One helmet rule penalty was called through 14 games

The offseason angst over the revised helmet-to-helmet hitting policy slowed to a sputter as real games began.

Through 14 regular season games -- with two Monday night tilts to be played -- referees penalized one player for a use of helmet foul, per league data.

Chiefs safety Ron Parker was flagged for a hit on Chargers running back Austin Ekler in the first quarter of Sunday's game. Cincinnati Bengals safety Shawn Williams was ejected for unnecessary roughness, not the helmet rule.

Sunday's lack of penalties continues a trend since the league clarified the new rule on Aug. 22, which noted that "inadvertent or incidental contact with the helmet and/or facemask is not a foul."

During the first two weeks of preseason action, 51 helmet penalties were called. After the clarification, only 20 were called in the final two weeks of the preseason.

The new rule, which is designed to enhance player safety by removing the technique of lowering the head to initiate and make contact with an opponent, had been a source of confusion for players and coaches this preseason.

Through most of the first week, the rule change has been a non-issue.

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