Former NFL vice president of officiating and current Fox Sports analyst Mike Pereira says the new rule introduced Tuesday that will penalize or even eject players for lowering their helmets to initiate contact will be "impossible to officiate."
"You’ll see the same things happen with this as we’ve seen with the crown of the helmet rule: very few calls," Pereira said in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I think most of it will be taken care of after the fact with potential fines."
Pereira wasn't surprised there was a change made given the number of injuries this past season, but he compared the new rule to how players and officials reacted when the crown of the helmet rule was introduced in 2013.
“Two were called the very first year and they were both wrong, and there were none called in the two years after that," Pereira said of the crown of the helmet rule. "I see these things happen, I see these rule changes, and I don’t want to call it hysteria, but there is to me a bit of overreaction.”
The new rule, which replaces the crown of the helmet rule, was approved unanimously by league owners in Orlando earlier this week in hopes of improving player safety.
"For us this is a pretty significant change," NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay said in Orlando. "This is not situational protection. ... In this, we're basically getting to a technique that is just too dangerous for both the player doing it and the player that's getting hit.
"This has very little requirement to it. This is simply if you lower your head to initiate contact and you make contact with an opponent it's a foul."
The new rule comes after NFL’s research showed a 13.5 percent increase in diagnosed concussions from 2016 to 2017, McKay said.