Helmet rule passes

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Well, that was fast.

Faced with concerns from coaches but possible litigation worries arising from current and future players, owners voted on Wednesday to outlaw the use of the crown of the helmet by offensive or defensive players in the open field.

Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the rule passed by a “wide margin.”  (It’ll be interesting to know who opposed it, and whether there was a closer initial vote followed by a more comfortable second tally.)

And so the ultimate reality show will have another layer of reality this year, with players and coaches and media and fans complaining about the latest effort to make safer an inherently unsafe endeavor.

268 responses to “Helmet rule passes

  1. ” possible litigation worries”
    Football is run by a lawyer and now dictated by lawyers. They are killing the sport one lawyer at a time.

  2. NFL fans, keep your TVs off on Sundays. Watch streams on the internet. Let’s hit the NFL where it hurts: their wallet. That might get our message across.

  3. This seems like yet another subjective rule that refs are going to have to deal with. At least they’re not getting rid of the stiff arm to the head.

  4. This rule was a no brainer. And despite what some knucklehead running backs say, there is a big difference between lowering the shoulders and striking with the crown.

  5. Sweet, so it will be nice to watch a whole season where there surely be no controversies of any kind now that the NFL has all of the rules down to a perfect science. I’m sure nothing can go wrong this year regarding any aspect of the rules.

  6. As a former college running back I just don’t get this. They expect a runner to go in waiting to get his head taken off because he has to have it up? No. Second, how is this going to be officiated? I get the idea of trying to avoid helmet to helmet but you have to give runners the right to run over someone if they can.
    Off topic, glad to see the “tuck rule” go, what a joke that Tom Brady rule has been.

  7. and the nfls 5 year life span begins now..

    also my personal ban on anything nfl related (except giants games, snf and mnf on TV only), including going to games starting 4 seasons ago will continue..

  8. Except not all fans have a problem with any safety rule the NFL comes up with, this one is easily justifiable when considering that putting all the force of a collision on the head and neck is obviously not a good thing.

    I don’t know why fans have to be so bloodthirsty and obsessed with any rule change, I prefer the big hits that don’t have serious repercussions for the players. They still exist.

  9. I really dont see how this rule can be enforced without making an absolutely mockery of running the ball

    People complaining the league was too pass happy before aint seen nothing yet….

  10. After teams get hit with a few 15 yard penalties on 8-9 yard runs, you have to wonder if this will be the death of the running game in the NFL. And you have to wonder how this will affect a hard runner like AP.

  11. Oh. My. God.

    Blatant stupidity. There will not be anybody happy when this gets called 15 times a game.

  12. Get ready to add another 30 minutes to NFL games. Hell, the refs have too many decisions already, so why add more? The reason is simple. When this all washes out in court, the league wants to be able to say that they are doing everything possible to protect the players. The owners passed it to mitigate damages in court. It has nothing to do with what the fans think. It is a stupid rule that is hated by players on both sides of the line.

  13. Also, why was it an owner’s vote and not the competition committee?

    Being an owner’s vote, it’s not even a vote since they are looking out for their own skin with concerns of player litigation looming.

  14. How often does a running back get a concussion, Adrian Peterson has lowered his helmet every time he runs and has never missed a game with a concussion. I HATE ROGER GOODELL!

  15. Can’t Goodell just make the adults sign a waiver stating they can’t sue for consussions or any medical condition instead of ruining the game?

    I can tell you in the past 3 years my interest in the game and money spent is less.

  16. well since the game is now out of the player’s hands lets vote a ref or executive to the cover of Madden. Or maybe an accountant. Or Hello Kitty.

  17. Might as well have the teams dress in pink all season long now…not just during breast cancer awareness month.

  18. Are you kidding me?? It’s a dumb rule because RBs can’t lower their shoulders without lowering their heads. I’ve seen WRs do this as well.

    How else will they brace for impact? Finish off runs and potentially pick up extra yards — especially in situations near the goal-line or for a game-sealing first down?

    Terrible rule change.

  19. Thanks upper level idiots for not thinking of your fans when you kill the sport yet make us take out a second mortgage on our homes to pay for tickets. IM so disappointed in what the NFL is becoming I at a loss for words.

  20. Next, the NFL will change their name to the NFFL…..NATIONAL FLAG FOOTBALL LEAGUE. This is becoming a Joke.

  21. Why would any team draft/use a RB?
    i’d go 5 wide on every play and forget the running game. It’s almost extinct already before this rule.

  22. The refs already showed incompetence to blow the whistle correctly on every other penalty, so why give them another rule that can completely change the outcome of a game?

  23. How about the players get a say in the rules? You know, the ones that keep getting their acls torn up because of these rules?

    What a joke. Is this football or soccer. Let’s have more penalties that contain a bunch of Grey area for refs to screw up.

  24. Not sure what nfl you are watching. any big hits for the past few years is followed either by a flag or a fine

  25. Bring back the XFL!!!! (fair catch rule didn’t apply…..now THATS entertainment)

  26. Hasn’t spearing (leading with the helmet) always been a penalty? How is this different?

  27. panamon says: Mar 20, 2013 12:35 PM

    Except not all fans have a problem with any safety rule the NFL comes up with, this one is easily justifiable when considering that putting all the force of a collision on the head and neck is obviously not a good thing.

    I don’t know why fans have to be so bloodthirsty and obsessed with any rule change, I prefer the big hits that don’t have serious repercussions for the players. They still exist.
    Obviously you’ve never played football. When you’re running the ball, you lower your shoulder pads to hit, which means lowering your head. Getting as low as possible also protects your legs, knees, etc. You may not intend to have a helmet to helmet or helmet to chest collision but it happens.

  28. What a great opportunity for the referees to manipulate the games.

    You think pass interference and holding are rules of interpretation, wait until this rule hits the books.

  29. So hopefully AP restructures his contract since this basically renders the greatest running back of all time in his prime useless….thanks nfl!!

  30. When will Roger Goodell shut up? How can this man claim to know what is best for this game when he has never suited up on an NFL field in his life. Risks that occur on the field are known by the players who play the game and are accepted. Roger should play daddy to his own family!!!!

  31. Potential comentary from 2013 NFL games:

    “Last play of the game… 3rd and goal from the 4 yard line and the Vikes need a TD for the win. Peterson takes the handoff and breaks it to the outside!! Meets the defenders at the goaline and plows his way in for the TD!!! Minesota wins!!!…….. Oh wait!! Theres a flag on the field… Looks like Peterson lowered his head as he was fighting to cross the goaline. 15 yard penalty… Vikes lose. ”


  32. How the refs are giving direction with the “emphasis” explained is the biggest issue moving forward. Hopefully, we won’t be reviewing calls on this four-five times a game, slowing down the game.

    RB’s now going down or out of bounds instead of hitting the man directly in front of him will now be the norm.

    Good for the player who doesn’t get hurt. Bad for watching as a traditionalist.

  33. wow..i’ve been for the other safety related rules but this one is really going to detract from the game and is going to be really tough to call.

    So if you have 3rd and 1 you can’t dive into the line any more? You really can’t dive into the line without leading with your head.

    This drastically changes the game. You might as well just pass the ball on 3rd and inches since you are forcing the running back to stand up straight, almost guaranteeing he doesn’t make the first…

  34. So runners can’t protect themselves any more? I’m not sure it’s physically possible to lower your shoulder without your head being lowered at the same time.

    There’s no way that they’ll be able to call this correctly with any consistency. What a nightmare.


    I’ll NEVER watch football again! (until September)

    Their/There/Theyre/They’re RUINING football! (except for the fact that you won’t notice a difference)

    It’s becoming SOCCER! (well, other than every single aspect of the sport)

    The NFL will DISINTEGRATE (with 2/3 households watching on sunday? doubtful)

  36. Fans definitely will be complaining. Why? Mostly because the referees will start calling it at least three times per game starting Week 1.

    Each officiating crew will call the penalty differently from the others. So, from one week to the next, neither the players nor coaches can be certain of what will be deemed a penalty or not – just as Pass Interference and the Defenseless Receiver rules are subjectively called in the league already.

    Just another way for the officials to get too involved, and change the outcome of a game.

  37. Well we know who killed the goose who laid the golden egg. Lawyers! Yea, I am sure that all of the players lining up wanted a pay day, but now what the league is forced to do is protect itself from more law suits. This sport is going to die. Which ain’t all bad I am a Bills fan.

  38. I’m done watching the powderpuff league it’s turning into. As much as I don’t care for Peterson, I also don’t want to watch him not be able to cover up and have his career come to an end because his knees get taken out since he’s now a defenseless rusher.

  39. They did this to add more commercial time and believe me – there will more more commercial breaks around these calls, conferences, etc. Every ref crew will need a lawyer added to it so that they can interpret the rulebook and every coach will need a lawyer to converse with the refs.

    Welcome to the 4 hour “football” game!

  40. This is the owners fault

    If that outlawed hgh and steroids they wouldn’t have linemen runnin 4.5 40’s and we’d still have our game

  41. This sounds like hyperbole, but I’m dead serious…how long before they eliminate the 3 point stance?

    It seems to me that 8 or 10 300 pound+ behemoths lined up inches apart who go charging full tilt into each other every snap could be something the NFL suddenly decides it can’t risk. Lotsa helmet contact going on, you see.

    I bet by 2016 or so the competition committee will have proposed a rule whereby the center is the only lineman who can be in a 3 point stance. Everyone else in a 2 point stance. The defense has to line up 5 yards away to give the center time to snap the ball and get his head up.

    Sound stupid? Wouldn’t this rule have sounded stupid a couple years back?

  42. “That’s the way you finish a run! That’s the way you play football in the National Football League!” — Announcer right after Trent Richardson knocked Kurt Coleman’s helmet off

  43. The time is right for the next XFL or USFL. Just allow real hitting and it will be better than the current NFL immediately. I’ll pay for that.

  44. Can’t wait for the first time Tom Brady does this and doesn’t get called for it.

  45. Stupidest rule change ever.

    I wonder how the league will react when a RB gets seriously injured because he didn’t lower his head to protect himself.

  46. I get some of the “safety” rules that have been implemented. . I may not like them, but I get it. This one is ridiculous. Actually, this may creat more injuries. Idiots.

  47. I can’t wait for all the broken ribs, broken collarbones, broken arms(due to the running backs trying to stiff arm defenders), and abdominal muscle strains.

    Good Job thinking this through …

  48. This is asinine. Players duck and lower their head to avoid hits. Running backs duck to fall forward. Defensive players duck to make tackles. I can’t believe the NFL thinks this is a good idea.


    1) Please demonstrate how you drop your shoulder but not your head

    2) How are officials going to call this? It’s going to be a subjective, bullsh*t call

    May as well just take the helmets off the players.

  49. This isn’t about player safety. This is about current and future litigation against the NFL pure and simple. Just trying to put another faux-gesture out there that the NFL cares about the safety about the player when in reality, it is about keeping money from going to litigants. Who the hell is on this rules committee anyway? Just owners and lawyers? There are going to be some teed-up RB’s this fall!

  50. Fisher says it passed 31-1. I guess the owners have made it clear thay are going to change the game to be safer……or as safe as can practically be. Fisher says the concern for flags being thrown will not be there as it will not be overly officiated. Just protecting the players against themselves.

    Hope he is right.

  51. To everyone saying they are done with football….I call BS.
    Did you watch just to see a runner lower his head and run someone over? No, there’s a lot to the game. More than this one rule.

  52. You can’t lower your shoulders without lowering your head. Lowering shoulders and ducking are natural human reactions to imminent collisions.

    I know a small minority of you blame the fans for being bloodthirsty and unintelligent, but blame the customer all you want. Until this is made part of the Affordable Care Act, you cannot force me to purchase one more ticket. And the truth is, stuff like this DOES erode my interest. I’m one less Sunday Ticket subscriber, and one less attendee.

  53. OK, that ball is pretty hard. Maybe we should go to a cotton ball, and then put players in sumo suits and have them bounce around on the field like the old electric football and have random scores?

  54. PLAYER SAFETY PLAYER SAFETY…oh except for wanting to play 18 regular season games and make you guys play on Thursday nights with little to no turnaround time.

    Goodell is transparent scum.

    I’ll bet you this: if the concussion lawsuits get thrown out, some of the dumber, more extreme rules like this one will quietly be repealed.

  55. Hitting someone with your head down is called spearing. At least that’s what it was called when I grew up. We were told that’s how you break your neck. You can’t tackle what you can’t see. There is a reason that DB’s in the NFL are, in general, horrible tacklers. They all have their heads down. This is a good thing for the NFL.

  56. Farewell bruising backs and your sheer awesomeness you bring to the game. I will forever remember the days of Neatness and when the “Gridiron” was for men before it became Roger Goodell’s bouncy house. Gentlemen to gentlemen, I hope you die from Lou Gehrig’s disease mister Goodell.

  57. Not sure how this rule even remotely makes sense. Short yardage situations will never be the same again, let alone any running play. How do you re-coach RB’s to run without being prepared to deliver blows? I remember “hit or be hit.” I have gone along with a lot of the safety recommendations, but I don’t see how this works.

    Point of correction to an earlier post (not that it matters). Goddell is not a lawyer.

    I know I am not one (a lawyer), but I guess the Union would never allow players to sign some sort of Hold Harmless agreement, that they take the risk of catastrophic injury upfront. I can’t imagine one player not signing that if such a thing existed.

  58. I just wish there was another sport that I liked as much to fall back on when this league goes under. The problem is everyother leagues has 80+ games. Aint nobody got time for dat!

  59. Good luck getting a 1000 rushing yards in a season. You won’t see Running Backs getting those extra yards anymore as they bull through.

    And so much for the “punishing running back” style. Instead, they will now BE punished by LB’s and DB’s as they are forced to run upright.

  60. These silver spoon owners running their daddies’ teams and their dopey lackey are too stupid to recognize that NO new rules will prevent the lawsuits.

    Players are suing for not being informed with the knowledge possessed by owners re: permanent concussion effects. Without this knowledge, they could not have possibly consented to the dangers. That’s the law. Simple. Goes for any dangerous endeavor.

    They can put skirts on the players. However, if the NFL knows something about injuries (maybe the skirts will give the players incurable diaper rash) and don’t inform the players, the NFL will still get sued. It’s just the law.

    I blame the NFL’s lawyers. They have become simple “yes men”. None will stand up and tell the NFL they are going about this the WRONG WAY!!!

  61. I find it funny that people complain about this in the face of so many lawsuits. Last year Schiano told Doug Martin not to drop his head when running and his stats exploded. Wait until you see the final product before whining about it.

  62. Just wow. The game just changed. Basketball on grass now and in the future. There will be 18 games a year, every team will be in the playoffs, and there will be a foul every other play.

  63. Five years ago my level of interest in the NFL was 10/10. Two years ago it was 8/10. Heading into this season (my first in 10 years w/o an NFL Ticket subscription) is on the low side of 5/10. Are they making the game safer? Sure. Are they doing so at the expense of the quality of play and interst from the common fan? Absolutely. It’s simply not the same game it was as late as the 90’s and early 2000’s. It’s really, really sad. The ONLY thing keeping the fringe fans around is fantasy and it appears the NFL is changing the game to accomodate those fringe fans.

  64. This must pertain to WR’s also down field, right? Basically any player advancing the ball downfield (outside of the box) can’t lead with the helmet (even when getting smashed by three defenders at the same time).

  65. benroethlisberger7 says: Mar 20, 2013 12:37 PM

    Also, why was it an owner’s vote and not the competition committee?

    Being an owner’s vote, it’s not even a vote since they are looking out for their own skin with concerns of player litigation looming.
    The Competition Committee does not vote – they only recommend rules for the owners.

    Your second point is exactly right and is the big picture. The owners had a choice… lose 100,000 bloodlusting fans who want old-style violence, or lose several billion dollars in player lawsuits because they’re not promoting head-trauma safety.

    As with player contracts, follow the money.

  66. wow… congrats Rodger you just killed the Golden Goose. Retired players lawsuit must have real legs for owners to agree to such a stupid rule. at least Saturdays will still have real football.

  67. “Keep yer head up, kid!”
    “But coach, I’ll get my neck broken!!”
    “You’re worth more dead than sued.”

  68. The idea that this how players were taught all their lives is ridiculous. If they were taught to use the top of their helmet to hit someone, they were taught wrong. Any coach who would teach that is a bad coach. In fact, any coach who didn’t specifically address this before each season is a bad coach.

  69. YAAAAY!!!!!! SARCASTABALL!!!!!!! OK Bill Gates lets get the AFL back up and running! Move the kickoffs back and get rid of the Goodell rule changes! Just make lifetime healthcare apart of their retirement packages! Goodell you suck no one likes you except your butt buddy Rooney another reason to hate the Steelers…

  70. Clearly the league continues its full-on CYA efforts while the mob of lawyers and ex-players gathers at its door. Goodell is not fooling anyone. We know what this is all about.

    It’ll be interesting to see if the league survives this onslaught and whether or not it’s the lawyers or the rules changes that doom them first. I don’t think this rule will have the same impact as the “helmet to helmet on a defenseless receiver” debacle, but it’s not going to end here either. Every year for the foreseeable future they’ll add 2-3 more rules like this.

    Startup pro football leagues have always been a disaster, but I actually think the NFL’s tack on all these rules additions could provide the opening for a new startup league to make a successful run. Here’s how:
    – Step 1: Make it a spring/summer league.
    – Step 2: Roll back the rules by about 10-15 years from what the NFL uses today. Market the league as “real football” and target the NFL on this front in your marketing.
    – Step 3: You’ve got to get some star power. Popular college players who aren’t in the NFL mold need to be sought after and promoted. Same with ex-NFL stars or well-knowns like Tiki Barber, JaMarcus Russell, Jeff George, etc.

  71. Unless and until literally millions of fans stop watching and spending in the nfl they will keep adding rules like this. If their tv share drops by 25-30% they’ll take a big hit and these rules may star reversing.

    You can be sure no one will ever break the running mark now. AP had the best chance last year, no one will ever come close again

  72. WOW!! This could be the last straw for us fans. Football is no longer the game it was at all back in the 70’s and 80’s when alot of ticket buying fans grew up. I guess my worship of all things Earl Campbell would never have happened with this new rule. Unfortunate.

  73. Like someone said, the only way to truly voice your opinion is to impact their wallet. I have to laugh during lockouts when everyone says “I’m done.” We saw it with the NHL this year – fans come back in full force, even stronger than before. I’d love to see fans finally put something into action and boycott the league. But you need numbers and commitment, not short memories. Make it happen, folks.

  74. For those of you defending this new rule, it may look fine on paper, but in actual games this will play out exactly the same as the “defenseless receiver” rules we have seen over the past few years: perfectly legal hits will be penalized because they LOOKED like infractions when the officials view them at real speeds. Running backs are going to be penalized for playing good, clean football. And when your team gets penalized for a hit that replays show is perfectly legal and that 15-yard penalty costs your team a game, don’t complain about it. That’s just the inevitable result of the rule you supported.

  75. If we as fans stop attending games the League will have no choice but to bring back the brand of NFL football we all grew up with. This is my pledge I will not attend nor purchase anything else from the NFL until it renigs on it’s current anti football philosophy

  76. The NFL will, in time, collapse or be greatly diminished without these rule changes. Much like tobacco companies were forced to pay the piper, so too will the NFL. The difference is the NFL is in no position to exploit the youth in foreign countries, as the tobacco industry has done to make up for lost domestic profits.

    Looking at the history of the sport, it has undergone widespread and often unpopular rules changes over and over again. This is no different. In time, youth football players coming up will have been taught a different way of playing, and we won’t have old dogs being forced to learn new tricks. Anybody who has worn a football helmet knows you can bang your head on a concrete wall and it won’t hurt a bit. Attacking with the helmet was never a part of the game before the advent of modern style helmets, and it shouldn’t be a part of the game now. Like it or not, this potentially will be what saves football from being a distant memory 50 years from now.

  77. Corporate America wins again shocker. This is why voting is a joke. 32 owners in the nfl 1664 players (52 man roster) yet minority wins. How does that work???? Because it is just a rich man agreement.

  78. How appropriate that on the same day that the NFL finally jettisons that idiotic tuck rule, they introduce an even more idiotic rule like this.

    Stupid, stupid move. You might as well get rid of the helmets and shoulder pads now.

  79. This just in, teams now pass on 85% of plays. Get your elite QB now…the running has just been made as valuable as the punter.

  80. lol… I don’t understand why comments are getting dislikes… wait, yes I do.. It’s from the people who have never played the game, and just don’t get it…

    this makes me sick… I played Safety and i went for the knees to begin with, the running backs have no hope…

  81. The NFL is begging for some upstart league to take away their fans. I know in the past they have never been seriously challenged, but I think the time is getting near. People will jump ship like they did with boxing and the MMA.

  82. Every teams new draft strategy. Speed pass rushers. Wide receivers and cornerbacks. No other positions are necessary.

  83. So now RBs cant go down to protect themselves, they’re gonna give the tackler a larger target in which to get hit. Dumb. NFL games are gonna have twice as many penalties causing the games to run almost 5 hrs.

  84. Hey all you Goodell lovers that supported him through Bountygate saying the Saints got what they deserved well….


  85. dmartin17
    Mar 20, 2013, 11:34 AM CDT
    “This rule was a no brainer. And despite what some knucklehead running backs say, there is a big difference between lowering the shoulders and striking with the crown.”

    Plus isn’t this how we teach kids to play, when both running and tackling?

  86. Seems to me owners are opting bleed money, by forcing their pushing their fans away… rather than risk “litigation”…

    I read another troll talk about rugby yesterday. Could this be the first step in that direction? Its a fun sport to watch once you understand it!

  87. Rudy 2; “Alright boys, take those pads off. And every month for about 5 days put this pad in. We want openly gay players, less violence, and women commentators ASAP!!! We didn’t become a multi billion dollar industry by being tough, wait??? What are we doing?!?”

  88. So STUPID.

    That said, question to Florio:

    Has anything been decided about what the penalty will be?

    If a RB breaks off a 65 yard run and lowers his head at the last 5 yards, does the entire run get called back?

    5 yards from the spot of the foul?

    Also, does this now eliminate the 4th & goal run up the middle or the QB sneak??

  89. The NFL might as well just take off all the pads and give everyone flags to strap to their waist…on the plus side with the new rule change the Detroit Lions defense might actually be able to tackle someone this season……

  90. The rule is applicable to the open field only–could this be ANOTHER way to protect the NFL’s quarterbacks? They are considered “runners” when outside of the pocket.

    I think yes. Apparently, according to the NFL, RBs don’t get hit in the head when they run between the tackles. Who knew?

  91. Insurance companies probably told the owners they wouldn’t cover their teams anymore without this rule.

  92. I’m not worried about it. I’ve been watching rugby for years. There are plenty of big hits, and you rarely see rugby players initiate contact with their heads. As a matter of fact, they are much more technically sound tacklers than football players.

    Much ado about nothing in my opinion. Players will adapt.

  93. Overreact much? Nothing in the rule says a player can’t put his head down, protect himself, go low, strike with impact, or that he has to run standing straight up. All it says is that in the open field, outside the tackles, you can’t initiate contact with the top of your helmet. This isn’t difficult to grasp and frankly is the correct and proper way players are taught to hit from the youth level on up. This isn’t “sissifying” football; it’s enforcing proper and safe technique that the players shouldn’t have forgotten in the first place.

  94. What’s up with rugby? Have the lawyers ruined that yet? I am going to have to check it out.

  95. The NFL is just that much closer to becoming nothing more than a “reality” show.

  96. This combined with the no chop block / block below the knee rule they passed the other day is going to make this a very poor year for RB stats… More passing = better ratings I guess?

  97. Next year the competition commitee will review whether or not defensive players will be allowed to be on the field when the offense of the opposing team is playing. However they will be able to lightly heckle the offense from the sidelines.

  98. Don’t only blame Goodell…..this was voted on by the owners. It’s all about the money, and always will be. Former players suing the NFL is what is ruining the game, kind of funny that they complain about the new rules even though they are the catalysts. The owners could care less if the game is flag football, as long as the cash keeps flowing their way. With lawsuits, their cash will be flowing the wrong way.
    Sad that greed ruins something that we all love.

  99. I really don’t have a problem with the new rules instituted for safety. It’s usually not the intention of the rule that’s bad but the way it is enforced. As always, the refs will make this rule worse than it is because they always enforce the letter of the rule rather than the spirit of it. Just like with hitting a QB in the head and hitting defenseless receivers. The officials will flag anything that could be considered possibly wrong just to protect themselves from punishment for being to lenient. In all reality, the NFL needs only 1 rule for all this stuff. It’s called unnecessary roughness. If the ref feels a hit was made when a hit wasn’t needed or if a violent blow was made to the head and/or knees, then there should be an unnecessary roughness penalty. They need to stop with calling incidental contact to the head. It gets ridiculous at times and I believe the officials are at fall. No matter what, it seems like the NFL has reached its peak of popularity and it will start heading downhill.

  100. goldrush36 says:Mar 20, 2013 12:56 PM

    Every teams new draft strategy. Speed pass rushers. Wide receivers and cornerbacks. No other positions are necessary.


    Why do you need speed pash rushers and cornerbacks. Tackling the QB and defending the forward pass will soon be illegal.

  101. People complaining the league was too pass happy before aint seen nothing yet….


    That’s right. The NFL will quickly evolve into an outdoor Arena League (I know, oxymoronic, but you get my drift)

  102. What a joke. There was an article quoting a league official saying this penalty only would have been called 5 times all season last year. If thats so, why do we need a tule? Obviously it’s minimal risk if thats how rarely it occurs. But, now that it’s up to official’s judgement it’ll be called 5 times week one. To those saying you can lead with your shoulder without lowering your helmet are fools. The most dangerous times in football are when youre trying not to get hurt instead of what comes instinctively. This rule will do nothing but hurt running backs…production and physical health.

  103. Oh, the NFL just came up with another rule that they’ll nitpick teams with all season long and then neglect to call in he playoffs. Sounds about right.

  104. When and how are we as fans and customers of the nfl gonna stop this madness? I am outraged by this

  105. Did they announce that Joey Crawford will now be training referees on how to make up calls so games can be decided by referees?

    It used to be only Qb’s wore skirts now I guess the rest of the league better head out to Lord and Taylor to get fitted.

    Sorry, but my season tickets will all be sold this year to some other sucker. I don’t buy tickets based on player safety and part of the reason I pay ridiculuous amounts of money to go, park, drink, eat and spend the capital I use up with the wife and family has nothing to do with PLAYER SAFETY!

    If Goodell was smart they would have said we are negotiating a player safety FUND that we’ll contribute too as a % of OUT OF each players actual salary. If you don’t agree to this all lawsuits against the NFL will be null and void from any current or former player who signs a practice squad contract on up.

    Funnny thing is he’ll probably be Time’s man of the Year for his dismantling of what was the greatest sport in America.

  106. If it can help America’s standing in the developed world by diverting more youth interest towards Math, Science and ballet, then I’m for it!

  107. Most people don’t understand the rule change apparently. It mentions NOTHING about lowering your shoulders or your head, so it won’t prevent running backs from barreling over opponents.

    All it does is say you can’t drive the crown of your helmet into a defender and use it as a weapon. Basically it just reiterates that you can’t “spear” an opponent. Shouldn’t be that big of a thing to adjust to.

    You can’t use your helmet to inflict damage to an opponent, that’s all. It doesn’t say anything about incidental (non intentional) contact with the helmet.

  108. I’m all for trying to make football safer, but I think when you start establishing rules such as this one, it starts to take the game away from the players and fans.

    It seems the NFL is being run out of a position of fear; passing legislation that reminds me more of what a politician may promote, rather than sports league.

    The NFL has to know what it is. It is a violent game. The players who play it have a choice to walk away at any time, and they are certainly aware of what can happen to their bodies.

    When a rule is passed like this, it ensures now that more of the “natural” element of the game, can no longer be just that. If i’m running, maybe it’s natural to lower my head, exposing the crown of my helmet to a tackler. If a player has to think twice about this and makes let’s say, an awkward cut on the turf and tears and ACL, how is this much better for the league.
    The NFL has to man up. They have to realize that they have a different game, but one that sells. The inegrity and quality of that game shouldn’t be decided by out of touch lawyers and rich stand off owners, who mearly facilitate the game, leaving the players and fans without a voice.

  109. wonder how many will need chin replacements now ! do they even make chin replacements for people ?

  110. wonder how many will need chin replacements now ! do they even make chin replacements for people ?

  111. are the teams going to be able to ask for
    review?if so add another 15 min to each game..
    the players know what they signed up for..
    put something in contracts about no law suits.

  112. Worst move in the history of the game. This is going to get Running Backs hurt and there is no way officials will get these calls right. Furious. How do we get this changed? We have got to fight this.

  113. Headline for this article was too short…how it should have read is HELMET RULE PASSES – FLAG FOOTBALL COULD BE A REALITY BY 2015

  114. Also, question for people blaming Goodell. Where is the evidence that Goodell is the one that brought this rule to the competition committee? The competition committee and the owners are the ones that instigate rule changes and vote whether or not to implement them. All Goodell does is fine players that don’t follow the rules. He may be the one that brought certain rules to the forefront by having refs focus on them and instituting fines against players for breaking them. He, however was not the one that instituted the rules. He has no power to do that.

  115. This rule has no impact on the Packers, Lions and Saints since they don’t run the football. My team the 49ers on the other hand are screwed.

  116. OG Mike Brown was the only owner to oppose it.

    Keep it real Mike.


  117. How could this possibly be regulated. If a RB lowers his head and a defensive player engages full throttle, how can the RB prevent the collision?


  118. NFL settle the past cases.. put a clause in current contracts stating the KNOWN RISK that players are taking. If they don’t want to play and make millions of dollars come get a real job like the rest of us.. I’ve been a loyal fan my entire life but idk how much longer ill be if this continues

  119. This is a rediculous rule!
    Unenforceable. RBs lowering their heads is unavoidable. The RBs in the league already don’t last long now that they can’t get low and protect themselves each one will be gone within 5 years of their rookie year.
    Stupid NFL. It’s time to watch hockey full time now and football is just done.

  120. When a retired RB needs a premature knee replacement, I hope he sues Goodell into the ground.

  121. sad day for football. Because we are such a litigious country, everyone has to CYA, its not fun anymore

  122. At some point in the history of this rule it will cost the Vikings a very important game. They will lose when Peterson is attempting to get the last few yards into the endzone for the victory, he will score a TD but then it will be called back due to “lowering of the helmet”. Vikes lose!

  123. @fluffy19
    To those saying you can lead with your shoulder without lowering your helmet are fools.

    Right; you can’t lead with the shoulder without lowering your head. But you can initiate contact with the shoulder without hitting the person with the top of your helmet first. It’s called a proper, well-executed hit.

  124. Now we can say that Bernard Pollard is definetely out of a job.


    Interested to see how this news about ball carriers led you to believe a safety would be out of the NFL.

  125. Have we gone one offseason under Roger Goodell that he hasnt changed a rule or done something to turn Americas favorite sport into nothing mpre than figure skating without skates? When I was a teen we used to meet every Sunday morning and play tackle football with zero pads on. And none of us 15yrs later are suing the other for injuries. Nor did we argue when one guy ran over another, at whether ir was too dangerous. Someone needs to put Goidell in pads, hand him a ball, and let Patrick Willis play smear the queer with him. Im embarrassed to say I went to the same college as him. Hes ruining football

  126. slugdc says:Mar 20, 2013 1:17 PM

    To those saying you can lead with your shoulder without lowering your helmet are fools.

    Right; you can’t lead with the shoulder without lowering your head. But you can initiate contact with the shoulder without hitting the person with the top of your helmet first. It’s called a proper, well-executed hit.


    You’re missing the point. The rule as written may be innocuous, but in actual games any “proper, well-executed hit” that LOOKS like an infraction at the time is going to be flagged. We’ve seen it with roughing the passer penalties, we’ve seen it with defenseless receiver penalties, and we are GOING to see it with these new helmet penalties, guaranteed!

  127. Now who still thinks Goodell is not ruining the game? Let’s just change the name to the NFFL (National Flag Football League).

  128. As a vikings fan, this sucks… Peterson runs hard and this with negatively affect the outcome of vikings games! What a joke! I’m all for safety, but to tell a player he has to stay upright is wrong and in my mind potently dangerous.

  129. ITT: People who don’t understand the difference between “lowering your head” and “initiating contact with the crown of the helmet”.

  130. What amazes me more than anything, is that the fields of material design, protection technology, space exploration science, etc., shows that the knowledge and ability to design better equipment CLEARLY exists… Yet, the Billionaires that own the NFL cannot find the scientific designs to make the equipment modifications that would prevent these type of rule changes. This seems to defy normal patterns of technology. Humans are getting stronger and faster than the ability of technology to keep up? …But it does follow the same goofy pattern of fossil-fuel dependent technology versus non-fossil fuel technology. Why not pay a few NASA engineers to assist with designing better equipment!?!

  131. There will be another league created that looks like what the NFL used to look like and this time a new league could actually succeed.

  132. You can thank the players suing the NFL for this rule. Football is a sport, and the NFL is a company. You have to protect your assets if you’re an owner or shareholder. If you don’t like the rule don’t blame the NFL, blame the players. AND! to the first commentor, you’re not a real fan if this rule makes you “over the NFL”. There’s no way anyone or anything could tear me away from my football sundays.

  133. We may as well change it to the NFFL….. National Flag Football League! Ridiculous!

  134. Nothing more that Goodell and the owners trying to put on a show for court cases that are looming.

    Roger and his boys want to be able to point to this helmet rule and say…see we care about the health of our players.

    What CYA joke this is…

    Roger Goodell could mandate the ProCap today, if he really cared about the players suffering concussions….but Roger and the boys won’t even test the ProCap for reason’s they won’t explain.

    Sad day for NFL football…

  135. Cancelling my subscription to NFL Network today. Everyone who feels this rule to be a grave error should do the same.

  136. hittinhawks says:
    Mar 20, 2013 12:53 PM
    If we as fans stop attending games the League will have no choice but to bring back the brand of NFL football we all grew up with. This is my pledge I will not attend nor purchase anything else from the NFL until it renigs on it’s current anti football philosophy

    welcome to the group.. me and 6 of my family memebers used to make it a mission to go to a game every year and did so until 4 years ago when we realized it wasnt worth the price to see the watered-down version.. so we just watch it on tv at bars now..havnt bought one piece of nfl merch since then either..

    if an upstart lg comes up and players switch i will have no issue supporting a new league. or rugby if it pops up in america to be popular

  137. So how is a player going to fight for extra yards or reach for the goal line? Both of those require you to lead with your head doesn’t it? It’s also a natural reaction when being tackled. The first time this rule revokes a first down it’s going to cause all hell to break loose. This is a risky game and the players knowingly sign up for the risks in exchange for MILLIONS of Dollars. And the question remains… how many injuries have actually occurred by a ball carrier lowering his head in the NFL? I bet it’s pretty rare. Seems like this rule has been passed to prevent liability in the event of a lawsuit. BOOOO!!!

  138. You have completely destroyed the sport of Football. I can’t wait for the mass exodus of fan support and the eventual folding of the NFL. Nice going.

  139. fievel03 says: Mar 20, 2013 12:51 PM

    “Keep yer head up, kid!”
    “But coach, I’ll get my neck broken!!”
    “You’re worth more dead than sued.”

    Like they tell truck drivers, “if you hit a pedestrian, make sure you back up and kill him. It will be alot cheaper.”

  140. lgbarn says:
    Mar 20, 2013 12:51 PM
    I find it funny that people complain about this in the face of so many lawsuits. Last year Schiano told Doug Martin not to drop his head when running and his stats exploded. Wait until you see the final product before whining about it

    What I find funny is you wanting to watch the equivalent of the lingerie bowl but wiyh grown men. I take that back. Those ladies are probably allowed more contact now

  141. To the people who think we are overeacting I say: Look at the defenseless player rule. Now there is a penalty every time there is a big hit, even with no helmet to helmet contact(See Kam Chancellor destroy Vernon Davis with his shoulder(flag!). Now we can expect a flag every time a running back runs someone over. Pathetic. And not fun to watch.

  142. Might as well go right to ‘monster truck tire size’ inflatable helmets in the new bobble head NFL generation…for the good of the sport!

  143. another step in the wrong direction.
    Has Godell done anything to help the game??

    Ruined Kickoffs
    Helmet rule
    games in London
    Ruined the Pro bowl

    Enjoy the game whle you still can folks,
    NFL is becomming a league for sissys

  144. I’m not against player safety, I’m all for that. I’m just against the game being dictated by rules and not by the play of the football teams. Let them play! I can guarantee this will get called and eventually will cost a team a game. More rules means more stoppage of play, and more controversy about the outcome. Just another judgement call added. I just want football to be about the game. This is going to be impossible to officiate without controversy. Isn’t this why they took out the push-out rule? Because no one likes judgement calls! Ugh. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have a nasty feeling this is going to contribute towards ruining the game everyone on this site loves.

  145. BRING BACK THE XFL! No sissy rules, hot cheerleaders wearing very little, and names like “He Hate Me” on the back of jerseys. The old timers who played without helmets are turning in their graves. This is indicative of how our society has become so needy of feeling safe and being coddled. I played sports for 16yrs, and I knew the risks involved. But I wouldve never traded one of the 5 concussions I had for a play where I stuck a ball carriet, or ran over a defender. I have aches and pains daily. But hey, its the price yoy pay for the privelage to play a sport for a living. Its why you get paid millions.

  146. I guess the only stipulation in the rule that bares any hope is “in the open field”. Backs are going to be fumbling all over the place… You can’t protect the ball standing upright!!

  147. EA/Madden just screamed out in disbelief, the truck/hit-stick now was just removed. Might as well rule down when bumped.

    Waits for EA to sue as it ruined its franchise income.

  148. Why is everyone whining about this? According to what I’ve read, this is enforced in the open field only. This has no bearing within the box. They said this would have been called maybe 10 times last season. 10 times. If you’re a RB, drop your shoulder, not the top of your head when you’re slamming into someone in the open field. But using your helmet as a weapon and directing the crown directly into a defenders chin is dangerous for both players. Its hilarious how so many of you are calling for the end of the NFL. Is this the one thing you watched for? When RBs gut check DBs with the top of their helmets? You’re clueless.

  149. Actually, it is the players fault. They make the big bucks. They use there bodies like torpedoes. And then they sue the NFL for not giving them a safe place to play after their careers are over. Lets add this all up, BIG CONTRACT while they play. BIGGER PAYDAY after they sue the NFL. It all about the green pasture… always has been and always will be.

  150. NFL players are to blame. Yes I said it. The so-called “victims” are to blame.
    Why? Because they are suing the NFL en masse for injuries while playing a sport that everyone KNOWS that they will get injured at some point.
    The NFL owners are merely protecting themselves from current and future litigation on behalf of the players. I’d do the same thing. The players have brought down the game they purport to love.

  151. All about money. I will NEVER EVER dish out the money to see these pansies play in person now

  152. Time for the fans to take back the game and let the owners know that Goodell isn’t the Almighty…may be time for the fans to boycott ticket sales and the purchase of anything NFL. The only thing these guys understand is money and perhaps empty stadiums! The entire basis for this rule is NOT a concern for player safety but concern over litigation. The new rule will have it’s own dangers to players that for now the Owners may recognize but not litigation they are currently facing!

  153. lol, listen to all you whiny people. Your not going to change your NFL viewing habits! For all of you who say your gonna stop watching football, yeah right, man up and don’t back down, or quit bitching.
    And clssylssy, I hope all the season ticket holders out there boycott so folks who don’t have them can get those tickets and the people overreacting can finally have consequences for the mindless moaning you do.
    You can be certain if the game is significantly, negatively effected, the rule will be changed back.

  154. It’s funny how so many people complain about the new safety rules and regulations, LIKE YOU WON’T WATCH THE NFL NEXT SEASON!! Evolution is inevitable. Move on

  155. Someone explain to me how a player is expected to run someone over in the open field with their shoulder without lowering their head when your shoulders and head are connected to one another. Do these owners need to watch a few episodes of Sesame Street to learn that. Try lowering your shoulder and keep your head up at the same time and try running into someone or something. If you can do it without ending up at a chiropractor or orthopedist, let me know bc you my friend have the strongest neck in the history of man kind.

  156. If there was ever a time where a new league could come in and compete with the NFL, it’s right now.

    If somebody could start a league and go back to real football, the NFL would die, because even the players would leave.

    I’d even take WWE football over this.

  157. LOL. What a bunch of geniuses who post here. I got 2 negative reps for questioning the difference between the new rule and the old spearing rule. And when the issue was clarified, it turns out that the “new rule” is basically an extension of the old spearing rule. No wonder I often feel dumber after visiting this site.

    Carry on, Einsteins.

  158. WOW…I really thought this rule would not be passed.This is going to be worse then the Tuck rule was .When teams are at the goal line looks like they are going to pass every down,because every running back ducks his head down when trying to pound the football into the endzone,unless he just cake walks it in.

  159. And good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye,

    singing this will be the day that i die

    This will be the day that i die.

  160. Was a NFL fan for 40 years. Bought NFL Sunday Ticket for 17 years. Sat through 90 minutes of commercials in order to watch the Bears.

    Goodbye NFL, thanks Goodell for ruining one life’s biggest pleasures. Jeff Fisher, I’m ashamed you were ever on the Bears.

  161. RBs that can run really fast backwards in the open field just became a huge NFL commodity.

  162. What a JOKE ! ! ! – How about the NFL make a rule where if the defender doesnt have his arms out like Superman to make a tackle that’s a penalty. The NFL should go to a little loop football practice & see how they tackle, there’s no minature missles there.

  163. I really do not understand what everyone expects. I read a couple posts about the commissioner and the bounty scandal. In my opinion it is all driven by the same thing… The almighty dollar.

    How many lawsuits are being filed against the NFL right now? Last I read it was over 3000 players are suing for issues related to health. It was estimated to cost the NFL approx $2 billion.

    I think if they do not do everything they can do to show that they are trying to make the sport as safe as possible they are in major trouble.

  164. Good. Football is a tough game, but a game nonetheless. Games ought to be played with sportsmanship and under rules which help minimize serious, long-term damage to the players.

  165. I may still watch. Absolutely ZERO NFL: Jerseys, Shirts, Caps, Tail gate gear,Tickets, or giving NFL items as gifts, for me and my family! I will spend elsewhere!

  166. I started to watch streams more last year, now this year I’ll only watch streams if this rule turns out to be actually terrible. I’m not one to complain and still give up my money/assist to giving up money without a fight.

  167. To all you saying you’re done with the nfl, how are your mock drafts looking…yeah that’s what I thought. You will watch until they actually remove tackling from the game. It is a little closer with this new rule, but you’re not going anywhere and you know it

  168. can’t wait to see the first flag on a guy running outside the box and lowers his pads to cross the goal line, only to get flagged. oops.

  169. Now that I feel like I got punched in the gut & we are ‘officially going down the road’ of domesticating the game by officiating natural instinct out of it & taking away what makes football football.

    Those of you who are for this rule are only fooling yourselves as this is watering down the game of football & maybe that works for who you whipped civilized fellows & casual viewers but not I.

    Brace yourselves (without lowering your head of course) because the owners are butt fumbling the sanctity of the game to cover their wallets & turning their back on football with more of this assault to come for sure.

    NFL has just entered my ‘probationary period’ where from now until the first 4 games of this season I will monitor how this rule plays out in real time in the officials interpretation of it during football games. Fun stuff since they do such a great job already.

    You are officially on notice NFL that I will walk away from my love of football because it would have ceased being the game of football and I will stop watching games or having anything to do with the NFL if I don’t like what I see during this time. I’m sure I’m not alone!

  170. You guys who think the rest of us don’t understand the rule are the ones who just don’t get it! This is going to restrict players natural instincts & reactions plus officiate a key football run style & situational plays out of the game of football thereby changing the game of football. Many of our hall of fame running backs would not be so if this rule was in their time. Earl Cambell would not have been Earl Cambell. What a loss of what we will never know & see now. On top of all this to leave more play moments to subjective interpretation by the officials is just a travesty & the one thing alone that takes a lot of the fun out of watching & probably the biggest threat to fans exiting the game.

  171. This goes away very simply… have the ex-players drop the law suit … and curennt and future players waive any right to sue for any injury incurred while in employ of the NFL…

    For that the owners setup a pension fund for retired players who have any least 5 full season of service (funded 50-50 owners/players)… and have the players to defer 15% of their salary (before taxes) to a retiree medical insurance plan.

    For that keep the game as is!!! Why is this so hard?

  172. Problem is your head happens to be attached to the top of your body so when you lower your shoulder sometimes your head is going to make contact, especially when you are 5’6 or so. But no worries, I’m sure the NFL will never misinterpret the intent of a runner or blow their whistle too quickly. What a joke.

  173. This rule simply opens the gates for more arbitrary flags from officials. Not that they needed more opportunity but they’re getting it nonetheless.

    This may also have a heavy affect on goal line plays where the RB’s will generally go in low, for the power to drive into the endzone, helmet first, only to be flagged.

    This will be interesting, but I see flags flying everywhere on this one.

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