Goodell: NFL is focused on not using the helmet as a weapon

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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.

41 responses to “Goodell: NFL is focused on not using the helmet as a weapon

  1. When Ryan Shazier speared Gio Bernard in the Steelers-Bengals 2016 playoff game, it was deemed legal because the referees ruled Bernard had become a runner. Two months later, the NFL changed the rule. Blandino explained: “So forceful contact, clear crown, regardless of whether there’s angles involved for the defensive player.”
    I’m for any new rules that eliminate spearing, but how does the new rule move the needle beyond what Blandino said in 2016?

  2. Another fiasco tell me in an open field tackle the player lowers his shoulders or on basically any tackle not below the thighs or knees, Whe tackling you always get down in a crouch position and the head goes with that. Ot how about a quarterback sneak/ the qb gets low and naturally the head goes with it. I see this rule as another nightmare for the refs to call. Just let them wear the old leather helmets back in the day

  3. If you made helmets and shoulder pads less like extra-hardened plates and more like padding (or at least stuck as much on the outside as there is on the inside), maybe players would be more wary of launching them into other players. And a minimum 1 game suspension along with any first fine.

  4. I mean…just shut it down if this is the direction we’re heading.

    XFL – Step on up. Make the players sign a waiver and let’s see some football. Trust me, for the money there will be plenty of players ready to sign and play.

  5. If true simply make the helmets from a durable foam. Problem solved, but with Roger, solving a problem has never been his modus operandi.

  6. If that’s how it’s actually enforced, that’s fine. But if that’s how they want it enforced, that’s how they should have written the rule. As it stands, it could mean far more than that.

  7. Considering they have left the Spearing Rule ignored for 30 years and helmets fly off because players can’t be bothered with wearing them tight to the point they cannot fall off unless yanked off, this seems a bit late.

    Spearing, or “initiating contact with the crown of the helmet” was a rule when I played HS ball in the 1980s. Because the NFL and it’s fans wanted bigger and bigger hits, plus tackling is a lost art for most NFL defensive players, it’s lead with the head or big shoulder.

    Arms wide, head up and see your target, wrap up, bring them down. That’s what used to be taught. HS doesn’t teach it, colleges ignore it, so by the time they get to the NFL, it’s too late and now coaches have to try to teach fundamentals to super star ex-college “studs” whose egos are too large to learn anything new.

    Running backs are no different. Lower your head and be a battering ram. How well has that worked out for guys like Earl Campbell in his old age?

    It’s a toothpaste back in the tube situation here because youth football is falling off a cliff and the pipeline is drying up. Too little, too late NFL.

  8. Players should be too. Look at Shazier. Use your fundamentals. No one was taught that way in high school or pop warner. Drop your butt, head to the side and wrap up. Shame on the PLAYERS for not doing it the right way.

    Wanna blow someone up .. Fine, but you might not walk

  9. I just think back on plays where players would use their helmet to target the ball to force a fumble. I suppose gone are those days.

  10. Jerry Glanville was right. NFL…..not for long…..

    We still won’t know what a catch is and now we have no clue how the helmet rule will be enforced or called.

    Get ready for a chaotic 2018 season.

  11. How about redesigning the helmet so that it is used as a protective device instead of marketing accessory? If you redesign the helmet to that the outer shell is not hard plastic but rather a more flexible material you will make it safer for both the hitter and the hitted. If you can properly dissipate the energy from the contact around the helmet you will make the impact less severe.

    Do a simple test, take a 10lb bowling ball and a 10lb medicine ball and drop them from the same height and see which one does more damage. I’ll give you a hint, it will the bowling ball. Why? Because of the hard outer shell verse a more rubbery shell the bowling ball will deliver more direct force at the point of impact while the medicine ball’s rubber exterior will flex at impact.

    This is just an example of a test easily conducted by anyone to illustrate the point. You can find objects with a greater variation in rigidity and flexibility, the helmet manufactures can do this too, the NFL just looses something they can brand easily.

  12. its impossible to stop your trajectory while your going in for a tackle even not leading with the helmet the shoulders are attached to the neck . its going to be bad. penalties galore on this rule

  13. I tied to go on youtube and watch Ray Lewis and the 2000 Ravens Great Defense. I was surprised when there was a warning advisory on the page saying “what you are about to watch is violent and unacceptable to many people”. The NFL is trying to evolve because the next generation is all about not contacting people, heck they prefer to text rather than even talk to someone. tackling and punishing a player on the other team for trying to take what’s yours is nonsense to the youth of today. Heck they don’t even care if the team wins as long as their qb and fantasy receiver from 3rd place teams put up some cool fantasy points.

    I get that they don’t want launching anymore but lowering your helmet as a penalty and possible ejection is a game changer and the league is truly going to a path to touch football. Not to mention unwatchable because of amount of stoppages and debate on each of these subjective rules. Lastly, Frank Gore needs to retire immediately, he’s a HOF caliber back who runs consistently with the crown of his helmet down.

  14. If they want to focus on using the helmet as a weapon, that should be the rule! Not lowering your head, for God’s sake. It’s a subjective thing, but can now be challenged, like other personal fouls.

  15. “Rodger Goodell is ruining the NFL!”

    When this is based on the owners’ vote, I don’t see how you can blame it on Roger. He’s trying to save the NFL, not kill it. Knowledge is “ruining” the NFL. Knowledge about concussions and CTE.

  16. I think this rule change is about litigation mitigation and nothing else. They are ruining this sport to save money, but what they will find is that they will lose money when fans stop watching. It is already trending this way for other reasons. This rule change will simply expedite the trend.

  17. A rule from men who most haven’t worn a football helmet or since past high school thinking they know the speed of the game an ones natural tendency to lower your head on a hit.

  18. We need a new tougher league to go up against the NFL right now, then our teams can go play in that league! Well one can dream anyway!

  19. Players get more, and more money, for less risk to play the game. The risk was the only thing justifying the money they make?

  20. OK fans, its time to get out to the games with your fire Goodell signs this year !!!!!!!

  21. “tiredofthestupid says:
    March 28, 2018 at 12:28 pm
    Considering they have left the Spearing Rule ignored for 30 years and helmets fly off because players can’t be bothered with wearing them tight to the point they cannot fall off unless yanked off, this seems a bit late.…”

    I can’t up-vote this enough. Actually, it’s been much longer than 30 years. This very thing is what pisses me off about “new” measures being taken against leading with the head: THE SPEARING RULE HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE!!! ENFORCE IT!

  22. The answer to this is simple, just soften the helmet. That way players will not use it as a weapon if only to protect themselves.

  23. “If you redesign the helmet to that the outer shell is not hard plastic but rather a more flexible material you will make it safer for both the hitter and the hitted.”

    Exactly. Like how bicycle helmets are designed. That is also basically how crumple zones work on modern automobiles keeping the energy from getting into the passenger compartment. But the current hard helmets are like 1950’s era cars–hard on the outside allowing all the energy to transfer to where the stuff you want to be kept safe is located.

  24. I fail to understand why so many people are upset about this…go back and look at the video of Shazier paralyzing himself or Danny Trevathan’s hit on Davante Adams. THAT is what they are trying to eliminate with this rule. Those hits aren’t accidental or part of the natural process of tackling or hitting someone hard. Those hits aren’t due to a split second change in direction of the runner. That is targetting, that is spearing and spearing isn’t tackling!

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