A new year of football always brings a slew of rule changes.
And while we don’t know which ones will be called during tonight’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Game between the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens (woohoo! football!), the one thing we do know is that change affects players, coaches, and officials – all of whom need to make adjustments before the season starts.
In a sense, they must unlearn what they have learned in previous years of playing the game. And that’s something Vic Fangio is all-too-familiar with as he enters his fourth season as the Bears’ defensive coordinator: “One of the most non-football rules ever put into football was the 5-yard illegal contact rule. If coaches from the 60’s rose from the dead today they would want to go back in their grave with that rule. And we’ve adjusted. I think they’ll eventually adjust,” Fangio said, via JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago. “I don’t know how it’s going to look early. Traditionally with these types of rules, you might see more flags in the preseason, but I really do think it’s going to be a hard rule to officiate.”
Until games get underway, no one is going to know how the NFL’s new rule prohibiting players from hitting with their helmets (which we discussed at length here) will impact players or the game itself. What we do know is that the rule has already had some unintended consequences, which includes keeping Bears rookie linebacker Roquan Smith to holdout and stay away from training camp.
The Bears and Ravens are essentially going to be test dummies tonight … and the football world is watching (and presumably taking notes).