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NFL to discuss helmet-rule

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The NFL will today discuss the league’s new helmet rule. AFP

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The NFL will spend the majority of a previously scheduled conference call today discussing the league’s new helmet rule and how to tweak or improve it, according to multiple reports Monday.

The rule – which penalises a player for lowering the helmet with intent to initiate contact – has been a source of confusion and frustration for players, coaches and fans alike through the first half of the preseason. The conference call could lead to some simplification.

Pro Football Talk reported that tweaks could include limiting the application of the rule to the top or crown of the helmet (it currently applies to all parts of the helmet), or requiring forcible helmet contact, which would eliminate penalties for incidental contact or glancing blows from the side. PFT adds that replay review could be added as a failsafe.

ESPN reported that NFL vice president of officials Al Riveron will make revisions after the preseason to the video tutorial that has been sent to officials, coaches and players, helping them better understand what plays will and won’t be called in the regular season.

ESPN also quoted a source saying the reaction to the rule has been “predictable hysteria” because of how new it is, with another source expecting a “probable three-year” adjustment to the rule changes.

The rule was added this offseason to improve player safety, but players and coaches have been vocal about their confusion.

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer told The Athletic on Monday, the rule is “going to cost some people some jobs. Playoffs, jobs, the whole bit, I guess.”

One of Zimmer’s players, hard-hitting safety Andrew Sendejo, expressed his disdain for the rule earlier this month, wearing a hat bearing the words “Make Football Violent Again.”

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