PHOENIX (AP) — NFL owners passed a player safety rule Wednesday barring ball carriers from using the crown of their helmets to make contact with a defender in the open field.
Several coaches and team executives expressed concern about officiating the new rule, but Commissioner Roger Goodell championed it and it passed Wednesday as the owners meetings concluded.
Its passage was the second significant step in protecting defensive players; on Tuesday, the league took the peel-back block out of the game.
“There was a lot of discussion,” Steelers President Art Rooney said of the helmet crown rule, “but the way it was presented was the most effective way to address it.”
The tuck rule, one of the most criticized rules in pro football, was eliminated. Now, if a quarterback loses control of the ball before he has fully protected it after opting not to throw, it is a fumble.
Rooney said the Steelers were the only team to vote against getting rid of the tuck rule.
“We didn’t think it was necessary to make that change,” Rooney said. “We were happy with the way it’s been called.”