NFL Senior VP Of Officiating Attempts To Clarify Confusing New Helmet Rule In Video

Kaelen Jones
Sports Illustrated

On Wednesday morning, NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron tweeted a video featuring six plays. The montage, as he explained, was intended to clarify what is and what isn't a legal use of a player's helmet when initiating contact.

The first three plays included are suppposed to be examples of what would be considered legal tackles in accordance with the NFL's new helmet rules introduced this offseason. The next three are meant to demonstrate illegal hits, however, the examples don't make that necessarily clear.

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When the rule was first introduced, the language dictated that a 15-yard penalty would be assessed when a player lowered their head and initiated contact with their helmet. Violating the rule can even lead to fines and potential ejections.

Last week, Colts safety Shamarko Thomas became the first player to get tossed from a game when he made helmet-to-helmet contact with Seahawks receiver David Moore.

As MMQB's Jenny Vrentas noted in May, the NFL has identified a trend of concussion-related incidences occurring when players lowered their helmets while making a tackle. Therefore, "trying to change that behavior ... would have the most immediate impact in reducing the incidence of concussions. That, ultimately, will be the standard by which the rule is judged."

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