At the beginning of August, the National Football League implemented a new helmet rule to help combat the problem with concussions. But, the newly formed rule has generated a lot of controversy around the league.
It looks like the rule is here to stay and with no change.
The NFL Competition Committee met Wednesday, and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent released a statement hours later after the meeting concluded, saying there will be no adjustments to the rule.
Vincent released this statement:
The NFL Competition Committee met today by conference call to discuss the new use of the helmet rule through the first two weeks of the season.
The committee reviewed feedback received to date from players, coaches and game officials.
The committee resolved that there will be no changes to the rule as approved by clubs this spring, which includes no additional use of instant replay. The committee also determined that inadvertent or incidental contact with the helmet and/or facemask is not a foul.
As all adjust to new rule, we will continue to provide video feedback and examples of fouls and incorrect calls to coaches, players and officials over the the next two weeks and throughout the season as this new rule is implemented.
It is now illegal for any player to lower his head and initiate contact with his helmet. The rule applies to offensive and defensive players anywhere on the field. When the penalty is implemented, an automatic 15 yards is assessed, which includes a possible ejection — depending on the severity of the hit.
Here’s the exact wording of the rule provided by the NFL:
“It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. Contact does not have to be to an opponent’s head or neck area — lowering the head and initiating contact to an opponent’s torso, hips, and lower body, is also a foul. Violations of the rule will be easier to see and officiate when they occur in open space — as opposed to close line play — but this rule applies anywhere on the field at any time.”
It seems like every team has encountered some problem with the rule, including the Indianapolis Colts.
Shamarko Thomas was the first member of the Colts to receive the penalty, which occurred during Indy’s preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks. Days later, Thomas was released from his contract. One game later, Denico Autry and Nate Hairston fell victim to the same penalty against the Baltimore Ravens .
With no changes implemented, this is bound to cause more problems around the NFL. Let’s hope this rule doesn’t change the outcome of games.