NFL’s New Helmet Rule Could Have Bigger Impact Than Anyone Realizes
The reality is that no one knows exactly how the rule will affect football as we know it.
It’s tough to say for sure, but there’s a good chance the NFL’s new lowering-the-helmet rule is gonna cause some headaches.
We don’t know if they will, but if officials call the new rule by the letter of the law, they could realistically have the chance to throw a penalty flag on nearly every single play.
Officially classified as unnecessary roughness, the language for the rule makes it illegal to use “any part of a player’s helmet to butt, spear, or ram an opponent.” Furthermore, it’s also a foul “if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.”
If that language is interpreted literally, helmet contact, which happens on every play, is a penalty.
It’s a large enough issue media outlets such as Deadspin and ProFootballTalk have attempted to get some clarification from the league, to no avail. There’s also uncertainty amongst players and coaches about the rule itself and how it will be officiated. The potential for chaos looms large.
“But it’s not just the fact that they don’t understand it that makes it a big deal,” according to Bleacher Report. “It’s how much of an impact the rule could have. It’s not an exaggeration to say this is potentially one of the biggest rule changes in the history of the sport. The same league that has spent years trying to figure out what a catch is will now police helmet location in a sport that moves ridiculously fast.”
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