The NFL’s new rule against players lowering their helmets before impact is still unclear and risks warping an essential part of the sport, argues Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report. Coaches and players are still confused about how exactly this rule will be applied. In a 2018 game between the Panthers and Saints, Cam Newton was penalized for lowering his head a few inches in a way that wasn’t aggressive. The rules aren’t very specific and could penalize movements that are mostly natural. Such enforcement could break up the rhythm of football and punish the vast majority of plays. Safety is important but this rule is excessive.
Fears over the NFL’s new helmet-lowering rule disrupting football as we know it are overblown, infers Tadd Haislop of Sporting News. First off, the league said that only three of 40,000 reviewed plays from last season would cause a player to get ejected from now on. The rule is essential to prevent the kind of injury that Ryan Shazier of the Steelers sustained to his spine with a bad tackle. In past decades, the helmet has been used much more than before in tackles as players have developed a false sense of security with it. The helmet-lowering makes the sport safer without significantly changing the rhythm of games, as some mistakenly fear.