Four penalties for lowering the helmet through four weeks

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The NFL’s major offseason rule change banning lowering the helmet to initiate contact has turned into much ado about nothing.

Through four weeks, there have been only four penalties called under the new rule, the NFL confirmed to PFT.

That’s a huge departure from the way the officials were enforcing the rule during the first two weeks of the preseason: Over the first two weeks of the preseason, officials called the new penalty at a rate of about 1.5 flags per game. Now they’re calling less than 0.1 per game.

At first, the NFL said the lowering the helmet rule was a major rule change that was going to significantly affect the way players played. But after Week Two of the preseason, the league “clarified” the rule, and the calls declined. The league clearly impressed upon the officials only to call the most flagrant of penalties, and that meant this new rule became no big deal.

Players are still violating the letter of the rule — Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt offered a textbook example of what is supposed to be a penalty on Monday night — but the officials aren’t calling it. And so the biggest story of the offseason has become nothing but a footnote in the regular season.

17 responses to “Four penalties for lowering the helmet through four weeks

  1. Instead we have flags flying all over the place for breathing on the quarterback. Great improvement .

  2. Then why so you have the rule at all? I see a dozen plays every game where I’m like “he lowered his helmet,” and half of them are on the offense. Its kind of like jaywalking. It’s not actually a crime unless they are just looking for a reason to mess with you.

  3. So an extra rule in the game that is just up to the officials to call when they feel like it.

    Rules designed to tip the scales in the opposite direction of small market teams like the Jags.

  4. “” As soon as someone is laid out like Shazier, then they’ll start enforcing it. So far, no harm no foul in their eyes.””

    Shazier’s injury was a text book case of how not to tackle. All he had to do was wrap him up he elected not to and Tomlin & company allowed it to happen time and time again. Its too bad.

  5. No penalty for Hunt using the crown of his helmet. But that’s not the QB and the NFL only cares about their money maker safety… the QB.

  6. That’s because they’re calling some as “unnecessary roughness” penalties.
    In the opening Bengals Colts game there were several and the announcers even referred to new lowering helmet rules while talking about the unnecessary roughness penalty.

  7. cheapseater says: “Rules designed to tip the scales in the opposite direction of small market teams like the Jags.”

    Um, what?!? Jags are 3-1. Seriously, put some effort into trolling and at least pick a small market team that’s losing.

    And care to explain how every “small market” team voted IN FAVOR of the rule change?? How about sharing some penalties data that you supposedly have that professional football executives don’t know about??

  8. Funny thing is…the whole off season and pre season as they hyped up this whole thing. I kept saying to they will mostly be looking for targeting with helmet type of penalties… pretty much after the big ones they missed last year. Since several of the players were repeat offender’s

  9. sure, “much ado about nothing” until it isn’t, of course. This is one of those rules that might just rear its ugly head in an important and prominent game later in the year. Thus adding to the fear that the league is controlling some games to some extent or a Ref with an axe to grind. They should immediately revoke the rule until such time as they can come up with a workable rule.

  10. murph2432 says:
    October 3, 2018 at 8:27 am
    No penalty for Hunt using the crown of his helmet. But that’s not the QB and the NFL only cares about their money maker safety… the QB.
    Easily the most egregious example I’ve seen this year. Not surprised there’s been no comment from the NFL on it. The MNF announcers didn’t even mention it, but they’re so bad, I wasn’t expecting them to.

  11. call the obvious offenses, swallow your whistle on the ticky-tac stuff. its not a fun experience when you cringe after seeing a big hit (not from the hit itself) but from over anxious refs ruining the game. it’s a gladiator sport. the spectacle is in the physicality. it’s football. it’s not for the weak.

  12. & make no mistake about it..after the uproar over the clay matthews (& others) roughing penalty. the league offices absolutely have told the refs to calm down with the penalties…what’s been the result? two fantastic weeks of professional football..let them play!

  13. Just what I said all along. Much ado about nothing. Move on! The roughing the passer penalties are also declining. It’ll be an afterthought by post season. Just like the helmet rule.

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