Tyson Alualu #93 of the Jacksonville Jaguars is tackled during the NFL game between Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills at Wembley Stadium on October 25, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

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NFL Helmet Policy Update: “Incidental Contact” Will Not Be Prohibited

The league has clarified incidental contact during a conventional tackle won’t be a penalty.

It hasn’t been talked about as much as the league’s new national anthem policy, but the NFL’s new helmet-lowering rule could prove to be just as big of a pain point for football fans.

With some theorizing the rule – which makes it illegal to for a player “to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent” – could lead to a penalty on every play if called by the book, the league updated the policy with a “note” in the past week or so.

Per the note, incidental contact during a conventional won’t be flagged for unnecessary roughness. Here’s the full text: “This provision does not prohibit incidental contact by the mask or the helmet in the course of a conventional tackle or block on an opponent.”

While that caveat does provide some clarity as written, it adds an extra layer to what NFL refs will have to navigate on the field as they’ll now be forced to evaluate whether a tackle or block was “conventional” or not.

“This leaves the league’s game officials with a jumbled stew of phrases and clauses that they will try to apply in real time, with consistency, accuracy, and reliability,” according to ProFootballTalk. “Amid the unprecedented departure of nearly 25 percent of the league’s referees. With ever-enhancing attention and scrutiny, thanks to the spread of legalized gambling.”

That said, this could all be much ado about nothing as the refs could get an internal directive to call the game in the same way they have in the past. Or, it could change football as we know it.

Read the full story at ProFootballTalk