According To The New Rule, Ravens CB Jimmy Smith Should Be Fined

The tackle box, as defined by the NFL, runs tackle to tackle and up to three yards down the field past the line of scrimmage. Using that definition, Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith should have been flagged for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell late in the Thursday night game.

Bell, as you can clearly see by the screenshots below, is clearly outside of the left tackle and in fact, he’s almost to numbers when Smith uses the crown of his helmet to deliver a hit to the side of Bell’s helmet. In addition to Smith, it also looks as though Ravens linebacker Courtney Upshaw also hits Bell with the crown of his helmet.

Here is what the NFL rulebook says about the new rule.

Article 8: Initiating Contact with the Crown of the Helmet. It is a foul if a runner or tackler initiates forcible contact by delivering a blow with the top/crown of his helmet against an opponent when both players are clearly outside the tackle box (an area extending from tackle to tackle and from three yards beyond the line of scrimmage to the offensive team’s end line). Incidental contact by the helmet of a runner or tackler against an opponent shall not be a foul.

Note: The tackle box no longer exists once the ball leaves the tackle box.

Penalty: Loss of 15 yards. If the foul is by the defense, it is also an automatic first down. The player may be disqualified if the action is flagrant.

The play happened on second down, so a penalty would have put the ball at about three inches away from the goal-line. However, it would of given the Steelers a new set of downs to work with. It’s hard to speculate how things would have transpired from that point on, but it is possible that the touchdown play to wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery could have been used as the two-point play had the Steelers had a couple of cracks at running the ball in with Jonathan Dwyer, who replaced the concussed Bell.

At the very least, Smith should be fined for his hit and quite possibly Upshaw as well. If they’re not, I hope Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, has a good explanation as to why they weren’t. It just goes to show how confusing this new rule is and why the officials are apparently afraid to penalize for it.

Here is a video put out by Blandino earlier in the season that describes the rule.

helmet-to-helmet1

helmet-to-helmet2

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Elijah Stevenson

    It was home field advantage so of course they’ll excuse it

  • AndyR34

    There will be no fine…the rule also states that Steeler runners are still fair game and exceptions to the rule…unless they are the ones using the crown of the helmet. Sort of like the one that says if Brady is tackled it must have been a personal foul.

  • CrazyTerry

    I dont mind if it was not penalized as refs as much as their nitpickin of the helmet off rule. The play wasn’t whistled dead because the TD crossing came as part of the same action he was hit on. If he was running, and the helmet hit him and he was taking more steps to get to the endzone, I can undestand reversing it. And once the ref saw the helmet to helmet hit on the replay, even if he didn’t want to enforce the rule, he should have at lesat said, the guy deserves a TD and overlooked that ridiculous helmet rule.

  • jonathan

    I couldn’t believe that the officials didn’t call a penalty on this. The guys helmet flew off for cryin out loud. And the broadcasters didn’t even talk about if it should have been called. The 2 point conversion looked like face guarding to me . If they would have called face guarding , is the conversion good or is it half the distance to the goal ?

  • 20Stoney

    I don’t think faceguarding is a penalty anymore. Don’t remember the last time I saw it called.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    But the fact is the ravens play dirty football

  • Nolrog

    It’s only helmet to helmet when a Steeler hits the opposition in the shoulder pads. Though, I’m sure the commishoner will find a way to fine James Harrison for something in this game.

  • Notaravenfan

    Really? What about grimey head coach tomlin doing the stanky leg during that kickoff?

  • Nolrog

    I agree. I was surprised they didn’t call a penalty, especially with how they are allegedly trying to reduce head injuries.

  • Anthony Hodge

    Believe me when I say if that was Clark or any other Steeler,it’s a penalty and a fine coming. Ravens get away with a lot of helmet shots but are called tough hits by announcers. Remember Ngata’s hit in the mask of Ben with no penalty but a broken nose?

  • JAMESH

    My dear departed Dad would have referred to that as “chicken-sh¡t.”

  • Mike

    You all are a bunch of cry babies. The Squelers got all the calls all game long. The Ravens D line were having their jerseys ripped off all game and not one holding call was made. If ALL the correct calls were made during the game like Jones getting the TD he deserved before your lowlife coach stepped onto the field then that late drive wouldn’t have mattered because the Ravens would have been blowing them out. If your going to cry about calls look at the whole game.

  • Mike

    Question. Why didn’t Sanders do the Ray Lewis dance after he missed the 2 point conversion? Hahahahahaha

  • Erik Hild

    Bell is leading with his helmet too so it was a good no call

  • Joe murphy

    can’t believe Steeler fans complain about the officiating in this game after Tomlin got away with that blatant cheating. NFL should make him coach from upstairs for the remainder of the season–or suspend him. Fine does not send a strong enough message.

  • Anthony Hodge

    Then I guess every time your whiney “coach” does it too he should be handled the same way. I’ve seen him on the field just like all the other coaches and players. So just write the NFL office about Coach Tomlin and Steeler fans then leave this site forever.

  • Anthony Hodge

    Maybe YOU should look at the whole game because I seem to recall the same thing being done to our D line while your qb threw and avoided a couple of sacks. Jones wasn’t going to score anyway,what an excuse using Tomlin as to why he didn’t score. The game was far from being decided,that’s why your kicker kicked field goals??? Steelers made the adjustments at the half and scored TOUCHDOWNS and almost beat your “lowlife” team at HOME.He got tackled,ratbirds won and it’s over. Like you should be.

  • Anthony Hodge

    Because he would’ve been shot??????? HAhahahahahahaha

  • Anthony Hodge

    So every RB should stand up straight and run it in??? Amazing???

  • eastern

    i am very surprised about the outrage over this. Hard hit to a running back maybe a fine is in order for the ferocity of the hit but the outcome was the same. As for the face guarding penalty, now you are reaching. Other than that most fans of mutual teams seemed to respect this game and the outcome.

  • Steelers4ever

    Bell was running forward with NO ONE in front of him. His head position is irrelevant to this play. Should have been a penalty regardless of who won the game. Fines should be forthcoming. Just like the missing flag, should means little.

  • Justice

    If there is anything that doesn’t make sense, it’s how a play can be called “dead” in midair. The objects/players in motion must be permitted to follow there natural course of action and come to rest; that is the inevitable conclusion of the play anyway. The referees must have been listening to the errant reasonings of the announcers… Very disappointing. The correct call should have been a touchdown. The other calls/no calls I can live with.

  • Mike

    Who scored more? Your right our kicker did kick field goals, enough to WIN. The game is over just like the Squelers season. Hmm sounds like a boring end in Shitsburg

  • Justice

    If there is anything that doesn’t make sense, it’s how a play can be called “dead” in midair. The objects/players in motion must be permitted to follow there natural course of action and come to rest; that is the inevitable conclusion of the play anyway. The referees must have been listening to the errant reasonings of the announcers… Very disappointing. The correct call should have been a touchdown. The other calls/no calls I can live with.

  • Pei Nisiniu

    Panthers fan here. I was watching this game and wondering why in the world Jimmy Smith did not get flagged. It seems so obvious to me that he was leading with the helmet. I appreciate the education on the rules. I actually had no idea that such a hit would be legal inside the tackles. It seems implausible to me that he wouldn’t get fined when this hit was compared to others in which fines have been levied against players who were only careless, and not so directly using the helmet to make the hit.

  • Pei Nisiniu

    This hit should have been called, no doubt in my mind. But I haven’t seen any flags against James Harrison that I didn’t think were deserved.

  • Justice

    If there is anything that doesn’t make sense, it’s how a play can be called “dead” in midair. The objects/players in motion must be permitted to follow there natural course of action and come to rest; that is the inevitable conclusion of the play anyway. The referees must have been listening to the errant reasonings of the announcers… Very disappointing. The correct call should have been a touchdown. The other calls/no calls I can live with.

  • Anthony Hodge

    My point actually…your team won…plenty of football left and you better hope and pray that your bitchamore ratbirds win out or you’ll be joining us on the couch watching others play for the SB.

  • Notaravenfan

    This is seriously the most ridicuous artical I have seen in a while. We have the steelers complaining about a no call from this game. Gonna lay some lumber. Steelers get the helmet to helmet call. Score like they did during the game. Maybe maybe not get the two point conversion. But oh wait earlier in the game the ravens get a td on a jacoby jones return on the kickoff rather than a field goal (biggest no call of the season) since tomlin decided to take the game into his own hands. Helmet to helmet hit doesn’t even matter. Come on man. Also this is ravens vs steelers, most hard hitting game of the season. (Not a raven fan)

  • Notaravenfan

    He never touched sanders that’s why they didn’t call it. Sanders dropped it.

  • Lizard72

    What’s funny is how all these non-Steelers fans all of a sudden show up on a Steelers site making comments.

  • walter mason

    Thanks for your views.

  • JayLocksley

    I don’t understand why Jimmy Smith is getting blamed for the majority of this hit. You need to go watch the replay before you start accusing Smith of doing anything wrong. Just because some biased Steelers site gives a bad angle of the hit it doesnt mean you should believe it. Courtney Upshaw was the one who had the helmet to helmet contact and knocked Bell’s helmet off.

  • CrazyTerry

    NOt exactly. Belll wasn’t leading his helmet into the defender. He was leading his helmet into empty space. THe Ravens guy came from the side. I am not sweating this call as the refs missed the special teams penalty on Tomlin which was a huge call.

  • Mike

    At least you can go to the games and watch your cheerleaders. Oh wait Shitsburg doesn’t have any women that people actually want to see.

  • Anthony Hodge

    Never had them and don’t need…now be a good little troll and keep saying your prayers…and maybe your ratbirds will be able to defend that Lombardi…..Nah,they’ll be watching like the other 30 teams that didn’t make it.

  • Pei Nisiniu

    What’s funny about that? This issue affects NFL football as we know it. It’s part of an ongoing conversation that affects every team.

  • Randy Marsh

    It’s steelers-ravens. There’s going to be big hits and penalties that aren’t called. Remember, this is the style of football that used to be the NFL. Instead of crying about every no-call (that all fans boo when the penalty is on their own team), embrace the rare instances where hard knock football is still being played in the league.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHZzPQOJlDk Cosmo Kramer

    Steelers suck

  • anonisan

    The really funny part is that Steeler and Ravens fans are exactly the same .

  • Andy Creedon

    There is also a new rule that a running backs can’t lead with his helmet. If Bell doesn’t dive down, both Smith and Upshaw are in good tackle zone. They would have to be laying on the ground to be any lower. That was kind of ” Bang Bang “. Besides if you want to complain about non calls that could have been game changers, let’s talk about Stanky legg Tomlin tackling Jacoby Jones…. !

  • Andy Creedon

    Yes …! That was priceless seeing Big Jen with her nose plastered all over her face.

  • Mrcopey2

    Jimmy smith should stfu and bell should’ve got a TD

  • Andy Creedon

    You mean stabbed. Get with it..!

  • Andy Creedon

    Ya exactly..! Except that Ravens fans aren’t classless, clueless, inbreads from Shitsburg..!

  • Anthony Hodge

    Stabbed if Ray was on the field,shot because of the crime rate in Ratville. Get off the board and back to trolling other others.

  • Anthony Hodge

    Yea their inbreads,clueless,classless and trolls. there fixed that for you.

  • Andy Creedon

    I’ll go troll & you can sit your ass down on your coach and watch the RAVENS make their playoffs run …..!

  • Lizard72

    What’s funny is that most people don’t troll privately operated websites dedicated to other teams fans, unless it’s after a bitter rivals game and they want to gloat a bit.

  • Anthony Hodge

    1st ,Proof read your comments troll before posting them,”sitting on your coach”,lol! 2nd don’t worry troll, your crying ass will be there also.

  • Dale Sexton

    It should have been spearing. No arms, leading with the crown of his head. Of course face-guarding should have been called on the 2-point conversion too… but you know, we were in Baltimore.

  • Dale Sexton

    The rule is the running back can’t use his head to blow threw a defender. Bell wasn’t doing that.

  • Colleen Miller

    C’mon Dave Bryan, you’re a columnist. “Would of” should be “would have!”

  • Pei Nisiniu

    Isn’t it possible that someone “Googled” a few key words about a sport they love which is changing with each penalty call, and this forum happened to be the first (or maybe only) link that came up? Why does it have to be trolling in your imagination?

  • mike

    Face it, the raisins play dirty to include their head coach! They had their one year of fame and fortune, now they are back where they should be!

  • mike

    Simply because ray lewis can’t dance. he was a bum and still is a bum–just fact!

  • mike

    Ha! playoff run, naw overthrow joe will see to that

  • mike

    Your head coach does enough whinning for everyone. harbaugh (if fact both harbaughs) show the worst in head coach philosophy. I am no fan of tomlin but the raisins and their coaches are the dirtiest since conrad dobler.

  • mike

    gee if you be one of the whinners from balmur or charm city. how does it feel being in one of the most violent cities in america. you can’t even walk in the harbor anymore without being mugged or shot!

  • Mike

    11 TD 0 pics

  • Mike

    I want to keep talking crap to you people but I feel bad since in Shitsburg your all poor, your football team sucks, and all your women look like men. So I’ll stop

  • Mark Tercsak

    Joe, I’m a steelers fan, I have said he should be fined and suspended a game, I also feel the ravens defender should be suspended for the remainder of the season.

  • Andy Creedon

    Yes… Just like a has for the last 5 years!

  • mike

    Yo, asshole, I live in Pasadena, Baghdad on the Chesapeake is a dump, pure and simple. Whine on! You should be proud of something so here it is–the season is not over yet. They will lose 2 more games at least. You don’t like Pittsburgh, fine, it shows where you taste is.

  • Mike

    Yo stupid. I’m not whining. I’m making fun of all you delusional Squeler fans. I live in Pasadena also which is a nice place to live when your not living in your moms basement and routing for the Squelers because your revolting against all the people that made fun of you in high school. Maybe if you moved to Shitsburg you could get a girlfriend since they have low standards. You can watch the Ravens make their playoff run and think about what could have been

  • mike

    Friend I got news for you. I grew up in Pittsburgh. I am likely older, richer and smarter than you. I own the house and yes it has a finished basement with a bar and some Steelers signage. I have to laugh at you raisin lovers and their pretty purple thingies. Some of us still think of them as the Baltimore Browns. I don’t have to think about what could have been. The Super Bowl trophies are still on display in Pittsburgh (if you ever want to see more than 2). No matter how you cut it B-more is a shithole and maryland is fast becoming the east coast’s outhouse! PS no one made fun of me in high school. You sound like an honor graduate of Chesapeake high school–am I correct?

  • Mike

    First of all I’m not your friend. Second yes I did graduate from Chesapeake and I’m sure you are older then me. I’m sorry that you had to grow up in Shitsburg but obviously you were smart enough to leave and move somewhere nice. Also I doubt your smarter but richer at this moment maybe. Since the Ravens have been in the league we both have 2 and since we are still in contention this season at least I don’t have to live in the past. I started writing on here because I was tired of Steeler fans writing on Bmore posts and I wanted to stir up some trouble. Since I’ve obviously accomplished this I will not be talking to you later.

  • Mark Tercsak

    Joe Murphy. The fact is there was no flag on the Tomlin incident and there should have been. Lets remember one thing that was a minor incident.
    There should have been a flag on the Bell incident which was a major incident, someone could have been very seriously injured the tape clearly shows the Raven defender lowering his helmet as he approached Bell and he struck Bell with the crown of his helmet That is a clear violation of the rules and should have been ejected.
    There were a number of other plays that flags should have ben thrown against the Steelers and the Ravens and they were not.
    Thus the Refs in that game should be fired.

  • Amy

    Okay, so someone answer me this – what if the contact is less than 3 yards from the line of scrimmage? I went back and rewatched the play….it looks to me like the line of scrimmage is at the 3 yd line, and as we all know, the contact happened just short of the endzone.

  • mike

    Idiot!

  • Superdriller316

    Once the RB runs around the LT the RB is no longer in the tackle box. At that point LOS doesn’t matter. You can’t Initiating Contact with the Crown of the Helmet.