The NFL’s new helmet rule is going to a frustrating, confusing mess.
The new rule makes it a penalty for a player to lower their helmets (in certain circumstances) during a hit. It’s far from clear, however. The tutorial video produced by the NFL just caused the players to ask even more questions, and the preseason games have met with both fans and players wondering publicly what a legal tackle looks like these days.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is worried that the new rule will have even more dramatic effects as the season gets ready to kick off, as questionable calls will swing games and potentially contribute to people (both coaches and players) losing their jobs.
“It’s going to cost some people some jobs,” Zimmer said, according to NFL.com’s Herbie Teope. “Playoffs, jobs, the whole bit, I guess.”
“We haven’t had any called on us so far, it’s just hard to figure out,” Zimmer added. “No one has ever said to me, ‘Hey. Don’t worry about it, we’re going to call it less or we’ll get it straightened out in the regular season. Or we’re going to come up with a revised rule.’ No one has ever said that.”
Now it’s being reported that the NFL will produce a new teaching video, to hopefully clear up some of the confusion created by the original one. Hopefully it helps, because Zimmer isn’t the only one trying to adapt to a strange new rule set.
Malcon Jenkins, safety for the Philadelphia Eagles, has already been flagged in the preseason under the new helmet rule, and couldn’t explain it after the game.
“The explanation I got for the flag was that I didn’t have to hit him, which is kind of opposite of what my job description is,” Jenkins said, according to NESN’s Zack Cox. “So I don’t understand that.”
Ladies and gentleman, the NFL: where no one knows how to define a catch or a tackle, in a game that features a lot catching and tackling. Buckle up, it should be an interesting season.