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Football Use Of Helmet Penalty

Football Use of Helmet Penalty

The use of the helmet is a penalty in football where either an offensive or defensive player tries to use their helmet as a way to initiate contact with their opponent. The use of the helmet is illegal due to the head injury that can occur as a result. The offending player's team is penalized 15 yards and an automatic 1st down is given to the other team.


Definition

The use of helmet penalty, also known as a helmet contact rule, is called if an offensive or defensive player tries to use their helmet as a way to initiate contact with their opponent. One player will lower their head to initiate contact with the use of their helmet.

The use of the helmet is often called if you are lowering your helmet before a hit, you are hitting another player at any time, or if contact with the helmet was clearly avoidable.

The use of the helmet is illegal due to the head trauma that players endure from helmet to helmet hits. In March of 2018, the rule was officially approved by the NFL. The NFL owners voted for this rule with hopes of making the game safer.

Referees and teams are still struggling with this rule due to how new it is. After having 51 penalties called for this rule through 33 of 2018's preseason games, the NFL reconvened and discussed the penalty. It was then established that during games, replays would not be allowed to review this penalty. In August of 2020, the NFL Football Operations changed their rule of the use of the helmet. They added that the penalty will be called if a player initiates contact with the use of their helmet to any part of the opponent.

Result

The result of the use of helmet penalty in football is 15 yards and an automatic first down.

PenaltyNFLNCAAHigh SchoolCFLAFL
Use of Helmet15 Yards, Automatic 1st Down15 Yards, Automatic 1st Down15 Yards, Automatic 1st Down15 Yards, Automatic 1st Down15 Yards, Automatic 1st Down

Penalty Signal

football penalty signal use of helmet

On the penalty signal for the use of the helmet, the referee will put his hand in a fist and put it on the side of his head.

Examples

  • A player lowers their head to make contact with their opponent and uses their helmet to make contact.
  • An offensive or defensive lineman lunges at the opponent using their head.
  • A linebacker and a running back collide into each other using their helmets first.
  • A quarterback lowers his helmet when he is being tackled.

Similar Penalties To Use of Helmet