Fewer Penalties for Lowering the Helmet Down in Second Half of Preseason
In Weeks 3 and 4 of the preseason, there was a 60 percent reduction in helmet flags.
With concerns about them rising, the number of penalty flags NFL officials threw for violating the league’s new lowering-the-helmet rule were way down in the second half of the preseason.
During Week 1 and 2 of the preseason, NFL referees threw a flag for violating the new helmet rule a total of 51 times, for an average of 1.55 per game.
In Weeks 3 and 4, they tossed flags just 20 times, an average of 0.625 times per game.
The difference – a 60 percent reduction in the final two weeks – can likely be traced to the competition committee clarifying the rule on August 22 with a caveat that declared “inadvertent or incidental contact with the helmet and/or face mask is not a foul.”
Of the 71 flags that were tossed throughout the preseason, 59 went against defenders, nine on special teamers and three on offensive players. Defensive backs alone drew 40 of the 71 calls.
Hopefully, when the regular season starts on Thursday, the flags will continue not to fly.
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