NFL moves for player safety, passes new helmet rule

This has been THE hot story all week. The NFL passed six new rules today, but the most talked about was the new helmet tackling rule which passed 31-1. It prohibits players from delivering forcible blows by lowering their heads and leading with the crown of their helmets. Players caught violating this rule will get a 15-yard penalty. The rule states:

"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."

Running backs in the NFL were not supportive including Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte who took to Twitter saying:
"In order to lower your shoulder you obviously have to lower your head. It’s a way of protecting yourself from a tackler and a way to break tackles. You can’t change the instinctive nature of running the football."  
The NFL also eliminated the "tuck rule". For those of you who don't know the tuck rule stated

"When [an offensive] player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble."

According to Wikipedia, "the tuck rule is an exception to this rule. It applies if the quarterback brings his arm forward in a passing motion, but then changes his mind and tries to keep hold of the football rather than making a pass. In this situation, if the quarterback loses the ball while stopping his passing motion or bringing the ball back to his body, it is still considered a forward pass (and thus an incomplete pass if the ball hits the ground)"

The new rule now makes the loss of the possession not an incomplete pass, but a fumble. This infamous rule benefited many teams, including the New England Patriots who abstained from voting on that rule.  

Other rules passed were:

• Replay rules will now allow a review to take place when a coach challenges a play that is automatically reviewed by the replay official. Previously, if a coach threw a challenge flag on an automatically reviewable play, the team would be penalized 15 yards and no review would take place. • "Peel back" blocks below the waist are now illegal in the tackle box. Penalties for this infraction will be a loss of 15 yards. • During a field goal or extra point attempt, the defense may not have more than six players one the line of scrimmage on either side of the long-snapper. These illegal formation penalties will be a loss of five yards from the previous spot. Defensive teams cannot push their teammates into the offensive formation on field goal or extra point attempts. Violations of this "unnecessary roughness" penalty will incur a loss of 15 yards from the previous spot. According to Yahoo! Sports, the measures essentially mean that, at the time of the snap, long-snappers are classified as "defenseless players". Tight ends and H-backs are now permitted to wear jersey numbers 40-49

 Pittsburgh Steelers  owner Art Rooney thinks the new rule isn't impossible adding:

"Somebody reminded me last night that Jim Brown never lowered his head when running,'' Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney said. "So it can be done.

Other NFL coaches seems to agree including New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin who believed safety ruled the day:

"It does reinforce the importance of getting out in front of this before something tragic happens."  

What do you think Jersey Girl Sports fam? Does this new helmet rule water down the instinctive nature of playing football?

Your Jersey Girlfriend,

~Angela Davis

Author: Jersey Girl Sports

Jersey Girl Sports is a lifestyle brand dedicated to the millions of women who like to watch sports. We present sports from the female perspective--the way we see it, how we talk about it and what we have to say about it. It's sports on OUR terms. We can enjoy sports as much as any man, just with better shoes.

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