NFL’s New Helmet Rule Designed To Prevent Concussions Could Change The Game

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Katie Jerkovich Entertainment Reporter
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The NFL approved a new helmet rule Tuesday making it illegal for a player to lower their head and then make contact, and it could change the game as we know it, according to SB Nation.

“Playing Rule Article 8: It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. The player may be disqualified. Applies to any player anywhere on the field. The player may be disqualified,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tweeted.

According to the report, it is not exactly the same as the college football’s targeting rule, but it comes close.

The NCAA targeting rule states that “no player shall target and make forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent…with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulder.”

“[Rich] McKay says NFL has been in touch with NCAA. Hope is to get high school, college, NFL rules/coaches all on the same page regarding lowering the helmet. Teach proper technique early, create a safer game,” NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero tweeted.

“The crown of the helmet rule got way too narrow,” McKay explained. “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.”

As noted, if every single player who lowered their head and then made contact was flagged, it would change the game. For example, a quarterback sneak could be considered an offensive penalty.

“Rich McKay says Ryan Shazier’s hit could’ve been flagged under existing rules for spearing, etc. But those types of hits weren’t getting called. Hope is new rule takes that technique out of the game,” Pelissero tweeted.

Under the new rule, the following play that resulted in Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffering a devastating back injury in December last year would be illegal.


If approved, players would be penalized 15 yards and could even be disqualified from playing the rest of the game, depending on how bad the hit is, according to The exact wording of the rule will not be finalized until the owners’ Spring League Meeting takes place in May.