After a week marred by multiple head-on collisions, NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said commissioner Roger Goodell will consider enacting a targeting rule.
Calls for a targeting rule that would eject players who are found to lead with their head in a tackle of a defensless player have been mounting after Monday night's Steelers-Bengals game featured multiple head-on collisions. While the hit that injured Ryan Shazier's spine was not head-one, Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was suspended for one game for leading with his head while blocking Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Cincinatti's George Iloka was flagged for a head-on hit of Antonio Brown and was initially suspended for one game, but his suspension was reversed upon appeal.
Here is the text of the targeting rule that went into place before this year's college football season:
No player shall target and make forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent (See Note 2 below) with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulder. This foul requires that there be at least one indicator of targeting (See Note 1 below). When in question, it is a foul (Rules 2-27-14 and 9-6). (A.R. 9-1-4-I-VI)
Note 1: "Targeting" means that a player takes aim at an opponent for purposes of attacking with forcible contact that goes beyond making a legal tackle or a legal block or playing the ball. Some indicators of targeting include but are not limited to:
Launch—a player leaving his feet to attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust of the body to make forcible contact in the head or neck area
A crouch followed by an upward and forward thrust to attack with forcible contact at the head or neck area, even though one or both feet are still on the ground
Leading with helmet, shoulder, forearm, fist, hand or elbow to attack with forcible contact at the head or neck area
Lowering the head before attacking by initiating forcible contact with the crown of the helmet
The league will also reportedly consider a penalty for "non-football acts," according to NFL.com's Judy Battista. This could be a response to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who dove on a Bills defender after he was frustrated over not getting a pass interference call on Sunday. Gronkowski's one-game suspension was upheld on appeal.