Report: No major changes expected to helmet rule

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No matter how wrong the NFL ever may be, the NFL rarely if ever will admit it.

And, thus, to no surprise, the NFL reportedly won’t be making any major changes to the much-criticized rule against lowering the helmet and initiating contact with an opponent.

According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, NFL “rulemakers do not expect to significantly change the language of the rule, nor do they plan to expand the use of instant replay to include all penalties assessed under the rule” when the rule is discussed during a Wednesday conference call.

As one unnamed source familiar with the thinking of “league leaders” told Maske, “No language will be changed.”

Given the manner in which the rule was adopted, via the secret addition of the proposal to the previously-published list of Competition Committee suggestions and the characterization of the proposal to owners and coaches as a simple extension of the rule prohibiting lining up and ramming of an opponent with the top of the helmet, the forces that decided to push this provision through surely knew there would be pushback — and they surely knew it would be easier to deal with it after at least 24 votes had been harvested to make the permanent change to the rules. If the league office and/or Management Council had been frank and candid about the impact and breadth of the rule before presenting it to the membership in March, it may have been hard to avoid at least nine “no” votes. Now, it will take at least 24 votes to change the rule in any meaningful way.

Given that the regular season starts in 16 days, it becomes very easy for the league office and Management Council to hide behind rules, regulations, and bylaws regarding quorums and voting in order to avoid the opportunity for owners to make real changes to the rule before the games that count begin and the rule locks in through at least the full 2018 season.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be an effort to refine the rule when the conference call convenes on Wednesday. As written, the 21 words sweep much more broadly than most coaches thought it would, with no specificity regarding the portion of the helmet that can’t contact an opponent, no requirement of forcible helmet contact, no exception for incidental helmet contact, and no allowance for replay review to fix the mistakes made as hits happen or don’t happen in real time.

But if the people who run the league decide to dig in and hunker down, there simply won’t be a way to bring the matter to the kind of vote that could make the kind of changes that need to be made to keep the rule from being something different than what owners and coaches thought it was going to be, even if the rule is exactly what the league office and Management Council wanted it to be from the moment the 21 words were first written.

The best/only practical hope at this point will be the reaching of an informal consensus as to how the rule will be interpreted and applied, the plain language notwithstanding. Also, some believe that senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron may receive wink/nod approval to guide the referees regarding proper application of the rule which officials are caucusing on the field as to whether a foul will be called.

While that’s better than nothing, the best thing would be to adopt a fix that makes the rule much more clear than it currently is.

46 responses to “Report: No major changes expected to helmet rule

  1. Of course not, Bobby Kraft paid way too much for this rule. Goodell wouldn’t dare upset his buddy Bobby.

  2. This is a ploy to get the players to compromise against anthem protest! I’m not watching this crap. Patiently waiting on the XFL, baby

  3. Hey that’s ok. BB has taught his guys to avoid human physics anyway. NVM that actual tackling has been the same forever. And that a physiologist will tell you that is how people react to potential traumatic stress. But Bill has figured it out.

  4. It’s clearly a lawyer involved rule, that’s why it’s not going anywhere. The owners see the concussion related stuff happening and once you mentioned it the other day what happened with Ryan Shazier helps a lot too. They’d far rather have a bunch of NFL fans cry about how “it’s not football” than everyone cry, “this guy will never walk again, why didn’t the NFL make it illegal to do said activity that nearly paralyzed him”.

    And frankly, I think we’d all rather cry about the rules rather than someone’s life being ruined.

  5. Why is this no surprise?

    “Hey Roger, if the NFL were an airliner, we’d be nose down flying towards the ground at 600 mph”

    Goodell: “Does the plane have afterburners, can we crash it faster?”

  6. “Of course not, Bobby Kraft paid way too much for this rule. Goodell wouldn’t dare upset his buddy Bobby.”

    You live in a delusional fantasyland.

    The Pats always have one of the top 3 or 4 offenses. Why in the world would Kraft want to make it easier for the lousy offenses to score and have a better chance of keeping up with the Pats?

    Answer: WAAAAA WAAAA mean ol’ Pats, I hate them and ignore all logic and thought in my posts about them

  7. So Carroll adapted and made the Seahawks into what he calls a “shoulder leverage tackling team.” In 2014, he released a video sharing the teaching points of the Hawk Tackle: eyes through the thighs, wrap and squeeze, and then “drive for 5,” meaning carry the ball carrier back five yards if necessary while engaged.

  8. They wont change it because the need it to control the game. Its not a coincidence that the same offseason that they fixed a vague catch rule is also the same offseason they added in a vague helmet rule.

  9. I guess eventually there will be a tipping point where these owners realize what Goodell and his stooges have done to the League, but I think by then it will be too late.

  10. I don’t care.

    Unplugged NFL Ticket for this season.

    Catch my RAIDERS when I can.

    5 yr old + little girl on the way = I’ll be working too much to give a #%^*


    Be well, everybody.

  11. This rule is going to make for a horrible season because after EVERY game all they will talk about is how terrible it is or how it changed the outcome of the game or how no one understands it or….. well, more horrible stuff…

  12. JustBlameTrumpOrRussia says:
    August 21, 2018 at 8:22 pm
    Of course not, Bobby Kraft paid way too much for this rule. Goodell wouldn’t dare upset his buddy Bobby.

    Why the heck would Kraft ever want such a rule much less pay for it? The Patriots were not having any problems getting by defenses before so they would be better off without it. I think he used that money to rent space in your head if thats all you can think about.

  13. This is going to be one annoying season as far as this rule goes cause we all know once the outrage begins say in week 4,or 5, they won’t change rule or tweak it til next off season. Its the catch rule circumstance again. Every season there’s something NFL is hard headed about one of their rules. And this will affect games. Its difficult to blame refs for a rule that is basically a 50/50 chance call will be wrong. The speed of the game is too much to put this on the refs.
    Us fans will be upset at refs call but its ultimately the NFL’s fault.

  14. The complaints about the new helmet rule are basically the equivalent of lowering a speed limit after X number of decades and hearing drivers whine about why they’re being pulled over now.
    Driver: “It was always 45 mph!”
    Police: “Well, now it’s 35 and here’s your ticket.”
    You adjust – simple and to the point. The people who adjust will be successful going forward… the people who don’t adjust will find themselves out of some money.

  15. I haven’t watched a game in 2 years. Fantasy is all I look at. Flags and politics even before Trump ruined watching games for me. It has only got worse.

  16. I never thought I would ever consider not watching NFL football…but this is going to kill it for me.

    Enjoy the second year of ratings slide. I’m out.

  17. players should protest. there, Florio your next story. “the possibility of a player or nflpa lead strike”

  18. I hope Mike Zimmer was right about people losing their jobs.

    They need to fire all of the executives who have been fighting to change the game we love.

  19. mullman76 says:
    August 21, 2018 at 10:07 pm
    Get your asterisks ready.

    This season is gonna suck


    Here is a newsflash: you team’s season was going to suck no matter what

  20. Told ya. Goodell is a cheater. Period.

    This will be as excessive as Def PI calls that started accelerating in 2006 when Goodell took over.

    Just watch. He will use this as a weapon to try to manipulate the outcome of games.

  21. The kicker to this whole fiasco will be when the NFL loses a big lawsuit thanks to the plaintiffs having concrete numbers on how many (supposedly) illegal head shots are happening based on the number of flags thrown. Literally, all the NFL cares about with this rule is covering themselves in court but they’re actually providing still more evidence to the people who will sue them.

  22. YEa go watch the XFL because of a new rule that you don’t like. When that sub-par talent league fails again, the NFL will still be around.

  23. The most complex, muddy rule ever. This guy lower down to brace, this guy went shoulder, this guy moved his head into the path of this guy’s shoulder but then the guy tripped and his head hit the head. All in 0.2 seconds.

    Penalty, automatic first down, game changer.

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