The NFL is planning a crackdown on players who initiate contact by lowering the helmet this season, and in some cases that will mean throwing flags on both players in a collision.
NFL head of officiating Al Riveron said in a video distributed by the league that in the Hall of Fame Game, when Falcons running back Brian Hill was flagged for lowering his helmet into Broncos safety Dymonte Thomas, it should have been a penalty on both players.
“There was a flag thrown on this play for a foul on [Hill],” Riveron said. “In this situation, there should have been a flag on the runner and also on the defender, which the fouls would have offset. This is a foul on both players for lowering the head and initiating contact.”
The question facing the NFL is how strictly the officials will call this penalty. In every game, we see many plays when two players lower their heads and initiate contact with each other. If those are all called, we’re going to see a lot of offsetting penalties.