Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press
“It’s going to cost some people some jobs,” Zimmer said, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “Playoffs, jobs, the whole bit, I guess.”
He continued, pointing out nobody has suggested any changes to him with the 2018 season approaching:
“We haven’t had any called on us so far. It’s just hard to figure out. No one has ever said to me, ‘Hey, don’t worry about it, we’re going to call it less or we’ll get it straightened out in the regular season. Or we’re going to come up with a revised rule.’ No one has ever said that.”
According to Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today, the new rule—which was approved in March—will lead to penalties when a player “initiates contact with his helmet to any part of an opposing player’s body.” It can be an offensive or defensive player and result in ejection if the officials deem it too severe.
However, the rule is written broadly and doesn’t focus on intent. It puts officials in a position where split-second judgment calls have to be made with fast-moving targets colliding.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noted NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron said while appearing on PFTPM “there’s always the possibility” when discussing the chance replay may be expanded to include the new helmet rule.
Florio also pointed out Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said the defending Super Bowl champions planned a coaching meeting in an effort to further understand the rule and what is allowed under its guidelines, underscoring the general confusion still present around the league.
Zimmer’s comments come after San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman voiced his dissent toward the rule on Twitter. He included video of a rugby tackle and said it would draw a flag in the NFL and called the rule “idiotic” while explaining the difficulties of adjusting on the fly while tackling:
Richard Sherman @RSherman_25
There is no “make adjustment” to the way you tackle. Even in a perfect form tackle the body is led by the head. The rule is idiotic And should be dismissed immediately. When you watch rugby players tackle they are still lead by their head. Will be flag football soon.
The new rule has already drawn plenty of ire from different sources across the league in the preseason, but that displeasure will surely increase if it does cost people jobs and playoff games as Zimmer predicted.