NFL didn’t tell NFLPA much about new helmet rule

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If you were surprised by the news that the NFL had broadly banned the lowering of the helmet to initiate contact, you’re not alone. The NFL Players Association didn’t know it was coming, either.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL’s Competition Committee told representatives from the NFLPA during meetings held in connection with the Scouting Combine only that the league ultimately wants to eject players for certain “egregious” hits. The committee displayed at the time a reel of roughly six or seven plays.

As the source explained it, the NFLPA representatives understood the concern regarding some of the hits shown by the selected plays. As to a few plays, they didn’t.

The Competition Committee members also mentioned concerns about a runner dropping his head, but they never said there would be a general prohibition on every hit that is initiated with a helmet.

And so it’s becoming even more clear that the league decided to keep everyone in the dark about this until an opportunity arose to push the measure through, limiting the opportunity for a fair and transparent public debate over the wisdom of such a rule — and regarding its potential impact on the manner in which professional football is played.

40 responses to “NFL didn’t tell NFLPA much about new helmet rule

  1. They haven’t told us much either. Don’t use helmet as weapon. So far, that’s the extent of it. Now in May, at meeting, if they still haven’t said much, gotten input, then it’s a story.

  2. So when an offense calls a quarterback sneak, is he no longer allowed to put his head down and drive forward? What about a running back on the goal line? Do they not generally put their head down and plow forward? What about when a ball carrier braces for contact? Is he supposed to just stiffen like a board and hold his chin up?

    What is this? Honestly?

    The NFL fixes one rule and clears up one area of major controversy, then decides to completely ruin another rule and create a whole new never ending rule controversy moving forward? Unbelievable.

  3. Seems to me this was done on purpose.

    The Players will come back and say they don’t want it which isn’t good for future lawsuits from the players about safety/concussion issues.

    Shows the owners are trying to make the game safer but the players themselves are the ones preventing them.

  4. I think the NBA and NHL are going to be having a whole lot of new fans moving over to watch something that still resembles a sporting contest.

  5. QB head down sneaks need to be banned next

    That’s what i was saying too dude. I can just imagine a QB taking the snap on 4th & 1, sticking his chin up in the air and jumping into the line of scrimmage like an upright 2×4 piece of lumber.

    I understand safety, it is what is. SOME things needed to change. But at some point, the game is what it is. Nobody forces anyone to play it, nobody forces anyone to watch it. Seems like they’re pandering to the people who don’t want to play and don’t care to watch. Alienating their ACTUAL fan base in the process to draw in a bunch of fickle casual part time viewers who barely care one way or the other.

    Makes no sense. Unless like Buffalotom said, it’s blatantly trolling the NFLPA over the safety / concussion issue so they can turn around years later and use it for legal posturing against them. Either way, it’s a farce.

  6. If players want to protest the new rule. They should put their heads down for offsetting penalties for about 5-10 minutes. That would get the leagues attention that they don’t like the rule.

  7. When the NFL understands the rule they made, and can explain it, they will reach out the PA. Right now it is too confusing for conversation – they only know it will involve replay officials in NY and that average game times should approach 4 hours.

  8. Rugolin: when you switch over to the NBA, make sure you get your free alarm clock, so you can wake up every 10 minutes. Talk about boring!!!

  9. Surprise! Surprise ! The NFL “withholding” information, you don’t say ? Remember, when the NFL didn’t tell players about the impact of concussions ? Guess, we shouldn’t be surprised by the NFL’s actions.

  10. Heaven forbid the league and the owners consult, you know, football players before legislating a move used in practically every snap of every game.

  11. My guess is that an RB on short yardage won’t be called, but when in the open field if he leads with his head 15 yards…is the 15 going to be form the spot of the foul or the line of scrimmage.

    Then again, opening game of 2016 Denver tee’d Cam up 3 times all 3 the defender left the ground and led with his head hitting cam in the side of the head and the refs ignored.

    One more rule that will be impossible to enforce consistently.

    I don’t think I’ll reactivate Direct TV and get the package.

  12. How do you take down an upright QB without lowering your head? How do you get lower than the guy you are hitting (basic fundamental football) without lowering your head?

  13. These rule changes are purely to protect the shield, the money, and nothing else. They throw us a bone on the catch rule only to screw everything up again on the “leading with the helmet” debacle. How many replays will we have to watch of a guy raising his helmet (or not) during a tackle? The worst part is that things will never get better going forward, with this league, as we know it. Fire Roger and some flunkie will take his place and continue the bidding of the owners as a money protector. “Pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered.” The NFL is beyond the point of no return…

  14. Im fine with the rule change.

    I could totally enjoy football just as much if they change the way they tackle was with your hands.

  15. No kickoff. Eliminate the helmet all together. Lineman only allowed hand to hand fighting at the line. Tackling a by gone term and call it a pull down.

  16. Robot football is the answer. All out cheap shot hits would be no problem and really really entertaining.

  17. Apparently the idiot commissioner and the owners don’t have a clue what the fans want, the harder the hits the better! The way football was meant to be played.

  18. How the hell are you supposed to make a tackle with shoulder pads without lowering your head. How is a ball carrier supposed to protect himself without lowering his head

  19. “We reserve the right to penalize and/or eject any player on any play, thereby retaining the ability to control the outcome of every game.

    We also reserve the right to change these calls remotely as the on-field officials may not fully appreciate the marketing nuances of future matchups. And, also, this is all about safety.”

    Is that what you meant?

  20. Peoples Republic of PFT says:
    March 28, 2018 at 5:44 pm
    My guess is that an RB on short yardage won’t be called, but when in the open field if he leads with his head 15 yards…is the 15 going to be form the spot of the foul or the line of scrimmage.

    Then again, opening game of 2016 Denver tee’d Cam up 3 times all 3 the defender left the ground and led with his head hitting cam in the side of the head and the refs ignored.

    One more rule that will be impossible to enforce consistently.


    Exactly. Unless the NFL can make rules that are objective and not open to interpretation then they should leave it alone. Quit changing the F-ing game.

  21. NFLPA doesn’t own anything and doesn’t need to be contacted on rule changes till after the fact. The NFLPA can piss off.

  22. I remember a few years ago when they said they changed the rule and said they were going to call running backs for leading with their helmet just like defensive players, and the world went nuts, everyone said it would ruin the game, make it impossible for a running back to play the game, AP ranted and raged about it, etc.
    Don’t think the infraction has ever been called.
    Games went on.
    Bets were still won and lost.
    Nothing changed, not even a little.
    My bet is this will be exactly the same.

  23. The QB sneak argument is BS. The QB is not initiating contact with his head, he is following a blocker. NFL quarterbacks don’t bull themselves into the endzone with their heads like a running back. Get real people. This is the best rule the NFL has put in in the last 50 years. Keep your head up when you are tackling. They have been preaching it for years. Finally the headhunting will stop.

  24. Improving the processes at the lower levels of football will have the greatest impact (no pun intended), because players will get to the NFL in a “less damaged” condition.

    Enforcing the protocol for when a player has a concussion/suspected concussion will have the next greatest impact – letting players play before a concussion has healed causes a significant amount of the long-term damage. Doing this will properly will require stars missing games at times, and at some point forcing players to retire due to concussion history. Possibly not letting some players ever play, due to concussion history prior to the NFL. So far teams and players are hesitant with this area.

    Then comes enforcing the rules – it’s pretty clear (after the fact) which hits were inappropriate. Lengthier suspensions for those will force coaching staffs to care about this.

    Then come equipment improvements. (This would include field conditions.)

  25. The comment is right on target. The sad fact is that the Players Association
    has no say and certainly no juice. If the players dare to complain
    the fans react negatively calling the players “ spoiled “,
    “ prima donna’s “ etc.
    The fans don’t realize how the owners marginalize the players
    and their union.
    Can any employee imagine if their company intialted fundamental
    workplace changes without any employee input. I would imagine
    most employees would be angry and upset. Yet these are the same
    people who tell the players to shut up.
    If you were a person who rose to the highest level of their own
    profession ..only to be told that the companies who use your talents
    have banded together and will decide where you work and for how much they pay
    in the first four years of a limited 10 year career. Then after the four years
    they can still limit your salary and where you perform your work.
    Perhaps you still make a great living but it’s not all what fans think it is..

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