NFL fact sheet on new helmet rule is incomplete
In an effort to further educate anyone/everyone about the new helmet rules, the NFL has published a fact sheet. Apart from the fact that the fact sheet does nothing to eradicate fears of a flag- or fine-fest (“[v]iolations of the rule will be easier to see and officiate when they occur in open space – as opposed to close line play – but this rule applies anywhere on the field at any time”), the fact sheet says nothing about the other new helmet rule. You know, the new helmet rule no one ever talks about.
The other new helmet rule appears within the specific forms of unnecessary roughness, prohibiting ramming, spearing, or butting with any portion of the helmet. The 2018 rulebook removes the terms “violently and unnecessarily,” extending the ban to all ramming, spearing, or butting — with the exception of incidental helmet contact that occurs during conventional blocking or tackling.
The fact sheet doesn’t address this rule at all, providing no guidance of any kind to players and coaches regarding a rule that presumably applies as written, but that will be enforced however the league decides to enforce it, possibly with a standard that shifts and changes from week to week, with no real certainty or predictability as to…