PHOENIX - While his Pro Bowl running has been of the staunchest opponents of the NFL's ban on using the crown of the helmet, Bears chairman George McCaskey is one of the staunchest supporters of the measure that was overwhelmingly passed Wednesday at the NFL Owners meeting.
"If this means he gets fewer yards, if this means sometimes he doesn't get that first down, then I'm proud to have voted for a rule that might mean less of a chance that he suffers a serious head or neck injury, a greater likelihood that he's available to play the next week," McCaskey told the Sun-Times. "And, most importantly, increases the chances that his post-career health is better."
McCaskey acknowledged that there's the possibility that the rule could be "over-officiated." But he can live with that.
"To me, the benefits are so much greater than that minimal risk," he said.
On Sunday, Forte took to Twitter and insisted the proposal "might be the most absurd suggestion of a rule change I've ever heard of."
After the owners voted 31-1 to pass it Wednesday, Forte wrote, "Wow.
"So they really passed that rule... last time I checked football was a contact sport. Calling bank now to set up my lowering the boom fund."
Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay said both players clearly have to be outside the tackle box and that the rule applies to both runner and defender.
"It applies when that runner or tackler ducks his head and delivers a forcible blow with the top or crown of his helmet," said McKay, the co-chair of the NFL's Competition Committee.
Later, Forte joked that they would ban jumping over defenders next year.