The NFL may have an easier time determining what is a catch this year. Everything else? There could be a never-ending amount of confusion. The league did clean up and clarify its catch rules but added some others to the rulebook this year. They changed kickoff formations in an attempt to make it a less violent play, essentially turning it into a punt. Going another step further, the league outlawed helmet-to-helmet contact across the board, with the possibility of ejection for any such hit.
But the NFL has done a poor job clarifying both rules, especially the latter, leaving some concerned about how it’s going to play out when the games matter. The experts over at Football Zebras, a Twitter account and author on all things rules-related expressed some serious concern for how the league is going to handle things. He sent out these two tweets on Wednesday.
This also came on the heels that former VP of Officiating Mike Pereira’s interview with NFL Network to talk about his veteran’s foundation was abruptly cancelled by the league, evidently because they didn’t want to discuss rule changes.
The account isn’t associated with the league but they know the ins-and-outs of the rulebook, and its changes, as well as anybody not wearing the NFL shield. So if they’re concerned, we should be too.
It’s been a messy process for the league since unveiling the helmet-to-helmet rule. They basically said it was going to be enacted before laying out any of the groundwork for what exactly the rule is and how it’ll be enforced.
Kickoff changes will probably be ironed out soon enough, though the league’s updated wedge rules can make things a little murky. But the helmet-to-helmet changes are for bang-bang plays with serious consequences, the threat of ejections, and if the league can’t clearly establish what is and isn’t a foul, players are going to be more hesitant tacklers. And that doesn’t make them safer.