NFL officials missing on enforcing 'crown of helmet' rule

Gregory Shamus

NFL officials are still struggling to accurately enforce the new rule.

The National Football League released a video this week to the media stating that officials had missed twice on the new rule against delivering hits with the crown of the helmet, according to Pro Football Talk.

In the video, NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino stated that officials had thrown a flag when it was not warranted and then, separately, had missed on a call that should have been penalized.

San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner was hit with a 15-yard penalty by referee Terry McAuley, but Blandino stated that contact was actually with the shoulder and not the crown of the helmet. In a separate game, Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer slammed Chicago's Chris Conte with crown of his helmet, yet no flag was thrown on the play. Dwyer was fined $21,000 for the hit.

The new rule was instituted prior to the start of the 2013 season, prohibiting a runner or tackler from delivering a forcible blow with the crown of his helmet outside of the tackle box. This forcible blow could be to any part of the body and still be penalized if primary contact is made with the top of the helmet in a deliberate fashion.

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