Sean Payton on helmet rule: “You’ll still see the physicality”

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After making a new rule this week with hopes of taking the head out of the game, the NFL has to now convince players (and media and fans) that they’re not changing the fundamental way the game is played.

While their keep-it-secret/make-a-splash strategy might have been the best way to push through some legislation in Orlando, they created a wave among players who think the game is being made soft because the league doesn’t want them to use their helmet as a weapon.

“I think we’ll see it have a great effect on one element of this helmet [issue] in how we want the game to be played,” Saints coach Sean Payton said, via Mark Maske of the Washington Post. “I think you’ll still see the physicality. This is the one posture [that’s affected] — we’ll remove it.”

The league has acknowledged that their biggest challenge now will be one of communication, hitting the road to see all 32 teams with the presentation that illustrates what’s legal and what isn’t. While many players have reacted strongly, those involved in the conversations said there weren’t an overwhelming number of hits last year which would have qualified for an ejection.

Between the increasing number of concussions and the devastating Ryan Shazier injury, they knew something had to change, hence the new penalty which banned lowering your head to initiate contact with another player.

“We’ve got to put the materials together. We’ve got to show the tape. We’ve got to make sure all of you see it, they see it, and it’s taught the same way at all 32 [teams],” said Rich McKay, the chairman of the competition committee. “If that happens, I think the players — they’re the best athletes in the world and they’ll conform. Hopefully this becomes a springboard, too: take it all the way down, at all levels [of football] because the head [blows] and the lowering of the head has become too commonplace. And it needs to get out of the game.”

Now they just have to convince the players.

16 responses to “Sean Payton on helmet rule: “You’ll still see the physicality”

  1. Good. More tackling the runner, instead going for a highlight hit and completely whiffing.

  2. This is what happens when players start suing the league. The same players complaining would be in a class action lawsuit 10 years from now.

  3. Same way we played tacle as kids (baby boomer, we always had 20 plus who were willing). You buried people with shoulder, waist high. Some rolled you, which they do now anyway (turn sideways and cut the thighs).

    Then, in organized tackle, we did head ons. We were offered money if we broke another’s helmet. I wish I had a dollar for everytime someone said “put a helmet on him’. I.E. lead with your head.

    For all you naysayers, this is how the game was originated and played for 50 or so years. The helmet was taught to be a weapon.

  4. Of course… if Vontaze Burfict plays like a man and DESTROYS some fancy lil’ guy with expensive customized cleats will cry and complain like a JVer.

    This OFFENSIVE Offensive favoring officiating is ruining the football.


  5. They definitely will need to teach this at all the lower levels. That’s like the NBA suddenly making a rule that all shooting has to be done with the left hand only. Even if you graze the basketball with your right hand, you could get penalized. Obviously you’d need 15 different camera angles to do it correctly, and there will be a lot of head scratching calls that determine the winners and losers, not the players. If someone wanted to fix games, this is an early Christmas present.

  6. I guess the NFL execs’ egos are too be to simply implement the college football targeting rule as-is and say it’s worked there pretty well and we don’t hear many fans complaining that it has taken the physicality out of the game. And, college players coming up to the NFL have already been conditioned to this style of play.

  7. I can see this rule costing a team a playoff birth or a playoff game bc an official calls it on the last play of a game. It’s going to be one of those subjective penalties. When did the player put his head down? How long did he keep it down before contact was initiated? Did the ref see the defender put his helmet down? On and on and on…!

    Is this what the NFL wants the game to be???

  8. Coaches will say it’s a great rule and everything is still great because the owners tell them to say this crap.

  9. This is the Sean Payton rule since this scenario led to the Minnesota Miracle. He’s waving his pom poms in favor of this rule!

  10. Exactly right! All this hand wringing from fans is based on ignorance. Football will still have hits. Just proper hits that should reduce CTE and spinal injuries.

  11. Payton is the last person that should be weighing in on what is and isn’t a legal hit ***
    Haha you actually believe Goodell… Let me guess, only when it comes to bountygate

  12. The video with the Bears and Packers is clearly not a penalty. The Bears player is doing exactly what you should do when you tackle. The Packers running backs facemask hits the Bears defenders shoulder pads not his helmet.

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