The NFL has adopted a couple of new helmet rules for 2018, and their practical impact remains to be unknown. For some players, their existence also is unknown.
“I’m going to be honest, man. I don’t even know them,” Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said Friday, via JoeBucsFan.com. “I want to play football. I’m a D-lineman. It’s a physical game. I’m going to play hard. I’m not going to be dirty. I’ve never been dirty. I just play football.
“I don’t want to say I don’t care about the rules because rules are rules. Without rules we don’t have order. So I’m not going to say that. But what I am going to say is I’m going to play football hard, physical and fair. It’s just who I’m going to be and, you know, I’m going to try my best to play to within the rules. I’m want to play football. I love the game, so I’m going to just go. I’m not going to slow down because of the rule changes.”
Plenty of other players surely feel the same way, opting for a wait-and-see approach before dramatically changing the way they play. But if, however, the rule that prohibits lowering the helmet and initiating contact and the rule that prohibits ramming, butting, or spearing with any part of the helmet except when incidental to conventional blocking and tackling is applied literally, plenty of flags and fines will be flying. Which will spark dramatic changes to the way the game is played.