The NFL conducted its annual owners meeting over this week. The team’s owners passed various new rules, most notably they voted unanimously to eliminate the “to the ground” rule when catching the football. However, there was one rule they passed that had the potential to drastically change the NFL forever.
It will now be a penalty to lower one’s head to initiate contact. They passed this new rule in hopes of eliminating concussions. However, the harms of this new rule might just outweigh the benefits.

Players are already irate about it. Adrian Clayborn, New England Patriots defensive end, tweeted out today. “That’s called football.” Damon Harrison, New York Giants defensive tackle, also voiced his opinion on Twitter saying. “Offensive lineman and running backs are the absolute worst with this. Never seems to be mentioned though. Anything to raise the score of games I guess.” It’s clear, right off the bat, that the players are not a fan of this rule. It doesn’t make much sense for the owners to pass this rule knowing that the players would be upset with it. It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to me if more and more players starting coming out against this rule, especially running backs seeing as a majority for the penalties coming from this rule will be on running backs.

A deeper looks through film and it’s pretty clear how much of an effect on any given game it could cause. Steven Ruiz from For The Win broke down the first half of the week 13 matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals. He found that out of 75 first half plays he found 39 possible penalties on 24 different plays. This rule will generate a lot more penalties that result in a lot more fines and will only prolong the game.

While the NFL only has good intentions by allowing this new rule, the harms might outweigh the benefits. If they really want to try to prevent more concussions they need to start investing in better helmets and research to try to find a right solution. Adding this rule, however, isn’t going to really help any.

Image: ESPN

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