LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots gains yards as Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals defends in the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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NFL Bans Players From Lowering Head to Make Contact With Helmet

The new rule is a "significant change" and it applies to any player anywhere on the field.

In a move that should improve safety but will likely complicate how gameplay is adjudicated, the NFL’s Competition Committee passed a rule banning all plays on which a player lowers his head to initiate contact with his helmet.

“It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent,” the rule states. “Applies to any player anywhere on the field.”

Violating the statute can result in punishments ranging from a 15-yard penalty to an ejection.

According to Competition Committee chair Rich McKay, NFL research has determined a high number of concussions occur on plays when a player lowers his head, resulting in the rule.

“It just seems that players at every level are getting more comfortable playing with their helmets as a weapon rather than a protective device,” McKay said. “Therefore, we need a rule that is broad and puts that in context, and that’s what we think this does.”

When NFL reporter Adam Schefter tweeted out that the rule had been instituted, Oakland quarterback Derek Carr had a humorous response – and also raised a pretty valid point.

Read the full story at ESPN