The NFL took a lot of criticism last offseason for its new rule against lowering the helmet to initiate contact, and the rule was decried during the season for being inconsistently enforced. But the rule has a backer in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Appearing at a pre-Super Bowl event at Georgia Tech today, Goodell said that with concussions down in 2018, he believes the new rule has resulted in players taking more care not to lower their heads, and in coaches teaching blocking and tackling techniques that reduce impacts on the head.
“I think we’ve been effective. I give credit to the players and coaches for the way they’ve played the game,” Goodell said.
There have been some questions raised about whether a reduction in concussions could merely be a matter of players not being diagnosed every time they suffer a concussion, as some players have been known to try to keep playing even when they should be getting checked for a concussion. But Goodell said NFL medical personnel are actually conducting more concussion checks than ever before.
“What’s really remarkable about a close to 30 percent reduction in concussions is we actually have more screenings,” Goodell said.