The NFL implemented a new helmet rule in late March, and league officiating crews are making the rounds visiting team training camps to educate coaches and players on the changes.
But there has been confusion among some players in the past week, leading to the league to release a fact sheet Wednesday morning related to the rule.
Under the new directive, which has player safety in mind, it is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with the helmet on an opponent. The contact is not limited to an opponent's head or neck area, and the lowering of the head and initiating contact to a player's torso, hips and lower body is considered an infraction.
While fouls are easier to determine in the open field, the rule will apply to anywhere on the field.
According to the fact sheet, the penalties for a violation include a loss of 15 yards or ejection, which includes a set of standards:
- Player lowers his helmet to establish a linear body posture prior to initiating and making contact with the helmet.
- Unobstructed path to his opponent.
- Contact clearly avoidable and player delivering the blow had other options.