NFL already tweaking new rule change after massive backlash - report


In March, the NFL heralded a new rule under which players would be penalized for lowering their heads to initiate contact against an opponent on any play.

Such plays — which happen with regularity in the NFL — would bring a 15-yard penalty, and offending players could be ejected, the league said.

NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay said the rule change, motivated by concussion concerns, would “enhance player safety.”

“This one technique, we saw so many hits when a player lowered his head and delivered a hit and either hurt himself or the player he was hitting,” McKay said at the NFL owners meeting in Orlando, Florida. “It was time for a change of this magnitude. This has very little requirement to it. This is simply if you lower your head to initiate contact and you make contact with an opponent it’s a foul.”

Prominent Investor Cancels New York Plans 40 Years in the Making After Trump Ruling

Apparently it wasn’t so simple after all.

Many players, coaches and fans spoke out against the rule and wondered how the NFL could penalize plays that happen routinely in the course of a football game.

“If your helmet comes in contact?” Redskins cornerback Josh Norman said via USA Today. “How are you going to avoid that if you’re in the trenches and hit a running back, facemask to facemask and accidentally graze the helmet? It’s obviously going to happen.”

Said 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, “It’s ridiculous. Like telling a driver if you touch the lane lines, you’re getting a ticket. [It’s] gonna lead to more lower-extremity injuries.”

On Tuesday, the league held a meeting at its New York headquarters where owners, coaches, game officials, former players and a representative of the NFL Players Association tried to figure out just how the rule will be enforced.

Do you like the new helmet rule?

“That’s what I came here for,” Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said Tuesday via The Washington Post. “I want to know how the officials are going to officiate this in real speed. We’re sitting here watching all this stuff on video. And that’s easy. I’ve asked six times, ‘Can you rewind that back?’ Well, they [officials] don’t have that option on the field. I just want to see how they’re going to do it — the language and how we’re going to do this and how they’re going to officiate it when it’s full speed on the field.”

According to The Post, the portion of the new rule related to ejections was tweaked during the meeting:

“The ejection language presented by the league Tuesday but not yet finalized said that an offender could be ejected under the new rule if he lowers his head to use his helmet to deliver such a hit after having an unobstructed path to his opponent and if the contact was avoidable. More is to be added to that criteria.

Star QB to 'Command' Highest-Paid Spot in NFL According to Report, Despite Falling Short Yet Again

“An ejection would be reviewed by the league’s officiating department in New York, and would be affirmed or overturned, after being ordered by the on-field officials. In fact, under the proposal, all ejections would become reviewable, even those not under the new helmet-hitting rule.”

Troy Vincent, the NFL’s top executive for football operations, said the league reviewed 41,000 plays from 2017 and doesn’t expect rampant flags and ejections from the new rule in the upcoming season. Vincent predicted only a handful of players will be disqualified per year and no more than five flags will be thrown per game.

“I was glad to see that we slowed this thing down,” Lynn said.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He has worked as an editor or reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years.
Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He was born in Baltimore and grew up in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Miami (he dreams of wearing the turnover chain) and has worked as an editor and reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years. Todd started at The Miami News (defunct) and went on to work at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., the St. Petersburg (now Tampa Bay) Times, The Baltimore Sun and Space News before joining Liftable Media in 2016. He and his beautiful wife have two amazing daughters and a very old Beagle.
Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Media, Sports