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Why there will be more flags thrown this NFL preseason

Ryan Hannable
August 08, 2018 - 5:06 pm

FOXBORO -- As if preseason games weren't long enough, they might be getting even longer.

One of the biggest rule changes this season was the helmet rule, which is going to be a big point of emphasis. 

Here is how the rule reads: “As approved by NFL clubs in March, it is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. Contact does not have to be to an opponent’s head or neck area – lowering the head and initiating contact to an opponent’s torso, hips, and lower body, is also a foul. Violations of the rule will be easier to see and officiate when they occur in open space – as opposed to close line play – but this rule applies anywhere on the field at any time.​"

There is a lot of room for interpretation and speaking to the New England media Wednesday, NFL referee Brad Allen noted the preseason will be a time for the officials to get a better idea of exactly how to call it, and within his explanation he noted more flags will be thrown.

“In the preseason, we want to err on the side of putting the flag on the ground and then evaluating if it’s correct," Allen said. "We want to be right by the time we get to the season. So, will it be subjective to some degree? I think it will. We have to remember that safety is a priority, but there are a number of fouls that are subjective.” 

The hope is everything becomes more clear by the time Week 1 rolls around.

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