Published 9:19 PM EDT Oct 1, 2018
The NFL can't say or do enough in its avowed commitment to player safety — especially when it comes to saddling players like Clay Matthews with dubious roughing-the-passer infractions.
Yet then one watches Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt barreling through Broncos safety Justin Simmons in the first quarter Monday night for a 27-yard gain — and, make no mistake, Hunt lowered his head to make his upper body parallel to the ground while using the crown of his helmet as a battering ram — and ... no flag.
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Verbatim from the NFL's new "Fact Sheet — Use of the Helmet" guidelines:
"The Rule: As approved by NFL clubs in March, it is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. Contact does not have to be to an opponent's head or neck area — lowering the head and initiating contact to an opponent's torso, hips, and lower body, is also a foul. Violations of the rule will be easier to see and officiate when they occur in open space — as opposed to close line play — but this rule applies anywhere on the field at any time.
"Penalties for Violation: Loss of 15 yards. If the foul is by the defense, it is also an automatic first down. The player may also be ejected. Ejection 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"
If Hunt's run wasn't a textbook violation under those new points of emphasis, then nothing is.
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