Looks like the new tackling rules are starting to sink in.
Overall, penalties for lowering the helmet to initiate contact dropped 64 percent, according to ESPN Stats & Information tracking. There were nine penalties in 16 games in Week 3, an average of 0.56 per game.
Flags for the NFL's helmet rule have dropped significantly in Week 3 of the preseason, per ESPN Stats & Information. There have been nine calls in 14 games, with two left to play. That's an average of 0.64 per game. In Weeks 1 and 2, the average was… https://t.co/ZZCdd2tQjb
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) August 26, 2018
In the first two weeks of the preseason, officials threw 51 flags in 33 games for an average of 1.55 per game.
This is a penalty in today’s NFL. pic.twitter.com/4p7FfTmnVE
— The Kingdom (@MahomeSZN) August 25, 2018
The sudden drop in helmet-rule calls could possibly be attributed to a competition-committee decision made and announced on Wednesday.
Although the committee declined to change the substance of the rule, it did make clear “that inadvertent or incidental contact with the helmet and/or face mask is not a foul.”
That clarification allowed officials to ignore instances when a player lowered his helmet but largely initiated contact with another part of his body, such as the shoulder or arms.
Helmet rule flags dropped dramatically in week three (after the clarification sent out that incidental contact should not be flagged). Just nine called in the 16 week three games. Pace now 1.22 per game. In preseason, 60 flags, 51 against defense.
— Judy Battista (@judybattista) August 27, 2018
All this political correctness will end up destroying the NFL if they’re not careful. Obviously no one wants to see anyone hurt, but at the same time, football is a contact sport, and trying to tinker with a natural tackling instinct is going to be futile.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t this have been a flag on Jackson for lowering his helmet? pic.twitter.com/56H45I0Wxj
— Evan Winter (@evan_winter) August 21, 2018