yrs ago,,whats taken them so long?

  34. Only makes sense if you get rid of the helmet. The helmet is supposed to be protection but it’s become a weapon.

    Go back to leather helmets. We all played tackle football (often with the street in between 2 yards) with no helmets. It can be done.

    I got tossed from a whitewater boat and hit my head on a rock with that plastic helmet and it worked just fine. Make a protective helmet, not a weapon. Otherwise, this rule won’t work.

  35. Hey Richard and Josh: would you rather have a dislocated shoulder or a dislocated mind (read: CTE)?

  36. This stupid rule will result in an explosion of penalties. Talk about a subjective rule! This could be called on every play.

  37. I can’t say I like it. How is an NFL official going to determine if it’s targeting or did the player who has the ball drop down a few inches creating helmet to helmet contact. They fix the pass catch rule and then completely screw up another rule. It’s going to be chaos with some coaches and players getting real upset. Maybe tossed,… but the NFL OFFICES will come out 2 days later and say it was a bad call. That doesn’t help when some team loses and that call is a factor. I’ve said this for years – watch what the NCAA does and follow that, but there’s way too much EGO on the behalf of the NFL Offices to admit the NCAA is right.
    SMH !!!

  38. I believe this rule already exists and it’s called Spearing, been around for years. How is this a new rule?

    What is Spearing?
    A penalty called when a defensive player makes a tackle that leads with the crown of his helmet into the offensive player. If the initial contact occurs at the top of the helmet, the tackle is illegal. Spearing is a 15-yard penalty against the defense and an automatic first down. The penalty is considered a player safety issue, as hits that lead with the top of the helmet often result in injuries.

  39. All these folks on here talking about proper tackling form. Have you seen how fast these players are? They literally have a 1000th of a second to figure out how to tackle someone and you’re on here telling us proper form. Come on!

  40. Reading those in favor of proper tackling is really good. For those posting and whining about change. Deal with it, life is about change. Grow a set and deal with it the game we love has to change and for various reasons. If you don’t like it and want all out carnage there is MMA for you. Football the game we know and love was always about tackling and then hitting came into the league and our lives. The object of the tackle for defenders is to get he ball carrier to the ground not the ambulance and or worse. And for those saying they know the risk, really use your head for more than a hat rack. That’s just disgusting, they know the risk. Not all players join up to be bludgeoned with a helmet.

  41. highdimension2015 says:
    Did either mention Ryan Shazier, who will miss the year, at least.
    ————————–

    “I understand trying to be safer, I get it. We saw what happened to Ryan Shazier, and I get it and understand that, but at the same time, it’s football,” Norman told USA Today.

  42. Curious, ball carriers are taught to lower their head when running in traffic, especially when about to be tackled. They should get the penalty as well and not put the onus all on the tacklers.

  43. @packrule

    To add on to your comment, I have been working in and around the Army for 40 years and I guarantee you can’t tell a 20-something anything, the most you’ll get from them is an eye roll and a “Yeah, Pops,” and away they go, sure they know more than you; until they have it forcefully proven to them they know a lot less than they think they do.

  44. Vince McMahon’s XFL league might provide a better product down the road if the NFL keeps on making decisions like this.

  45. montanapredator says:
    March 28, 2018 at 3:58 pm
    Sherman can’t tackle no matter what the rule is – even on his third of the field
    …………………………………………………….
    He’s the best tackling cornerback in football. This is the dumbest post of the day.

  46. Shazier’s injury is tragic. But that hit should be used as a perfect example of how not to tackle. Football’s a dangerous sport no matter what, but when you tackle like that your risk of serious injury skyrockets.

  47. Who the hell appointed Sherman to be an expert spokesman on everything? Maybe a solid helmet-first hit in the chops will shut him up.

  48. I do not want to see any body hurt but this is football, injuries will happen. Make players sign a waiver that they understand the possibilities of injury, you will have to read it to some, and play friggin football!!!

  49. philipdebin says:
    March 28, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Beginning of the end for football.

    ——————————————-

    It’s closer to the Middle of the end for football than the “Beginning.”

  50. “The NFL’s ride of success is coming to an end. Goodell is more concerned with liability and legal issues.

    Pro Football as we know is slowly disintegrating.”

    It’s not Goodell. It’s the owners. It’s the public. It’s the retired players speaking up. It’s the science. If he’s not concerned with liability and legal issues, those issue will shut down this league. The owners are trying to save the NFL with this rule. That seems obvious to me.

  51. There’s an obvious need to make tackling safer for all players but I think this rule confuses the topic more than it improves safety. There has to be a clearcut set of rules and this one isn’t by any means.
    It’s getting close to where the NFL Offices might start considering FLAG FOOTBALL or some form of it. That’s when the NFL will commit business suicide.

  52. As a rb it’s human nature to lower you head and brace for contact. Only matter on time before the NFL fold

  53. Take out the knees. That’s the best option of the defense now. This is not the NFL of George Atkinson and Jack Tatum. This is a new league where there is only Offense, and the least defense possible.

  54. Spearing is an issue especially when the defensive player is lowering their head to initiate contact.

    Not sure how those in the trenches avoid tackling with their heads down (especially on goal line stands).

  55. theright0pinion says:
    March 28, 2018 at 4:29 pm
    philipdebin says:
    March 28, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Beginning of the end for football.

    ——————————————-

    It’s closer to the Middle of the end for football than the “Beginning.”

    ——————————————-

    People are finally catching on. The money won’t show it yet, but the legs are getting kicked out from under the NFL table. This rule is all about Shazier. Their ending isn’t certain but society today won’t put up with disabilities/deaths from football like in the early days.

  56. Here comes the idiot parade. Never been an official. Don’t get the big picture. Butt blocking and face tackling are penalties since high school. Using shoulder pads and arms is the legal way to tackle. Eliminate superman tackles.

  57. Luckily for both Sherman n Norman given their injuries and sub-par play neither one will be in the NFL much longer so they won’t have to worry about said rule much longer, especially Sherman. Sherman is coming off a fully ruptured Achilles tendon surgery & he had the other Achilles operated as well, given those injuries, there is no way in heck he regains his previous form. Sherman is done.

  58. Did either mention Ryan Shazier, who will miss the year, at least.
    ___________

    #50 got hurt simply playing football, not by “breaking rules” or “playing dirty”. It was freak injury. One that may happen while playing the (still, albeit now less) brutal game of football. Similar to many that have come before it, and hopefully many less that will come after. But no amount of well-intentioned words in a rule would’ve or could’ve prevented.

    It’s just the nature of football. Yes, you study the game, the x’s & o’s, various sound techniques…but far too many times, guy’s bodies just end up in awkward or downright dangerous predicaments.

    The rule is stupid. It’s been illegal to “lead with the helmet” forever…this “new” stipulation is superfluous and should just be considered all-inclusive under the simple edict of not weaponizing the helmet.

    The day they start using super slo-mo to determine “intent” of clearly incidental helmet contact will be the day I quit watching football. This rule is a step in that direction, unfortunately.

  59. Lots of “experts” in here telling us how to correctly tackle that never played a down of football in their lives.

    Especially defensive football where everything is aggressive reaction and decisions based on instinct rather than thought.

    You always hear new defenders on a team say it’ll take awhile to learn the plays so they can stop thinking and just let their natural ability take over.

    I played at a fairly high level into college as a defensive lineman and I can’t tell you how many times I would make the tackle and have absolutely no idea how I actually got there or did it until film study. It was all pure reaction with little to no thought. Thinking just slows you down.

    This rule was written by a lawyer who likely played soccer instead if he played a sport at all in high school.

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