So far, flags for helmet rule haven’t been too frequent

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The topic took over the offseason, as players complained and coaches worried and officials panicked.

But after the first full night of preseason games, the NFL’s new lowering the helmet rule hasn’t been called as often as some feared.

According to Kevin Seifert of, through the first 13 preseason games played so far, a total of 18 penalties have been called under the new rule.

That average of 1.38 calls per game is less than half the rate of offensive holding calls last season (3.2 per game).

Of course, it’s early yet, and officials could call more as the preseason goes along, to emphasize the rule early in the year so everyone gets used to its enforcement and can modify their behavior.

Colts safety Shamarko Thomas was ejected last night for a helmet-to-helmet hit, but the “lowering the helmet” language was not used.

11 responses to “So far, flags for helmet rule haven’t been too frequent

  1. I saw it called on a RB a couple times already. This needs to stop. A RB lowering his head slightly as he engages in contact with a defender is part of the game.

    I rarely have seen injuries in the past on these RB plays being called penalties. I see the refs look at eachother and then throw the flag. It’s like they are thinking to themselves “Yeah maybe someone will view that as violent” I’ll throw a flag to be safe.

  2. What I’m seeing is the end of fumble jarring hits and the advancement of straight up and down karate chop moves. Also no longer able to stop a guys forward progress when ball carrier is at a 45 angle going forward as there is 0 target space to tackle.

  3. The Rams got called for it on back to back plays, the second one was totally ridiculous as the defender was trying to get out of the way of a potential big collision and his head clipped the side of the runner. Any fans wanting to watch an early game and then a later game this season better be prepared to be flipping back-and-forth on the ol remote because these games are going to run 15-30 mins later based on what I saw last night.

  4. Ejections. Bravo!

    Never want to see another hit like the two Davante Adams took last year. Trevathan and Davis should still be suspended, as far as I’m concerned.

  5. The Bears had one called when their punt returner #14 Ayers tackled a Bengals player on a fake punt. Ridiculous rule and it will make games even more unwatchable.

  6. Some complainers, but not nearly as many as before? Where is everyone. Oh, this rule is to eliminate the types of bits that may end someone’s career or life. Maybe it’s not so bad after all.

  7. Gotta say. Everyone who knows this rule has stated the calls wouldn’t be in vast numbers. I think preseason will have more than the regular season as they want to set an example of this new rule. The only misgiving I have of this rule is that if the NFL starts getting money for gambling and stuff, errant calls that might be controversial will start conspiracy theories.

  8. It might have taken over your offseason, but for the most part, the players and coaches showed little concern over it.

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