Ex-NFL VP of refs describes one huge problem with the league's new targeting rule
Mike Pereira, the NFL's former VP of officiating, seems kind of skeptical about the league's new helmet rule
One of the biggest surprises of the NFL's Annual League Meeting last week came when the league's 32 owners unanimouslythat prohibits players from lowering their helmets to initiate contact.
Under the change, a player will be penalized 15 yards -- and could be subject to ejection -- anytime he lowers his head and uses his helmet to initiate contact against an opponent. Despite the fact that the rule was put in place for player safety, multiple players, including Josh Norman and Richard Sherman, .
Players aren't the only ones baffled by the new rule, though. Mike Pereira also thinks it could pose an issue for officials. Pereira, who once served as the NFL's vice president of officiating, believes the biggest problem with the new rule is that it's going to be "impossible" for officials to handle.
"I think it's going to be impossible to officiate," Pereira said, via SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Well, that seems like an issue. It definitely can't be a good thing to have a rule in place that's "impossible to officiate."
The good news for players is that Pereira envisions a scenario where refs just eat their flags instead of penalizing players for lowering their helmets.
"You'll see the same things happen with this as we've seen with the crown-of-the-helmet rule: very few calls. I think most of it will be taken care of after the fact with potential fines," Pereira said.
Pereira's biggest problem with the rule seems to be the same problem that the players are having: It's impossible to take your helmet out of the game. To put that in perspective, USA Today's For The Win looked at a Bengals-Steelers game from last season and determined that the new rule could have been called 24 TIMES IN THE FIRST HALF ALONE. That would be an absurd number of personal foul penalties and that can't be what the league wants.
Pereira said he spoke with the NFL's new head of officiating, Al Riveron, and explained that the league was going down a "slippery slope" with the new rule.
"There was a push to get to this point that's been going on for a long time, so while I'm surprised, I'm not shocked. There's more to it," Pereira said. "And I talked to Al Riveron after this happened and I said, 'Please explain to me how you look at this and what are you going to say to the officials?' His point to me was that it's relatively simple. Nothing's simple when it comes to they're educating players or whether it's educating coaches or your own officials. This is a slippery slope, because you can't take the head totally out of the game."
Even if players hate the new rule, NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay said it was something that had to be put in place.
"For us this is a pretty significant change," McKay said at the annual league meeting. "This one technique, we saw so many hits when a player lowered his head and delivered a hit and either hurt himself or the player he was hitting. It was time for a change of this magnitude."
The one thing to keep in mind is that we might not even notice this new rule once the season starts. As Pereira noted, after the crown of the helmet rule was implemented in 2013, there was an initial belief that players would be flagged all the time, but after four years, officials have rarely called the penalty on the field. If that happens with this rule, then you probably won't notice much difference when you watch an NFL game in 2018.
Pick Six Newsletter
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Patrick Mahomes is the clear cut No. 1 overall pick
Baltimore ran the ball on 64 percent of its plays after elevating Lamar Jackson to the starting...
The Panthers quarterback can't have everything he wants after all
From the Patriots' next chapter to the new PI rule, let's break down 12 things to watch
Here's are the prospects fans of the Bears, Packers, Lions and Vikings should keep an eye on...
The second-year running back seems to be making a quick recovery from arthroscopic knee su...