“It fits good and it’s black and I like it,” Sendejo said, via ESPN. “It’s got a good message.”
Asked what he thought of the new rule, he replied, “I don’t.”
Asked whether the league was making the game less violent, he responded, “Obviously.”
Later on Friday, Sendejo added to his thoughts on the rule via his Twitter account, posting a photo of himself wearing a Vikings helmet that contained an additional face mask at the crown.
“Basically they don’t want you to use the helmet as a weapon,” said Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer, who served on the committee that drafted the rule. “The helmet, when it was first brought in to the league, was for protection and now with some of the crown of the helmet hits, it can be dangerous.”
Thursday night’s first preseason game made for a rocky rollout of the regulation. If players violate the rule, it results in a 15-yard personal foul penalty. Players can be ejected and later disciplined by the NFL for violations deemed to be flagrant.
The Baltimore Ravens were called for two helmet penalties on Thursday. They were also flagged for two other personal fouls for illegal hits, but those did not fall under the purview of the new rule.
“The rule is so simply written but it expands so far, depending on how it’s applied,” former NFL referee Terry McAulay, now a rules analyst for NBC, said on the network’s broadcast of the game.
“Anything with the helmet this year,” NBC color commentator Cris Collinsworth said, “they’re not going to let that go.”