The NFL Competition Committee met on Wednesday by conference call to discuss the new use of the helmet rule through the first two weeks of the preseason.
While the committee is not going to be changing the rule after reviewing feedback from players, coaches and officials, it did clarify that “inadvertent or incidental contact with the helmet and/or facemask is not a foul,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said in a statement tweeted by NFL vice president of football communications Michael Signora.
“As all adjust to the new rule, we will continue to provide video feedback and examples of fouls and incorrect calls to coaches, players and officials over the next two weeks and throughout the season as the new rule is implemented,” Vincent’s statement also read.
Further education of the rule seems critical, especially since ESPN reported that the league said it identified 11 erroneous calls of the 51 that have been called so far in the preseason.
The official rule states: “It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.”
The rule is designed to enhance player safety by eliminating the technique of lowering the head to initiate and make contact with an opponent, but it has been a source of confusion for players and coaches this preseason. We'll see if Wednesday's Competition Committee discussion will help referees, players and coaches have a better understanding of the rule.