NFL Owners Pass New Targeting Rule; Plays May Be Reviewable in New York

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2018

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 25:  A detailed photo of the official logo for the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 25, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images

NFL owners passed a rule regarding targeting Tuesday. 

According to the Washington Post's Mark Maske, the new rule states players will be penalized 15 yards if they lower their helmets to initiate contact. Officials will reportedly be able to eject players if they deem the foul severe enough. 

The initial interpretation of the rule states officials will not review the fouls, but that is subject to change. 

Brian McCarthy of the NFL's public relations department relayed the exact wording of the rule following Tuesday's vote: 

"This is a pretty significant change," Atlanta Falcons president and competition committee chairman Rich McKay said, according to Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith. "We felt it was time for a change of this magnitude."

Specifically, McKay cited the higher rate of head-on collisions as the driving force behind the rule's creation. 

"In the last three years, our helmet-to-helmet contact has gone up—a lot," he said, according to The MMQB's Albert Breer

The change, born out of concern for player safety, is the closest the NFL has come to embracing the NCAA's targeting rule. 

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In college football, players are penalized for hitting defenseless opponents above the shoulders. If the penalty is upheld upon review, the player is automatically ejected and can face a possible suspension.