Richard Sherman joined the long list of players unhappy with the NFL’s new helmet contact rules on Sunday.
Under the new rules, a player that lowers his head to initiate contact against an opponent with his helmet will be called for a foul. Even players that initiate helmet contact with an opponent’s torso will be called for a foul, resulting in a loss of 15 yards, and could lead to an ejection.
The San Fransisco 49ers cornerback sounded off on Twitter about the unnecessary roughness rule, which has come under fire during the preseason, for being unfair and impossible to follow.
“To all those [people] including those who made the rule, I want a video of you running full speed and [leading with] anything but your head while also attempting to bring down a moving target,” Sherman said. “You will soon realize it’s impossible.”
While the rules are difficult to adjust to, there are a few things the league believes player can do to avoid being called for a foul. The players are expected to do any one of the following: keeping their faces up while approaching, by hitting the opponent with their shoulder pad, or by controlling their bodies to move the helmet away from the opponent.
With the large amount of fouls called in the preseason, Sherman says that the expected adjustments are unrealistic.
“There is no ‘make adjustment’ to the way you tackle. Even in a perfect form tackle the body is led by the head,” Sherman said. “The rule is idiotic and should be dismissed immediately. When you watch rugby player tackle they are still lead by their head. [The league] will be flag football soon.”
The new helmet rules are a part of what the NFL calls a “culture change” focused on player safety and long-term health.
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