Riveron: NFL will again consider making hair pulls illegal

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Last Sunday, Texans defender Jadeveon Clowney dragged Bills running back Chris Ivory to the ground with a hair pull. It’s a legal maneuver. Eventually, it may not be.

NFL senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron explained in his weekly rules video that the question of whether the hair pull should be removed from the game will be raised in the offseason, and that it specifically will be discussed with the NFL Players Association.

The easiest solution to the situation could be to place limits on hair length. However, the Collective Bargaining Agreement currently states that players cannot be disciplined in any way based on hair length. Which allows them to grow their hair as long as they want.

If the league were to ban hair pulls, players would have a natural incentive to grow their hair long (and coaches would have an incentive to ask them to), in the hopes of randomly picking up 15 yards here or there as a result of an inadvertent grab and pull of hair that happens to be in the vicinity of the lunging defender’s grasp. Which would create a rash of long-haired football players, similar to the pre-helmet days when players actually believed long hair protected them from head injuries.

116 responses to “Riveron: NFL will again consider making hair pulls illegal

  1. Leave this one. If they want it long, then they risk getting it pulled. It’s so simple the way it is. A non-hair pull rule would necessitate a no-long hair policy. That’s just weird.

  2. Wrong. The easiest solution would be to put your hair up in a bun or a doo rag or whatever. My grandmother used to have hair down to het waist, but she always had it wrapped up on top of her head.

  3. Does that rule apply to everyone, because some of the players I don’t know if I’d consider that hair,🦍

  4. If they make it illegal everyone is going to be wearing their hair down the middle of their back and make it very difficult to NOT pull it during tackles another way for the whiners to get free penalties, NO WAY, your hair is long, it just makes you easier to tackle. A few more of these stories and we will see a lot fewer players with long dreadlocks. I say if it ain’t broke don’t mess with it!
    And by the way simplify catches and get rid of the BS roughing tackles.

  5. Anther reason for me to stop watching the NFL. A large portion of the hair is not their own and is woven in so most players could have hair down to their knees if the rule was changed.
    NFL football is getting to be unwatchable. The hair should be contained in the helmet or in a pocket inside the jersey.

  6. Maybe it would not be a fashion statement if they had to keep it tucked inside their jersey. They now have a rule requiring their jersey to be tucked in.

  7. Sounds like a rule for the lingerie football league, not a men’s football league. Not hair pulling, what is next? No foul smelling breath. Don’t want your hair pulled. Keep it under the helmet.

  8. charliecharger says:

    October 19, 2018 at 7:24 pm
    Wrong. The easiest solution would be to put your hair up in a bun or a doo rag or whatever. My grandmother used to have hair down to het waist, but she always had it wrapped up on top of her head.

    20 3 Rate This


    Sweet! What team did your grandma play for?

  9. Why are people reacting like they’ll stop watching for something that has happened a handful of times in the past decade? They only debate is whether this is a minor issue or a non-issue.

  10. the problem here if the potential for catastrophic injury;

    we’re talking about large, whippet fast immensely strong people exerting tremendous if unintended force on one of the weakest parts of the human body;

    someone eventually will have their neck broken, whether deliberately or inadvertently;

    the NFL ruled out grabbing the face mask the day after Night Train Lane almost dismembered Jon Arnett;

    that was a safety matter then and long hair is the same safety matter now;

    the NFL need address it the same way it did face masks, and not next off-season, but soon…as in now, if they are truly concerned for player safety;

    it might be worth considering making it mandatory hair remain inside the uniform, regardless of style or length;

  11. Wearing long hair loose past collar length in a dread or tail should be against rules – they could easily whip into another player’s eye at great speed when guys are running & being tackled etc.

  12. Just wait until a QB gets his hair pulled. The NFL will go into melt down. I’m so sick of the NFL trying to have basketball scoring. I see the end for me and football on the horizon

  13. If their hair covers their name on the jersey, it’s too long! Cut it! Stop trying to be a punk!

  14. Don’t like the rule but it should be considered like a horse collar tackle only under certain circumstances if at all. The photo of Clowney pulling the other player down last week looks exactly like the stress on the target’s body that a horse collar exerts.

    But an accidental tug from the side or if you wrap somebody up no way.

  15. absurd…it will give those with long hair an unnecessary advantage. the rule is fine the way it is…good god.

  16. Why are people reacting like they’ll stop watching for something that has happened a handful of times in the past decade?
    Because this is the internet and people aren’t happy unless their pissing and moaning about something.

  17. When I worked for a large company, we didn’t allow a bunch of things. Tattoos. Hair that wasn’t appropriate. People who didn’t fit in for one reason or another. Then we realized we couldn’t get anyone to work for us.

    You don’t want long hair? Don’t grow it out. Time change and people do too. As to the NFL? When you start protecting players who aren’t QBs? Wait ….won’t happen.

  18. Lets just go ahead and make every play illegal that could hurt someone already. I mean, thats the way they’re heading at this rate.
    Im still waiting for them to put in a rule to help teams with bad o lines. “Its not fair that some teams cant protect the QB like Brady is protected. We have to help them out some how and create MORE offense”….. I wouldnt be surprised if they did something

  19. Leave the non-rule as is. Cut it before the start of the season, grow it as long as you want after the season. How hard is that? (Another example of ‘you can’t fix stupid.)

  20. Everyone bashes Goodell, but Al Riveron needs to go !! He’s not only a idiot, he comes out and tried to rub the fans noses in it when we think he’s wrong. Go back to your mom’s basement Al !!

  21. Riveron why don’t you explain why when Brady gets his helmet tapped you call a penalty but when 2 guys land on Luck and contact his helmet there is no penalty. Also Michel lowers his helmet and knocks out and concusses and hurts a player and no penalty.

    Goodell is being paid off by Kraft. Only thing that kept Belicheat and Brady from being suspended for a year was Goodell.

  22. This is a step in the direction of saying the refs are not considered a part of the field when trucked over. Yellow flags will be everywhere soon.

  23. How about banning snake hair and women’s hair length that are so bad now that you could be injured by flying braids in your eyes. And there are miscreants who have hair so long you can’t read their names.

    Ban snake hair and encourage hair pulling!

  24. The NFL has become a Mr. Potatohead of new rules every 2-3 weeks…rewind 20 years and leave it Alone! Ridiculous what is being done to this game!

  25. If any of these corn rolled players had a sense of humor, they’d pull a Harry&Lloyd gag and wear snap on dreds, so that when they defender pulled it, the whole thing would snap off and he’d be left in the dust watching the runner laugh his butt off all the way to the endzone!

  26. This is dumb to even consider. They need to outlaw fake hair extensions like they outlawed tear away jerseys…Imagine a tackler being left with a handful of fake hair while the runner is still going AND a 15 yard penalty. Two personal fouls for “pulling of the hair” could even get you thrown out of the game!

  27. I would assume the penalty would be applied like the horse collar tackle, not the inadvertent hair pulling. The Chris Ivory tackle was a perfect example. He was pulled backwards just like a horse collar tackle and that is an injury risk. You can grab a jersey, but not the horse collar. The hair is an extension of the uniform.

  28. “Dad, he pulled my hair!”

    Things I should only hear out of my daughter about my son. Of course, now the NFL is doing it.

    BTW, haven’t watched a game since the horrible Bennett call weeks ago and loving my Sundays.

  29. I say in encourage the hell out of it, they want it that long than let them deal with replacing their extensions.

  30. If they want to wear the long hair and can also do away with the name on the back of the uniform. Can read them anyway.

  31. None of you get it. The league has all become “celebrate me, I’m a rock star. Worship me and give me endorsement contracts to pay for my boats and Ferraris.” Many, if not most of todays top players care more about commercial self-image than winning. I guarantee you they spend more time on creating and practicing their celebration acts then they do practicing and watching film. Me, me, me…its a team sport, or it used to be.

  32. I’m pullin’ my hair out here trying to figure out my position on this.

    The long hair issue clearly favors defenders over offenders, since the defenders do the tackling and the offenders get their hair pulled. In the interest of equality, all hair must be tucked under the helmet.

    Since the CBA won’t be renegotiated until 2021, leave the rule as it is (assuming they won’t negotiate it now) and implement the “No Long Hair” rule it in 2021.

    Or just leave it alone. It’s a risk the players know they are taking. They are big boys now. Why is the NFL always trying to fix something that’s not broke?

  33. Hair pull have always been legal. Grow your hair as long as your want, but it’s your job to fit it inside the helmet. If your hair is so long that it’s covering over parts of your body/uniform that could legally be pulled, that’s on you

  34. Belichick is already negotiating with Cousin It since he’d be nearly impossible to tackle if this becomes a rule.

  35. They’ll be recruiting Cousin Itt from the Addams Family! Can’t tackle him without grabbing hair!

  36. He will probably use the instant replay to see if a BROWNS player hair is too long, so he can take away another first down and cost us another game. IDIOT

  37. With all the important decisions that need to be addressed this is rediculous. Cut your hair or get it pulled. My high school coach literally cut anything that stuck out of the helmet.

  38. So if a player grows his hair down his back, you can no longer grab the back of his jersey, but the back of all short hair player’s jerseys are open season?

    That’s fair.

    A player Grows his hair and plays football with it at his own risk. Tuck it away for the game. I have had very long hair most my life, but…. COM’ ON, MAN!

  39. All players with long hair who wear it outside of their helmet or jersey choose to do so and therefore should man up and accept the consequences of being tackled by it; even if it means they get their necks snapped inadvertently. In most cases I’m sure the hair is too much for under the helmet and being tucked into the back of the jersey might be the most sensible place for it. It should be fair game to tackle by their hair without penalty to the opposing player. In most cases the plays happen so quickly that I feel most hair grabs are inadvertent as players are diving or lunging to make a tackle any way they can. I’m sure some hair grabs are also intentional, but so be it. It’s a price they pay for having their hair long in a sport that was originally intended to be played in a violently physical manner. Yes, the league does need to be aware of safety concerns, however if they can’t mandate players have short hair, then they shouldn’t penalize for tackling someone by their long hair. Next the NFL is going to make a rule saying that any player who grabs the hair of another player must also smack their ass in the process. The league is soft, and soon will change their name to the NFFL… National Flag Football League.

  40. Wear long hair, risk getting it pulled. Simple as that. A rule would give an unfair advantage to those with long hair.

    And regarding some of the dumber comments I’ve seen:
    -NFL players aren’t getting weaves, that’s all their hair.
    -You can’t “pile it on top of their head” and wear a helmet, doesn’t work

    This is another example of the NFL adding a rule for a made up problem.

    This goes along with:
    Body weight rule
    25 yd touchback
    Kickoff rule changes

    Football carries risk. You can’t legislate injuries out of football. You can drive fans away though and the NFL is getting dangerously close.

  41. I guess the union nailed every aspect of the last CBA. Getting the right to grow your hair as long as you want it critical to the future well being and financial benefit of all players.

  42. News Flash!!! The NFL has just announced that they have put a new rule in effect, immediately. The rule reads:
    “Breaking wind on the field is now prohibited. Any player who breaks wind will be assessed a 15 yard penalty. If the infraction occurs while the player is on the ground with other players trying to recover a fumble, for example, the player will be issued a warning and if he violates the rule a 2nd time, he will be immediately ejected and sent to the locker room bathroom area.”…”The exception is QB’s. They make break wind at any time with no penalty assessed”. — NFL Rules Committee.
    Anyone who has ever played football knows that if they put this rule in the books, half the players would be ejected.

  43. Pretty soon they will take away the right to tackle. Can they pull the hair if they buy them dinner first? 🙄

  44. If the players don’t want to get tackled by the hair, then I assume they will get it cut themselves without needing to be told to

  45. People here think that players will actually grow their hair out to get a penalty on a play that happens max 2 or 3 times a year if at all?

    No hyperbole that might be the all time stupidest take I have ever read on a sports forum.

  46. A defender needs to get a hold of a player to make a tackle. If the hair gets in between the jersey and the tackler, then what is he supposed to do? Let go and watch a guy gain more yards, even go for a TD? Therefore it may be easier to outlaw extremely long hair if it is illegal to tackle by pulling the hair. Guys like Clay Matthews do not have hair that is chest length so there is little danger of their hair being pulled. The NFL should limit hair length to shoulder length.

  47. “The easiest solution to the situation could be to place limits on hair length. However, the Collective Bargaining Agreement currently states that players cannot be disciplined in any way based on hair length. Which allows them to grow their hair as long as they want.”

    Many of these guys aren’t “growing” their hair… it’s called a weave, and you can have hair down to your butt the next day if you want.

  48. If they do it cannot hang below the helmet. Then watch concussions caused to long hair under helmet rise for those players. I already think it should be under the helmet for defensive players or you should be able to grab it. Mostly that cheater in GB should be suspended for PEDs
    Besides the freakin heat it causes, if your serious about the game cut it to preserve your body temp and lengthen your playing years.

  49. Rule of thumb, If Al Riveron mentions it, either ignore it, know that its a stupid idea or just laugh out loud at his blatant lack of capacity to do his job.
    The man is making the NFL look even worse than before and the cred of calls from NY on review is beyond ridiculous and poor.
    AL exemplifies everything that is wrong with NFL rules and officials. Until he is gone, expect a lot more of the same going forward.

  50. So would it have to be your own real hair for it to be a penalty because I’m pretty sure most of the clowns have weaves sticking out of their helmets.

  51. Sick and tired of seeing all of these prima donna’s and their dreadlocks. Tuck it under your helmet or cut it.

  52. This is ridiculous. Tell the guys to cut their hair if they don’t want it pulled. Refs have enough on their plate now you want them to worry about someone else’s grooming habits? Unreal.

  53. You don’t want to get tackled by having your hair pulled?
    Then cut your hair!
    How is it a hardship to not have 12-18 inch long hair?
    (maybe with an exception for religion?!?!? For rastafarians)

    In fact, if you can NOT pull down a player by his hair, then doesn’t it encourage ALL players to have VERY long hair, so as to make it hard to grab their jersey?
    A player with 36 in long hair, covering his back, would have an advantage. You go to grab his jersey, and also get a handful of hair, and its a penalty.

  54. Hair is a natural extension of the body, just like an arm is. Is the next step to make it illegal to grab a players arm during a tackle?

  55. Change the dress code to require hair to be tucked into a players shirt if it covers all or part of their name. If the hair is out, it is fair game for a tackle.

  56. imonfire2niteoyeah says:
    October 19, 2018 at 11:01 pm
    What kind of sissy pulls hair to tackle.?

    You should ask Clowney.

  57. the fact that this is even a debate is embarrassing…. Cut your hair, tuck it away under your helmet, pull it down under your jersey, just do whatever you have to do but it if you let it fly, they will take you down by your hair.

  58. If you want to have long hair then that’s your right but they in no way should change the rule for those players. If you don’t want to be tackled by the hair then cut it! Just the NFL planning another horrible rule.

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