Helmet rule likely to be part of replay
Published 8:03 am Thursday, March 29, 2018
ORLANDO, Fla. — The NFL’s new rule outlawing a player from lowering his head to initially make any sort of hit with his helmet likely will be included in replay reviews for officials.
That has not been decided yet, but Commissioner Roger Goodell and competition committee chairman Rich McKay made it clear Wednesday that video reviews probably will be part of the process.
“If we’re able to have replay confirm one of these fouls and also confirms a player be ejected,” Goodell said as the league meetings concluded, “I think there is more confidence among the coaches it will be called accurately.”
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After noting the unanimous approval of the new rule among coaches, Goodell said on-field officials felt the same way.
“We think that is appropriate to do and it would be the first time we use replay for safety or in respect to any kind of foul,” Goodell added.
Late Tuesday, the owners rewrote the rule on using the helmet, making it a 15-yard penalty for any player to lower his head to initiate any hit with the helmet. McKay called it “a significant change,” noting that it was a “technique too dangerous for the player doing it and the player being hit.”
While the offender could be disqualified, owners did not call for an automatic ejection on such a play — at least not yet. In college football, when a player is penalized for targeting and a replay review affirms it, he is ejected.
Including replay will be discussed and very possibly implemented at the NFL’s May meetings in Atlanta, where another full agenda will include discussions of changes to the league’s national anthem policy; the potential sale of the Carolina Panthers; and awarding the 2019 and 2020 drafts to two of the five finalist cities.