Helmet rule passes easily; now comes hard part

Helmet rule passes easily; now comes hard part
March 20, 2013, 12:30 pm
Share This Post

By a definitive 29-1 vote, NFL owners passed the proposed rule barring ballcarriers from initiating contact with the crown of the helmet outside of the tackle “box.” The reason may be a desire to improve safety in the game but the change did not have the endorsement of Bears running back Matt Forte, among others.
"The…rule change for running backs might be the most absurd suggestion of a rule change I've ever heard of," Forte tweeted (@MattForte22) before the vote.
"In order to lower ur shoulder u obviously have to lower ur head. It's a way of protecting ur self from a tackler and a way to break tackles. U can't change the instinctive nature of running the football."

[RELATED: Forte upset over proposed rule change]
The change will indeed come with dissenters, supporters and challenges for officials, as reported by Ian Rappaport of NFL Network.
How the rule affects short-yardage situations in particular will warrant watching. But the stricture only applies outside of the tackle box, although dives for first downs and goal lines occurring at the edges of the tackles may pose difficult judgment calls.

[MORE: Offensive changes coming for Cutler, Hester]
Infractions will come with a 15-yard penalty.

Forte responded to the rule change Wednesday.


Owners also voted to outlaw chop blocks inside the tackle box, a long-standing point of anger for defensive players. Also gone is the infamous “tuck rule” that classed some apparent fumbles as incompletions on the basis of the quarterback’s arm supposedly still being in the throwing motion.