Yesterday’s surprise rule change was all about reminding NFL players that helmets are meant to protect their heads — not to be used as tools to strike an opposing player.
That’s the word from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who explained the rules change today, a day after it passed unanimously but led to confusion among fans and members of the media who were blindsided by the rule seemingly coming out of nowhere..
“Our focus is how to take the head out of the game and make sure we’re using the helmet as protection, and it’s not being used as a weapon, and that’s the core of what we’re focused on, and I think we made a tremendous amount of progress on that this week,” Goodell said. “There’s still a great deal of communication and education that still needs to take place. We’ll be doing that over the next 90 days including going to each club, having players, coaches, medical staff, all hands on deck at each club to go through the changes.”
That communication and education will be key: At the moment, no one knows what to make of this new rule. The league needs to be sure that players, coaches and officials all understand it — and that fans can accept it as a reasonable change, and not the end of football as we know it.