Report: NFL tweaking ejection language in new helmet rule

The NFL is tweaking the ejection language in the new rule outlawing lowering the head to initiate contact with the helmet, Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports. Ejections by on-field officials will be subject to replay review, but owners must approve the replay component.

NFL officials have not said how often they expect the new rule to come into play. But Maske reports that the league said during the meeting that based on game video from last season they found about five violations per game of the new rule. That doesn’t mean, of course, officials will see all five considering the speed of the game.

Officials attending the meeting told participants they were confident they could spot violations in the open field.

Video of four plays of egregious violations was shown to participants Tuesday, according to Maske. The plays subject to the new rule included Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan‘s on Packers receiver Davante Adams and Bengals safety George Iloka‘s hit on Steelers receiver Antonio Brown.

“This is another challenge to get it taught better,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “There’s definitely plays . . . that, ‘OK, that play needs to leave [the sport], and that play needs to leave.’ Maybe if we start with those plays first to say the egregious fouls [must be addressed], then it’ll kind of trickle itself down.”

Owners are going to start looking at it and say, ‘Hey, we can reduce the roster size. We can reduce those players. You’re talking about a lot of players that are going to start seeing the end of their careers, which I think is significant.”

DeCamillis kind of has a point, but he’s grossly overstating it. If/when the kickoff goes away, players who primarily show their value by their ability to make a contribution during kickoff coverage or kickoff returns risk losing their spots. But those spots will then be filled by someone else with a different skill set.

Putting it another way, no one is suggesting that dumping the kickoff will in some way justify reducing total rosters from 53 or active, game-day rosters from 46.

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