NFL seems to be adopting targeting rule without adopting targeting rule

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Before the 2018 annual meeting, Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported that the NFL would not be adopting a college-style targeting rule, allowing ejections for the use of the helmet as a weapon to be imposed by someone other than the on-field officials. That position appears to be on the verge of changing.

Maske reported on Monday that ejections by officials under the rule that prevents lowering of the helmet to initiate contact will be subject to replay review. The unanswered question (for now) is whether failures to eject will be correctable via replay review, allowing 345 Park Avenue to buzz the referee and to instruct the referee to remove a player from the field when deemed necessary.

Given the stated importance of the new helmet rule, why wouldn’t the NFL allow missed ejections that would have been subject to replay review to be imposed via replay review? Thus, a de facto targeting rule will become the next logical step as the very broad lowering-the-helmet rule adopted secretly last month by the NFL’s owners becomes shaped and contoured by an even less transparent process that trades debate for mandate, and that risks fundamentally altering pro football as we know it.

8 responses to “NFL seems to be adopting targeting rule without adopting targeting rule

  1. How many times are they going to make a rule that says they can eject a player for targeting the head before they actually start ejecting players for targeting the head?

  2. Take a deep breath NFL. Rethink a couple things, specifically the targeting rule. The game was fine the way it was. Quit folding to media pressure. Stay strong.

  3. There is a 1 inch space between the brain and skull. Being just slammed to the ground makes the brain move back and forth inside the skull. Hard enough and it will smack one side and then again the opposite side. This is a medical fact that they know about. The helmet does not prevent this from happening. Intentionally trying to injure a player in any way should be an ejection. A helmet hit would be in the intentional category and is already called I don’t get this at all. It’s a dangerous contact sport that they SIGN UP VOLUNTARILY TO PLAY FOR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS

  4. Wrote this on an earlier post still showing: “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    I think the rule is aimed at the “spearing” by the tackler … not the helmet to helmet (in the trenches) that we see on every play …

    College officials do a great job eliminating the spearing, helmet on helmet contact with tackling. They seem to call it if they think they see it and let the replay booth sort it out. Many times the flag is over-ruled when the play is viewed in slo-mo. It does take a little time, but they get the call right more times than not… and over time the ejections are becoming far fewer as the way players tackle is altered.

    It does seem that the NFL is resisting adopting a rule already in place at the “little-brother” college level. If the league truly wants to eliminate spearing, just adopt the rule and then review it as time (years) goes on.

    We all love the violence in the game, absolutely …. but probably agree we don’t want to see a player paralyzed for life … or a football career ended prematurely.


  5. Targeting is a good rule. Every time I see an egregious hit in an NFL game, the first thing I think of is Targeting. Then I wonder where the flag is, or why the whistle didn’t go because the play was under review. Then I remember it’s the NFL; these games are only after watching 4-5 NCAA games on Saturday.

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