It won’t happen overnight. The NFL knew that from the very beginning when it put in its new rule banning the lowering of helmet before contact.
Everyone involved in the game is going to face challenges dealing with it, something that has already been seen during the preseason.
‘The first live rep (officials) ever saw for this rule was (at the start of the preseason)’
But Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, chairman of the league’s Competition Committee, believes the coaching, the playing and officiating will all find their way to a level of efficiency that should make controversy surrounding the rule dissipate in time.
“I think in this rule, it applies to all players in all positions and I think you have three people in three groups that have some adjustment to do, and that’s coaches, that’s players and that’s officials,” McKay recently told Alex Marvez and Mark Dominik on the SiriusXM Blitz. “And as far as the officials go, the first live rep they ever saw for this rule was (at the start of the preseason). They don’t get live reps like basketball referees or baseball umpires. That’s not how we practice. No question there’s going to be a little bit of growing pains.
‘Al Riveron and his department did a good job in adjusting quickly’
“I think we’ve quickly adjusted and (NFL vice president of officiating) Al Riveron and his department did a good job in adjusting quickly with tape to say, ‘No, no, this is not supposed to be called. … No, no, this is not a foul.'”
The league recently sent a video to coaches showing some of the instances in which the lowering-helmet rule was called so far this summer, and McKay is impressed with how coaches and players dealt with it.
‘Do I think we’ll quickly understand the definition of what is and isn’t a foul? I do’
“I think the players and coaches are excellent at adjusting and they will adjust faster than you think,” McKay said. “But this is a major change, when you look at how players have played the game the last 10 years and how they’ve been willing to use their head as a weapon, which is something we’re trying to get away from. And that’s what the intent of this rule is. So will there be a period of adjustment, yes? Do I think we’ll quickly understand the definition of what is and isn’t a foul? I do, because I saw it in the defenseless player (rule).”
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