Nobody has yet named this “lowering the helmet” penalty. But soon, most likely on Sunday September 9th, it is going to cost an NFL team a game.
The Edison Park Pirates are going to be driving the football, down 6, late in the fourth quarter. On 4th-and-8 they’re going to complete a seven-yard pass and the tackler, the best safety on the Naperville Nincompoops, is going be flagged for lowering his helmet while tackling with his shoulder. The drive will be extended. The outcome changed. Pirates win. And this flag will be the lead story on every sports radio station in the country Monday morning.
Many have argued the uproar over this penalty is overblown, with only 1.5 flags being thrown for it per game over the first two weeks of the preseason. But the quantity of the calls is not the issue. It’s the egregious nature of the fouls themselves. The NFL has clearly heard the complaints because last Sunday they sent several of their media mouthpieces out to the public with new information.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano:
…NFL is looking at a “probable three-year” adjustment period for the new helmet rule, will continue updating its teaching video for officials, coaches and players. League is going with this, period. Everyone needs to deal.
Graziano went on and on about how it’s perfectly fine to have a rule the league doesn’t know how to legislate in the short-term as long as they figure out how to legislate it down the road. Make sense? Of course it doesn’t make sense. Football player Richard Sherman responded:
There is no “make adjustment” to the way you tackle. Even in a perfect form tackle the body is led by the head. The rule is idiotic And should be dismissed immediately. When you watch rugby players tackle they are still lead by their head.
The NFL invented this rule for one reason: they are desperate to show the world their sport is NOT gladiators in the arena, with spectators marveling at the spectacle and not particularly caring about the health and safety of the combatants. They must give the appearance of caring about “player safety”.
It is yet another example of Roger Goodell, the worst commissioner in professional sports, leading this sport down a dirt road to nowhere. Great commissioners are defined by how forward-thinking they are, how they can see what’s coming for their sports 2-3 years before it happens. They are also judged by how they handle controversies, on and off the playing surface. In both regards, Goodell is a remarkable failure.
Just look at the breadth of his incompetence.