New NFL rule prohibiting helmet contact dubbed a ‘significant change’

Posted at 10:58 PM, Mar 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-27 22:58:30-04

Trumaine McBride of the New York Giants is injured after this helmet to helmet hit. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Consider it a weapons ban.

Tuesday, NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay announced any hit on which a player, offensive or defensive, leads with his helmet – using it as a weapon, will be a penalty. Depending on the severity of the hit, the player in

violation of the targeting rule could be ejected from the game.

“For us this is a pretty significant change,” McKay said during a news conference at the Annual League Meeting in Orlando, as reported by “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,” McKay said. “It was time for a change of this magnitude.

Cassius Marsh of the Seattle Seahawks hits his helmet against quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) reports the league plans to bring coaches, players and team officials to New York at some point in the next couple months to work out enforcement specifics regarding the rule.

Per, the NFL has made 49 rule changes since 2002 to protect players, improve practice methods, better educate players and personnel on concussions and strengthen the league’s medical protocols. The NFL deploys 29 medical professionals on the sidelines for each game. Working with the NFL Players Association, the league enforces a concussion protocol for players that has been instrumental in immediately identifying and diagnosing concussions and other head-related injuries.