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NFL confirms linemen coming out of their stance are subject to new helmet rule

NFPA EVP of Football Ops Troy Vincent explains the helmet rule changes and how they reached the current policy.

When the NFL announced a new rule penalizing any player who lowers his head to initiate contact, an immediate question was whether that would apply to linemen coming out of their stances.

The answer to that question is yes.

NFL head of officiating Al Riveron confirmed to reporters today that linemen who come out of their stances with their heads down and initiate contact with the top of the helmet will be penalized.

According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Media, Riveron was asked today at the league meeting, What if a defensive lineman coming out of his stance initiates contact with his head? “Can’t do it. He’s got to get his head up,” Riveron answered.

So NFL linemen are going to have to make significant changes to the way they do their jobs: In the past, linemen frequently made contact with their helmets when coming out of their stances. Now, they can’t.

Eventually, the NFL might just get rid of the three-point stance altogether. This new rule could be a first step toward that.