While it may not be popular with players and fans, the NFL’s new helmet-lowering rule is necessary to fight the epidemic of head injuries in the sport, asserts the MetroWest Daily News in an editorial. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurological disorder, was found in 110 of 111 brains of ex-football players that a Boston University study examined. It can lead to memory loss, depression and dementia, among other symptoms. The NFL will be able to adapt to its new helmet-lowering rule without any fundamental changes. Critics who say football is becoming too soft ignore the huge evidence that players are being put in danger.
The NFL’s new helmet-lowering rule is going to be incredibly hard to enforce, which will cause much confusion, believes Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report. It will make labelling a play as a foul too open to interpretation. Football is played at such speeds that it’s hard to judge movements that happen rapidly and often instinctually. Players going into a tackle don’t have the time to think about where to put their helmets. It will naturally end up in positions now deemed dangerous. This change could make the game far less physical and exciting, which risks driving away fans. It also opens the door to players positioning opponents in bad ways to get them punished.