This Hit is Now Illegal

Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Remember the hit Malcolm Jenkins put on Brandin Cooks in Super Bowl 52?

Of course you do.

It’s a penalty now, according to a new rule approved Tuesday by NFL owners.

Any player who lowers his head to initiate contact with the helmet now faces a 15-yard penalty and potential ejection. Previously, you were only penalized when making contact with the crown of the helmet.

Naturally, current and former players aren’t happy with the change, which applies to everyone on the field, not just defenders:

Cornerbacks Josh Norman and Richard Sherman were quoted in a USA Today story written by Thomas Lott:

Norman expressed concern of a player being disqualified for simple incidental contact.

“If your helmet comes in contact?” Norman asked. “How are you going to avoid that if you’re in the trenches and hit a running back, facemask to facemask and accidentally graze the helmet? It’s obviously going to happen.”

Sherman was more visual with his evaluation of the rule.

“It’s ridiculous,” he wrote in a text message to USA Today. “Like telling a driver if you touch the lane lines, you’re getting a ticket. (It’s) gonna lead to more lower-extremity injuries.”

Obviously limiting helmet-first hits would reduce the number of NFL head injuries. ESPN cites league research in reporting that 50% of helmet-to-helmet hits resulted in a concussion last season.

The Chairman of the NFL’s Competition Committee, Rich McKay, spoke on the issue at the owner’s meetings:

“It just seems that players at every level are getting more comfortable playing with their helmets as a weapon rather than a protective device,” McKay said. “Therefore, we need a rule that is broad and puts that in context, and that’s what we think this does.”

I’m not sure if concussions will drop next season, but what I do know is that this is now illegal:

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13 Responses

        1. Next year instead of shoulder pads maybe Michael Bennet should just wear a couple maxi pads and do away with that kicker gear he’s sporting. Rename the super bowl to the maxi pad bowl and rename MVP to PMS. May as well start watching professional Lacrosse or lingerie football with all these stupid rule changes, both will probably have bigger hits and at least one has big ole titties.

  1. nfl is going to be frustrating to watch next season. especially for gamblers

  2. I’m so glad the Eagles won before the NFL became 100 perecnt unwatchable.

  3. So the “Philly Special” was illegal formation.

    Two of the Eagles TDs were ruled TDs going by the upcoming 2018 rules, not the 2017 rules.

    The hit on Brandin Cooks, knocking him unconscious and out of the game, by Malcom Jenkins is now an illegal hit.

    If there is any justice the Eagles 0-16 and the Patriots win the Super Bowl.

    Also, Villanova loses by 25.

    1. The clement TD I’ll give you, I would have understood if that one overturned, but if you still think that Zertz TD was anything but a beautiful TD *BY A RUNNER* you need your fucking head examined (or you’re Chris Collinsworth… still need your head examined though)

  4. Sport that asks giant men to smash into each other at maximum force causes long term health concerns. More news at 11.

  5. This is now a joke. Literally, every play could be a penalty – on offense or defense according to this rule. My theory is that Goodell is going to use this as justification for going to 18 games. “See, we did something real? The players are safe now”. Garbage.

  6. The players should just stop wearing helmets altogether. And pads, those just encourage you to hit harder anyway. In fact this whole sports thing seems pretty dangerous, wouldn’t it be better if both teams had to read a book and write a report, then the best report won the game? Everyone loves books, right?

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