NFL Adds Harsher Penalties, Possible Ejections, for Hits Using Crown of the Helmet

The NFL expanded its rules for hits with the crown of the helmet.


Photography by Greg Nelson /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images


On Tuesday, NFL owners passed a new rule on the continuously debated subject of targeting with the crown of the helmet. Washington Post NFL writer Mark Maske reports that the league will now assess a 15-yard penalty for the player who initiates contact by lowering his head. As is the rule in college, that player can then be ejected by the refs if it's deemed severe enough. However, unlike college, it does not appear that replay will be in place to confirm.

Adam Schefter adds that the tweak is intended to combat the rise in helmet-to-helmet shots over the past three seasons:

Also approved was the ability for the league's officiating department to kick players out of games for "non-football acts," even if it overrules refs on the field:

According to ESPN, this rule was put in place as a response to both Rob Gronkowski's unnecessary hit on Bills DB Tre'Davious White...

View this video on YouTube well as this hit from Bucs WR Mike Evans that led to a Tampa/New Orleans scuffle:

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