Officials called fewer helmet penalties last week

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Two significant developments related to the NFL’s new helmet rule took place last week: First, the league announced that “inadvertent” hits wouldn’t be penalized. And then, the officials called fewer penalties.

In the 14 games that took place over the three days following the league’s announcement that “inadvertent” hits wouldn’t be penalized, there were only nine penalties called under the new “lowering the helmet” rule. That’s 0.6 penalties per game. In the previous 33 preseason games, there had been 51 helmet penalties. That’s 1.5 per game.

A sample size of 14 games isn’t enough to draw any major conclusions, but the officials may be getting the message from the league office that on close calls, they should keep their flags in their pockets.

The league’s decision to tell officials not to call “inadvertent” hits may alter this new helmet rule enough to make it a rather minor rule change, rather than the major change it appeared to be.

12 responses to “Officials called fewer helmet penalties last week

  1. The call will be in the refs back pocket for those moments the patriots need help. They changed the catch rule so they need some other bs call to assist.

  2. Does this mean defenders are tackling by the rules standard or the refs are choosing who want to penalize?

  3. Just what the refs need in this day of legalized gambling: another non-reviewable, discretionary call (like holding and pass interference) in the ref’s arsenal to help guide the direction and outcome of the games.

  4. The NFL player has adjusted. If rugby players can keep their unprotected head out of a tackle then so can pro players. They’ve adjusted and they will, give them time!

  5. Still killed the Bears/Chiefs game… Its like loving WWF only to find out its fake… the game will never be the same.

  6. By watching Dallas and Cardinal, the officials have a lot to be concerned with. The call and non calls were un real.. Even called on kick off one player was two feet behind line and di not run before kicked and a wasted flag came out. Hits to helmet, low hit on QB not called. Going to be a long year watching the tube and shaking head on what is called or not. To much for the crews to handle when to call and not call.

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