Skip to content

NFL refs leaning toward calling penalties for new helmet rule

Ronald Martinez / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The NFL's new rules for contact involving helmets caused an immediate stir in last week's Hall of Fame game between the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens.

Referee Brad Allen says that may continue to be a theme of the preseason as the league and its officials try to prioritize player safety ahead of the regular season.

"Frankly, like we alluded to with the preseason, we’re going to have the opportunity to see these plays," Allen said Wednesday, according to Doug Kyed of NESN. "Up until now, we haven’t seen these plays. OK? The players haven’t experienced this rule. We’re going to have to get a library, and frankly, in preseason, we may throw and then go back and say, 'No, this is really not what we want.'"

Related: Ravens unsure what to make of new helmet rule enforcement

Allen added: "In the preseason, we want to err on the side of putting the flag on the ground and then evaluating if it’s correct. We want to be right by the time we get to the season. So, will it be subjective to some degree? I think it will. We have to remember that safety is a priority, but there are a number of fouls that are subjective."

Penalties can be assessed for plays in which players lower their helmets to establish linear body posture, have an unobstructed path to their opponent, or when contact was clearly avoidable and the player had other options.

The regular season will open Sept. 6 when the Atlanta Falcons visit the Philadelphia Eagles.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox