Crown-of-helmet rule creates mixed bag of calls


After 82 games with no issues regarding the new rule preventing forcible contact against an opponent with the crown of the helmet, the new standard came up three times on Sunday.

In the game between Washington and Green Bay, Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather was involved in a pair of hits potentially implicating the rule.  Per a league source, the first one — on Packers running back Eddie Lacy — probably should have drawn a flag.  The only open question is whether Meriweather lined Lacy up for a hit with the top of the helmet.

The league office will review the coaching film, and a fine could be issued.  Also, the officials who failed to throw a flag could end up being downgraded.

As to the second hit involving Meriweather — on Packers running back James Starks — the officials made an appropriate non-call.  Per the source, Meriweather did not make contact with the top of his helmet.  Instead, Meriweather hit Starks in the helmet with the side of Meriweather’s helmet.

The fact that Meriweather left the game with an apparent concussion demonstrates why the league passed the rule.  It’s aimed as much at protecting players from themselves as it is at protecting players from other players.  Still, Meriweather in this specific case didn’t violate the new rule.

Finally, a hit by Titans running back Jackie Battler on Texans safety Danieal Manning had all the elements of a violation.  Per the source, however, the impact didn’t clearly happen outside the tackle box.  At four yards down the field, that’s not far enough removed from the line of scrimmage to allow the flag to be thrown.

So, to summarize, one flag should probably have been thrown for violating the rule, but it wasn’t.  If Meriweather is fined this week, it’ll mean that officials missed the call.

28 responses to “Crown-of-helmet rule creates mixed bag of calls

  1. Just as a reminder:

    Season Record for the Redskins : 14-2
    RGIII : 43 TDs Passing – 7 INTs – 8 Rushing TDs
    Morris : 1756 yds, 10 TDs
    Garcon : 105 receptions, 15 TDs, 1345 yds recieving
    Kerrigan : 16 sacks, 7 FFs, 2 INTs
    Redskins 4th Superbowl.


  2. Furthermore, just days ago Logicalvoicesays was predicted a Burgundy and gold beatdown.

    Ok, he was half right, it was a real bad beatdown, too bad it was his Redskins on the hurting end.

  3. Add Bernard Pollard, a repeat offender to this week’s list…”I talked to him and he said he was all right,” tight end Owen Daniels said of Johnson. “He wanted to go back in, but protocol is that you can’t at that point. I have never seen a more blatant blow to the head. A big miss by the officials, especially for a guy like Andre. I know you have to protect every player, but especially someone like him.”

  4. This isn’t football anymore, it’s like when the WWF started calling itself Sports Entertainment. That would be a good term for the current NFL — I think the refs in the WWF/WWE are even better than these union hacks in the NFL.

  5. Meriweather’s hit on Lacy violated a rule that’s been around for awhile. If you watch the hit, he launches himself into Lacy’s head. That would’ve (and should’ve) drawn a flag with the new rule or not.

  6. The whole NFC East is bad, which is good cause they can start collecting high draft picks like the falcons, saints, 49ers, browns, bengals, seahawks etc did. Hopefully they do it better than the browns. I guess though the Skins have stank for two decades also so they should be good.

  7. You know you’re spending a lot of time here when you see a headline about the “crown of helmet” rule and immediately think “PFT’s made a rule for that guy who comments on Steelers threads?”

  8. I like the rules. I don’t think the refs are doing a good job enforcing them.

    Its so obvious when these guys jump, tuck their chin to lower their head, then brace for impact, that they are trying to make a big hit for the camera.

    You don’t see good defenders doing that because they know how to tackle, play the ball or be in the right spot to begin with.

    For those saying “this isn’t football”, your kidding yourselves. This is football now. Get on board.

  9. For some reason the league office does not see what the fans and surly the players see. If you are going to have the rule then call it each time or throw the thing away. I know you can’t say this as a team but the officiating for some of these rules is just atrocious and nothing is consistent. As a defensive player you have to just be shaking your head. I’m finding myself, I lose interest in games real quick because of the calls on the field and I watch a lot of games on Sunday not just one team.

  10. The NFL blows my mind sometimes. I just learned while watching the Niners/Seahawks game that you are allowed to clip the nose tackle if your a parallel lineman. Seriously?

    Ian Williams the 49ers starting nose tackle had do be helped off the field after taking the crown of a Seahawks helmet directly to the knee. It was on purpose and 100% legal. With all the rules to “protect” players how is this acceptable?

    I agree with the helmet rule, I don’t want anyone to shorten their life span no matter how much enjoyment we all get from it. But I don’t agree with double standards which the league is well known for.

    Since your average fan has no idea what a NT’s job is they get no love. But as im sure many of you know they are extremely important to a 3-4 defense. True clog the gap type NT’s are one of the rarest types of players as I could only name a couple really good ones (I can name a good amount of crappy ones though). How can the NFL just ignore the safety of one of the rarest type of players?

  11. “We now need sources to tell us something that the whole world saw on TV??”

    I know I wasn’t watching I freakin hate the Jets, or any other garbage team that the Media trys to jam down my throat. Which just happens to be every east coast team.

  12. Hopefully Lacy returns soon from Meriwether’s first dirty helmet-to-helmet, and hopefully the NFL suspends Meriwether for his second dirty helmet-to-helmet hit of the half. Actually, cancel that, I hope the NFL doesn’t suspend Meriwhether for his second dirty helmet-to-helmet, only cuz I hope that POS is too messed up in the brain to ever play football again.

    Karma’s a B*tch!!

  13. Merriweather deserves a big fine – He kinda got what he deserved when he launched himself at Starks and tried to do the same thing to Starks that he did to Lacey. I dont know if he is coached that way – but he wont be around long if that is the only way that he can tackle. I dont know how the officials missed the hit on Lacey.

    Finally when is the NFL going to replace these idiotic replay officials with a central control center in New York – like the NHL has. That was not a touchdown when the guy juggled the ball going out of the end zone. IF you want to get the calls correctly – have a central review. With today’s technology – there should be no reason to have central review – for cripes sakes the broadcasters do a better job than the officals.

  14. Anyone flagged for a crown of helmet spear should have their helmet taken away and put back in the game. Then they can’t use it for that!

  15. Anybody else noticing that with all these new rules and all, these games are looking more and more like a pro bowl with limited contact?? Players don’t know where to hit anymore, and don’t want to cost their team. Great job Goodell………….the sound you hear is the empire crashing and burning. Once the fans don’t pack the stadiums anymore maybe he will get the message.

  16. Meriweather is a well known kamikaze, but it’s sad. I really think the guy has great instincts, but he just can’t stop making the kinds of hits they won’t let you make anymore.

  17. And to think that boxing is a sport where the objective is to give the other guy a concussion.

    I wonder if boxers know that boxing can cause major head trauma and problems later in life?

    You think they’ll file a lawsuit? Should they? Perhaps they’ll ban the sport.

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