When the NFL secretly slipped the new helmet rule onto the agenda of Competition Committee proposals in March, making it No. 11 to a previously-published list of ten, the league office knew what it was doing. Someone(s) wanted to be able to push the rule past ownership without anyone sounding the alarm about the potential consequences of prohibiting any and all lowering of any and every portion of the helmet to initiate contact with any and all parts of an opponent’s body.
As a result, no one even knew about the new rule until it became a new rule, and by the time the debate even had a chance to get started, the debate was over.
But to the extent the NFL thought there would never be a debate, the NFL was mistaken. The random warnings from some (but not nearly enough) in the media regarding the breadth of the rule and its potential impact on the game have become a firestorm of criticism, now that games are being played and flags are being thrown.
“To all those [people] including those who made the rule,” 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said on Twitter regarding the application of the rule. “I want a video of YOU running full speed and being lead by anything but your head while also attempting to bring down a moving target. You will soon realize it’s impossible.”
The league expects players to adjust, either by keeping their faces up, by striking the opponent with the flipper of the shoulder pad, or by contorting their bodies to spin the helmet away from the opponent, striking him with something other than the thing covering the defensive…