The rule comes as the league has become more concerned with helmet-to-helmet hits that cause injuries and lead to concussions. 

By Charlotte Carroll
March 27, 2018

The NFL passed a targeting rule Tuesday at the annual NFL owners meetings in Orlando, reports Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. 

The rule will be different than the college rule in that it will be broader: If a player lowers his head and initiates contact, the team will be penalized 15 yards, according to Breer. 

It is not yet defined for ejections, but the league will work on it and present it at the May meeting. Plays will also potentially be reviewable in New York. 

Competition committee co-chair Rich McKay said on NFL Network that the new rule is a "pretty significant change." He added that in the last three years, helmet-to-helmet contact has gone up a lot. 

The rule comes as the league has become more concerned with helmet-to-helmet hits that cause injuries and lead to concussions. 

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered one of the worst injuries this season in Week 13, being carted off the field after trying to make a tackle on Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone. Shazier lowered his head on the tackle and made contact with Malone's thigh pads. He was diagnosed with a spinal contusion, underwent spinal stabilization surgery and will miss the 2018 season with the injury.

The hit Shazier delivered would be flagged with this rule this season.

In college, the rule requires players who target and contact defenseless opponents above the shoulders to be ejected. This is added to a 15-yard penalty.

At the meeting, the NFL owners also voted unanimously to make the proposed changes to the catch rule, redefining what a catch means. 

The league also made changes that allow for the a member of the officiating department to tell refs on the field if players should be ejected from games for non-football acts that are penalized on the field, players on injured reserve to be traded and changes the 10-day postseason claiming period to a 24-hour period along with others.

The NFL also approved a contract extension of its deal with Nike that will now run through 2025 season. 

 

 

 

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