Whatever the NFL ultimately does with the substance of the new rule against lowering the helmet and initiating contact, there’s an important style point the league will need to consider. The league will need to embrace a high degree of transparency.
The first hint of such transparency came last Friday, when NFL senior V.P. of Al Riveron posted a lengthy video addressing the various violations of the rule from Week One of the preseason, including the fouls that were called erroneously. Riveron also spent a full 30 minutes with the #PFTPM podcast, answering all questions about the rule.
Moving forward, that will be a critical aspect of helping reluctant and concerned players, coaches, fans, and media come to terms with this significant change to the way the game is played. Every Friday, Riveron should produce another video that looks at: (1) every instance of the foul being called correctly; (2) every instance of the foul being called incorrectly; and (3) every instance involving a violation that wasn’t called.
It won’t be easy to embrace that kind of openness, especially since it will entail a willingness to wallow in mistakes. But at a time when people simply don’t understand what the rule is, and isn’t, this approach will assist with the education process of all concerned — including the officials who will be enforcing the rule each and every week.