NFL Outlaws Hits Using the Crown of the Helmet

Submitted by xtramelanin on March 27th, 2018 at 7:13 PM


Overdue, but at least its the 'law' now in the NFL.  They have officially outlawed using the crown of the helmet for any hit.  Unlike college, it will not be an automatic ejection.  Instead, it would be a 15 yd penalty and the officials could eject. 

They cite the Ryan Shazier hit from the playoffs as one of the reasons.  For those that might not remember, Shazier is a LB for the Steelers who went crown first into a tackle and at last report was trying to learn how to walk again....if ever.  

Image result for ryan shazier injury

Good idea.  Hope it works well and keeps guys safe.

Link to whole article here:




March 27th, 2018 at 7:53 PM ^

Amen, brother.  I have long thought that when you put players in protective gear where they feel completely impervious to injury, they will act that way.  This may sound crazy but, both hockey and football equipment manufacturers have done an incredible job in improving their equipment, so much so, that players in those sports now play so wreckless it becomes more dangerous than when they played with a plastic bowl on their head.


March 28th, 2018 at 4:39 PM ^

They should legitimately address steroid use before removing protections. A crumple zone in the helmet, as opposed to the current hammer-like helmet, would probably dramatically reduce concussions. but removing the top altogether would get people killed every now and then.


March 27th, 2018 at 7:19 PM ^

That was the rule when I played 7th and 8th grade football. We called it spearing. 15 yard penalty. This was 35 years ago. I don't understand how spearing became an acceptable way to tackle. It always seemed really dangerous to me.


March 27th, 2018 at 7:32 PM ^

This. Every kid that ever played football attempted it once. Any coach that was worth a damn ensured that it was the last time the kid ever attempted it. Coach's today need to be coached on how to coach.


March 27th, 2018 at 7:55 PM ^

(into my 40's) and i have coached that way now for more than a decade.  i think it got to be in the vogue, a tough guy or rogue way to hit, but i never thought so. 


March 28th, 2018 at 11:58 AM ^

(dear NSA analyst, please don't forward this email to the FBI. thx, XM)  they are too prim and proper, and most have not done real police work in terms of solving gang homicides which is, frankly, messy business.  to use recruiting terms, you really need to be a bit gritty and blue collar, a real gym rat, to solve most of those types of cases.  FBI folks were well trained, many of them lawyers, but few had ever had any dirt under their fingernails. 


March 27th, 2018 at 10:19 PM ^

targeting has been historically. If your head is down, it's a penalty. No searching for glancing helmet to helmet shots or whether the offensive guy lowered his head.


March 27th, 2018 at 8:50 PM ^

“We wanted to simplify and provide clarity,” Pittsburgh coach and longtime competition committee member Mike Tomlin said. “It was time to do so after we got caught up in language that didn’t do that. The language was obscure and confusing.”

No, I won't miss a catch having to be made only when the relative humidity was between 40% and 70% and only after you submit a written analysis of "Tartuffe" and relate it to the modern NFL and its leadership.  

S FL Wolverine

March 28th, 2018 at 12:02 PM ^

OK I get how the language is simpler.  From the article:

"Team owners unanimously approved the new language Tuesday, with basically three elements defining a catch:

—having control of the ball;
—getting two feet down or another body part;
—making a football move, such as taking a third step or extending the ball."
I still don't see this as particularly clear.  Especially element #1 - how long does one have to have control for it to be "control"?  And element #3 - what is a "football move"?  If I get #1 and #2 right, and then just fall to the ground, or I catch the ball while on the ground, how have I performed a "football move"?
For example, how would this make the infamous Calvin Johnson "non-catch" a catch?  In Johnson's case, the ball came out long after he hit the ground, which could put element #1 in doubt.  Also, he does not appear to have made any "football move".
While the language is clearer, I don't see how it will lead to much less controversy. There's still too much wiggle room.



March 27th, 2018 at 7:26 PM ^

I'm all for forcing players to improve their tackling technique, it's crazy how bad it's gotten, especially at the higher levels of the sport.


March 27th, 2018 at 7:33 PM ^

Seeing people unable to walk is so disheartening after a sever hit.  I recall the Nebraska QB last year against OSU being down for a while... just sad.  Hope Shazier walks again!

Hail Harbo

March 27th, 2018 at 7:47 PM ^

But a Running Back that uses the crown of his helmet as some sort of penetrating aide to gain more yards, that's righteous, expected, and cheered.


March 27th, 2018 at 7:53 PM ^

Still poor technique, the eyes should always be looking forward, nothing wrong with lowering the head on both sides of the ball as long as the player is looking at the horizon.

I don't like seeing any type of risky tackling/running style, both because of the risk of injury and the fact that it puts the player's eyes facing the worst possible direction to maintain awareness on the field


March 27th, 2018 at 8:20 PM ^

I was 110 pounds when I played football in HS. If I ever tried to tackle with my head, I would've crumpled into a ball of broken bones. I either hit the dude with my shoulder and wrapped up behind the knees, or I tripped up their ankles and held on for dear life.

And I still broke my wrist trying to arm tackle some dudes leg. I don't see why anybody would allow a kid to learn to make plays by leading with their head with their eyes looking at the ground. 


March 27th, 2018 at 9:35 PM ^

on the issue of concussion, has taken so long to outlaw hits that lead to them. I guess I am wondering why headhunting, given the shortness of careers in which headhunting is a key factor, allow it to make a difference in how we perceive the game.

I mean everything about pro football is different than when it started. And everything about the game is more lethal and dangerous. It's like weaponry. More sophisticated, problematic and dangerous. And yet the answer is always about public relations not safety, as if safety gets in the way of a better show. Intimidation is usually the end game of illegal hits not misaligned contact.


March 27th, 2018 at 10:16 PM ^

Just a couple quick glances into rugby injuries; obviously not a direct comparison but the lack of helmets doesn't translate into more head injuries, but they do have a similar injury crisis with spinal injuries. If the NFL didn't use helmets would they be in the same boat?


March 28th, 2018 at 8:29 AM ^

Based on what I have read on this rule change it seems to be much broader than what is being discussed in this thread. Per tweet from the NFL PR Departmnet: 

Playing Rule Article 8: It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. The player may be disqualified. Applies to any player anywhere on the field. The player may be disqualified.

From this description the crown has nothing to do with it. Also, it applies to any player on the field. So a lead fullback can be flagged if he lowers his head to block a LB. Personally I am fine with the intent but a little concerned about how it will be enforced. Specifically, determining that a player "lowers his head" seems to be a judgement call with a lot of potential grey area. 


March 28th, 2018 at 11:29 AM ^

The first time I saw the defense using spearing EXCLUSIVELY as as a tactic to tackle was in a Michigan-Illinois game in the early 1990's.  It was obvious that Illinois was teaching their kids to tackle leading with their heads down, trying to put the crown of the helmet on the football on every tackle.  I didn't understand why it wasn't illegal.


By the way, Michigan had something like 12 fumbles that day, though they only lost a couple of them. 

This is going to be hard to enforce, but something needs to be done.  Incidental head-down tadckling will probably always happen.  But the intentional leading with the head has to come to an end.