Will the NFL now have a charging rule?

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The NFL has passed a sweeping prohibition on the lowering of the helmet to initiate contact, but it has provided no details whatsoever to the media or fans (and very few to the teams) regarding the application and enforcement of the rule. Many questions will need to be answered over the next few months, and plenty of potentially unintended consequences may arise.

Here’s a possible unintended consequence about which the league should be very concerned: Some coaches may try to get players to, essentially, take a charge.

Consider this example. Two players are moving in opposite directions. As they approach each other, they instinctively dip their heads. Then, one stops and the other keeps going. At contact, one player is moving and the other is stationary. The player who was moving “initiated” the contact, and thus draws the flag.

And so, similar to the manner in which basketball presents the charge-versus-blocking decision for its referees, NFL officials will have to decide whether, when helmets collide, one or both players in a football game will be facing a penalty. If it’s both, the penalties will offset. If it’s one, the other team will gain 15 yards of field position.

Whether it comes to that depends on how the rule is specifically designed and implemented. For now, though, the broad language proposed secretly and adopted quickly by the league sets the stage for this new protection for all players to be used strategically by some coaches who are willing to trade a hit to a player’s head for 15 yards of field position.

28 responses to “Will the NFL now have a charging rule?

  1. Yeah I’m sure “taking a charge” will be a widespread problem.
    Coach:”Hey, when Leonard Fournette busts through the line at full speed, I want you to raise up and take a charge.”
    No One Ever:”Sure thing coach.”

  2. So players “instinctively dip their heads” when approaching each other? You’re saying the league is trying to legislate instinct out of the game? I feel like I’ve seen players hit each other without lowering their heads to hit with the crown of the helmet, many times.

  3. what would be even funnier is if both players charging each other and and they both had the same idea,and they both pulled up. they’d be standing there staring at each other! LOL

  4. If they want to fix a blatant rule. How about pick plays?…Um, I mean “rub routes”
    That is a pass interference loop hole that needs to be closed.

  5. What if a RB,due motor reflex due to years of doing it, lowers his head to make a short yardage first down or at the goal line and does not contact anyone. Is that still a penalty for lowering the head ? This rule is completely insane in a contact sport like football. Given the 33 million scenarios that can happen on every play this penalty could probably be called about 330 times a game

  6. Honest. Thought about it last night. Entire offensive line goes low for a
    Short yardage. Do they all get ejected for lowering their heads to get under the D ? Same fornthe D line. LlOL. This is crazy stupid just taking more money out of the players pockets. Probably to help the owners finance the 82 million the owners pledged to help community awareness. Not knocking them helping people at all. Just bringing fact to where the fine money will go maybe.

  7. They already have a charging rule. Charge as much as possible for everything, tickets, beer, advertising…you get the idea.

  8. These articles are always guaranteed to bring out the experts who never played a down of football…but claim they did.
    They’ll enlighten us all on how these rule changes are good for the game.

  9. the idiots in the league office persist in attempting to fix what isn’t broken , how about if they want to borrow from other sports – a penalty box for flagrant foul and spearing calls . Could also include unsportsmanlike conduct. Sit the players down for serious game time as opposed to stealing their $ with fines or suspending them for next week . Make the pain of stupidity immediate .

  10. .
    like I said, same think diving for a football… everyone is leading with their heads…
    5+ penalties and fines right there…
    how about players diving for a pass either side, if that helmet hits someone!!! UGH!
    we secretly pass rules to protect ourselves! we are trying! see judge judy? see?

  11. jimmyjoejohnbob says:
    March 30, 2018 at 1:08 pm
    Will they call it the “Michael Bennet Rule”?

    No, it will be the Coach K rule.

  12. Mark Cuban’s prediction about the NFL is looking more and more certain by the day.

    It’s kinda like Star Wars. No, hear me out. Anakin (Goodell/Owners) has a premonition of Padmé (The NFL) dying. He goes out of his way and makes questionable decisions to change her fate. But it turns out that these questionable decisions are what actually wind up causing her death.

    Boom. Y’all just got Star Wars’d.

  13. They should simply make a rule that it’a a penalty to use the helmet as a weapon… period. When called, it should be automatically reviewed and evaluated as to whether or not an ejection is possible. It’s unfair to force teams to risk time outs to challenge subjective calls on the field.

  14. Packernet says:
    “..How do two players moving in opposite directions meet?..”

    I’m no expert but my guess would be when those directions are towards each other.

  15. GREAT! another murky rule to confuse the Refs and fans. No wonder so many Refs hung it up this off season.
    Why don’t we just put little pink or yellow flags on uniforms so they don’t break a fingernail!

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