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Jeff Fisher explains ‘crown of the helmet’ rule

Jeff Fisher

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher appeared on the NFL Network today to discuss the “crown of the helmet” rule that was passed on Wednesday at the NFL owners meeting. Fisher is a member of the league’s competition committee that initiated the new rule.

On the new ‘crown of the helmet’ rule being passed:

“The membership was really, really excited. One of the few times that you have heard people clap. This is a very important step in our continuing efforts to emphasize player safety. Our game is safe and has been getting safer over time. The players’ habits, their reactions, their responses to rule changes, you see it on the field. This is just another step in that direction. Some of the discussions we had in the last few days was how it was going to be officiated, how is it going to be coached – those type of things. Every time we make a change like this, there are adjustments to be made and so I think this is a huge victory for the National Football League. Not that we were going to battle against ourselves but it is a great step in the right direction to provide more information for the little guys putting helmets on for the first time all the way up to our level… here how the game should be played, let’s bring the shoulder back, that is what we did.”

On players’ concern this is going to be called too much during games:

“It is not going to be over-officiated. The key thing here is you can deliver a blow with shoulder, with face, with hairline; it is just deliberately striking with the crown [that’s been outlawed.] The helmet is a protective device. We know there is going to be helmet-to helmet contact. The running back has an opportunity to protect the football, lower the head, lower the shoulder, as long as he doesn’t load up and strike with the top of the helmet. That is also the case with a defensive player. There will be forth coming plays and examples of things we want to get out of the game and when you see them, you will say ‘I understand why’…. This is not going to change the game; it is not going to be over-officiated. We are just protecting the players against themselves.”

On once the new rule is explained to players, do you think they will see the benefits of the rule:

“I believe they will, because what they haven’t seen is the process and where process started. With the head, neck and spine committee it was unanimous. With Coach [John] Madden’s subcommittee it was unanimous; with the competition committee it was unanimous… Every step along the way we have been unanimous presenting this proposal. I think if the players knew the amount of time that went into this, they would have a much better understanding.”

On officials being trained on the new rule:

“They are already starting the process of educating officials of what should be called and what not should be called. We don’t want the back officials standing around and every time there is a play in space to be looking for that play or that penalty. We want them to officiate the game and if it comes up, it comes up.”

You can view the entire Fisher interview here.


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