With player safety and concussion concerns being among the top of league priorities, the NFL has passed a rule that will no longer allow running backs (or ball-carriers) to lower the their crowns in space, using it as a weapon against their opponents.
While not enforceable in goal-line or most short-yardage situations, the rule will penalize teams 15 yards if one of their players lowers their helmet into a would-be defender when both players are outside of the tackle box.
“I didn’t use my head,” Former Browns running back Jim Brown said on Monday. “I used my forearm. The palm of my hand. And my shoulder. And my shoulder pads. I wasn’t putting my head into too much of anything. I don’t think that’s a good idea. At least, it doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.”
Current Browns running back Trent Richardson has been linked to this rule due to the hit he put on Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Kurt Coleman during the team’s 2012 Opening Day game.
Many head coaches have expressed concern over how the rule will be officiated, being of the belief that there is a lot of grey area involved in it’s enforcement. The measure passed by a vote of 31-1.
Other rules that have been augmented include the infamous “tuck” rule as well as the banning of peel-back blocks.