NFL wants offsetting penalties when players lower helmet into each other

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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.

13 responses to “NFL wants offsetting penalties when players lower helmet into each other

  1. So they both get a penalty, then what happens next? Nothing? Replay the down? Doesn’t make sense. Like most things the morons running the NFL do.

  2. Seems pretty simple. If both players are guilty, pick up the flag, or, better yet, don’t throw it. Or, give them both yellow cards. If either does it again…(red card) toss’em.

  3. So when the offense has a big gain, and the runner lowers his head, bracing for contact. All the defender has to do is lower head also, drawing offsetting penalties. Resulting in big gain erased. Moronic

  4. So if a player has been penalized for this, and later sues for a brain injury, the NFL has a built in defense that the player’s injuries resulted at least in part from his decision to break the rules and therefore the NFL can’t be responsible for that.

  5. I remember when they played the game as originally proposed. There were injuries back in the 50s and nobody playing complained about their helmets. If they did the media found it unnecessary to report as the game itself was the important happening. It was’t until Monday night football started that the media found it necessary to have three people telling you what you were watching was about.

  6. Seems like either side could exploit this rule to negate big gains, it is also a natural part of the game that will result in offsetting penalties further ruining the game of football.

  7. At some point the NFL should waive the white flag on this. Offsetting penalties ?!??! Yeah the net result of not throwing the flag at all. We get it. Player safety. The reality is players curl up making helmet to helmet unavoidable on the large majority of the plays. It’s how they avoid more serious injuries to the rest of their bodies. There’s only so much they are going to be able to do. Trying to legislate what is ultimately a judgement call is a perfect testament to why the NFL is worthy of channel surfing during a game.

    And no I’m not advocating doing nothing. Just be smart about it. Putting in half measures to avoid PR battles isn’t the answer.

  8. The main problem is lowering the head is instinctive, helmet or not, to protect the face and to some extent keep the neck from being too exposed. By all means eject, suspsend and fine much more heavily for spearing and malicious head-butting/hitting, but not guys just lowering their heads as they tackle – that’s dumb.

  9. This i stupid. Instead of essentially not calling a penalty, why not require both players to sit out a certain number of plays? Offsetting penalties on offsides don’t matter, but if the league is serious about safety instead of giving both players/teams a pass, they should cause both players/teams to pay a price.

  10. In some of those shots it looked like the player was lowering his shoulder, rather than trying to lead with his head. Your head is near your shoulder so it will look like the player intended to lead with the head but thats not what happened.

    I get trying to cut down on Ryan Shazier injuries but they will over officiate this and hurt the game.

  11. So, when a Defender lowers his shoulders (the head is attached) to tackle around the waist, and then the Offence player lowers his head into the defender – It’s the defenders fault too??

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