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The NFL’s New Helmet Rule Broke My Brain

The NFL’s new helmet rule is ruining the game. They need to protect players, their most precious commodity, but not to the detriment of the game

The NFL’s New Helmet Rule Broke My Brain


Estimated Reading Time: 2 Minutes

The NFL’s new helmet rule is ruining the game. I agree that the NFL can’t have guys flying around the field spearing players when they are in a pile, or throwing themselves full speed into a tackle with their eyes firmly locked in on the grass (mostly because the NFL is running out of money to pay for concussion settlements). But you’re telling me that this play is a penalty? 

Are you kidding me? If they threw a flag on a play like that in the early 2000s Warren Sapp would’ve thrown the ref to the moon. We need to let the players play the version of football they learned growing up which, not surprisingly, was a contact sport. And it should remain one moving forward.

The NFL’s Explanation

Al Riveron, the NFL’s SVP of Officiating tried to save face by clearing up the rule with the below video. But if you think this rule will be properly enforced by refs this year you’re insane. This league can’t figure out what a catch is, let alone whether or not players are following the #NFLWaytoPlay (I hate that hashtag) based on these examples: 

As outlined when the rule was passed in March, the goal was to create a penalty for when a player, “lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.” But if you read that back, that sounds like you may get penalized for playing the game of football. During a football game. That makes sense. 

This Will Kill Pace of Play

Not only is this new helmet rule tough to enforce, it is going to make games hard to watch. The NFL has a big problem with game flow, and the high number of penalties is a major part of that problem. Over the last two NFL seasons the average number of accepted penalties across the NFL has been a staggering 3,535 (source). 

That is a lot of time that we have to spend watching refs flail their arms at midfield trying to explain what just happened on the prior play. And if you think this new helmet rule is going to cut down on that I’ve got some oceanfront property in Nebraska to sell you.

P.S. this rule is definitely going to have a negative impact on some huge drive this year in the playoffs. Just you wait, and please keep this article bookmarked to Tweet at Al Riveron in that moment.

Mark was raised outside of Boston, so his favorite socks are red and the only Giants he'll ever like are the little ones. He currently manages a sales team in Arlington, VA and spends most of his time outside of work creating impossibly complex 8 game parlays that blow up in his face. It's so much fun. He has been writing about sports since starting his own blog, Don't Think Just Throw in 2014 and is excited to be a part of The Turf.

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