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NFL outlaws RBs lowering their heads (1 Viewer)

I had to search around and was only able to find the following as a somewhat "official" wording of the rule. If someone else has the official NFL wording, let me know where I can find it.

“It is a foul if a runner or tackler initiates forcible contact by delivering a blow with the top/crown of his helmet against an opponent when both players are clearly outside the tackle box (an area extending from tackle to tackle and from three yards beyond the line of scrimmage to the offensive team’s end line). Incidental contact by the helmet of a runner or tackler against an opponent shall not be a foul.

The biggest question I have after reading this is how does this differ from the current rule on spearing. The following is part of article 8(f) of the NFL rules on spearing.

"If a player uses any part of his helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/”hairline” parts) or face mask to butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily. Although such violent or unnecessary use of the helmet and face mask is impermissible against any opponent, game officials will give special attention in administering this rule to protecting those players who are in virtually defenseless postures . . ."

The only difference I see, is that the new "helmet" rule does not include the forehead/hairline designation. It also defines where on the field the rule applies.

With that said, what is the need for the new rule? By reading, you can see that the spearing rule already addressed using the helmet as a weapon. (for both offensive and defensive player) The NFL could have saved a lot of frustration by "tweaking" the current spearing rule and notifying teams that it will be a point of emphasis this season.

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For anyone who askes this question: "shouldnt the league do whatever they can to make the game safer for the player???".............sorry, but the answer should be "NO, not if it is at the expense of making the game worse."
For real? You really don't care what happens to these guys because you don't want your entertainment lessened?I'm sorry, but that's repulsive.
As long as you are willing to accept that they will need to change the name of the sport soon, because a couple more rules like this and it wont be football anymore.It's not that I don't care about the players, it's that I care about the sport MORE than I care about the players.
That's the same thing. And is still not good.
If player health and safety is a concern, there shouldn't be team playing games on thursdays. That gives no time for rest, healing, or preparation. Plus, Goodell wanted an 18 game schedule. He is just insincere.

How about new helmets, require mouth guards, and test for hgh and have a more stringent ped policy so guys aren't behemoths.
I've said it many times...try this first. Or at least in addition to the rule changes. Also, why are they still allowing RBs to get an 8 yd head start, lower his head, and plow straight into a wall of L-lineman and LBs? Sometimes 3 or 4 times in a row. Multiple times per game.
Here is a page with links to an NFL video explaining the rule changes including the players lowering their head thing. It was so choppy streaming it was unwatchable, so you might need to do like I did and download it to your harddrive to watch it.

After watching it... eh. I still agree with making the game safer, but still think it's really unlikely this rule gets called well.

Assuming what was said in the video is accurate, it sounds like the distinction is often going to be whether the person lowering their head comes in "squared up" on the person they are hitting. So a RB going for the pylon and a defender running down the goal line from the side, a blow with the crown of the helmet wouldn't be a flag. But if the defender was standing there by the pylon and the runner lowers his head and delivers a hit going straight into him it would be.

If they tell the refs, "Don't throw the flag unless you are sure" then maybe it will work out ok. Where by "ok" I don't mean "flawless", but I mean the percentage of bad and horrible calls is similar to officiating other penalties. I don't think they will emphasize that enough though. Hopefully they prove me wrong.

Other tidbits, the rule is not in effect between the tackles and 3 yards upfield of the LOS. I know we were talking 5 yards hypothetically. So a run from the 5, lowering your head anywhere past the 2 and delivering such a hit would be a foul.

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The local sports talk radio had a NFL referee on yesterday (not sure which one, interview was in process when I turned on the radio) and they were discussing this rule. The referee said they (NFL) went through all the games last year and the penalty would have only been called 4 times.

Struck me as odd that they created a rule that dealt with an issue that only occurred 4 times. RBs should just ignore the rule because they probably never did what was illegal anyways.

I watched every preseason game (not all of them start to finish), and I don't recall seeing this called once. I'm hopeful this rule will have almost no impact.

Could have some serious impact on the game. It is getting ridiculous though. If not for fantasy football and being invested in two dynasty league, I'd probably move on. Between having games on every night and this, not to mention the rules about hitting, it's just not the same any more.
Interesting. Since dropping out of my fantasy football leagues in 2006 I very seldom watch a game. Ill have it on while I am doing something else if I am home on Sundays.

Anyway, I was watching the Jets-Bucs finish today and texted a buddy of mine who was always far more hardcore about football than I am . He was a lifelong Steelers fan and had never missed a game in a decade or more. He was crazy invested and one of those guys that you seriously didn't rib/tease/call while the Steelers were playing. I asked him if he saw the crazy finish and he said no. He said he no longer watches football unless he is home and has absolutely nothing else to do.

In a nutshell, he believes the NFL has morphed into an arena league style with all the rule changes and is no longer interested.

Given that the NFL is so huge I suppose he is in the minority. But, I kind of wonder if there is an underlying groundswell of individuals possessing similar viewpoints as my friend.


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