New Crown-of-Helmet Rule Approved

New Crown-of-Helmet Rule Approved

Jay Adams

Published March 20, 2013 at 2:20 PM


Under the new crown-of-helmet rule, this run during the playoffs by Jacquizz Rodgers would likely be ruled a 15-yard penalty on the Falcons

The NFL owners voted Wednesday to approve a proposed rule change that would make it illegal for running backs to lower their heads before contact or for tacklers to do the same. The proposal passed by a vote of 31-1, with the Cincinnati Bengals being the only team to vote against.

“We really think the time has come that we need to address the situation in space when a runner or a tackler has a choice as to how they are going to approach the opponent,” Falcons president Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL Competition Committee, told NFL.com. “We are going to say that you can’t make that choice ducking your head and delivering a blow, a forcible blow, with the top crown of your helmet. We are trying to protect the runner or the tackler from himself in that instance.”

The owners also voted to abolish the controversial tuck rule by a 29-1-2 vote. The Steelers voted against the rule and the Patriots and Redskins abstained.

The “Tuck Rule” gained notoriety during the 2001 playoffs when New England quarterback Tom Brady dropped a ball at the start of the passing motion. Under the tuck rule, the play was ruled an incomplete pass because the ball came loose as Brady’s arm was going forward.

Also, the owners voted to change the rule regarding an illegal throwing of a challenge flag, which head coach Mike Smith was in violation of against the Cardinals when he threw a challenge flag on a play that was automatically reviewed. The rule previously stated that, under those circumstances, a team would be charged 15 yards and the review would be wiped out. The new rule now states that a team will be charged a timeout under these circumstances, but the play will still be reviewed.

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