The NFL: The No Hitting League?
My Point of View
As a former pro football player (6 years overseas) I have a lot of respect for the NFL and the players who have and do play in the league. I was 5 years old when I started playing football competitively. Playing until I was 31, I only missed one year of playing. From the first day, I can remember my coaches stressing how dangerous of a sport it was. My mother would have preferred that I didn't play. (She saw my older brother break both of his ankles) I chose to play. Even, when I was old enough to understand the dangers and the possibilities of life altering injuries, I still chose to play.
So, with that being said. This article is "strong" filled with my opinion on the status of pro football, it's attempt to stop "vicious" hits, helmet-to-helmet contact, TD celebrations and a few other things. Feel free to comment, whether you agree or don't agree with me.
As I previously stated, this is just me taking advantage of the one thing I am entitled to....My opinion!!
The Hit on WR Desean Jackson
The NFL: Changing the Rules of Hitting
As a former football player, I must first say, there is never a time that any player wants to see another player's career ended because of injury. Now, with that said. Football is a violent sport! Period! Anyone who has ever dawned a uniform will tell you that. There is no "fine line" between the two.
I have watched the the hit on WR Desean Jackson of the Eagles, over and over again. Now, that was a clean hit. The defender led with the shoulder, and he did not make helmet contact. Unfortunately, the receiver was running across the face of a disguised zone and the pass was a "lead" throw to allow him to catch it and continue running. Yes, I was worried. I don't want to see any young man hurt. But, I also know that in playing football, it is always that possibility. Jackson, a game-breaking receiver, is only 175 lbs.(and that is probably with his equipment on) So yes, the hit even looked more vicious. The "big wigs" in the NFL will also argue that he was a defenseless player. But, after reviewing the "defenseless player" rule, it really only covers players whom the ball have been over thrown or the ball had been tipped and there was no chance of a catch. It also clearly states that a defender can't launch himself into the head or neck area of a defenseless player. A receiver who catches the ball, is at that point, no longer covered by the defenseless player rule. (Later in this article, I will challenge that rule and the helmet-to-helmet rule). They also would like to allow for the receiver to catch the ball and put two feet on the ground before the defender can hit him. (SMH)
How to Tackle
Defensive players are taught: as you are approaching your target, lower your hips, place the face-mask in the mid/sternum area, wrap arms around target and drive up and thru the target. All in one motion. Now if the target (offensive player is moving or not, or, if the defensive player is moving or not) is made contact with, this is known as a collision.
Col-li-sion (noun) - (physics meaning) the meeting of particles or of bodies in which each exerts a force upon the other, causing the exchange of energy or momentum.
In it's simplest form, a defender should not allow and offensive player to gain yards. An offensive player should not allow a defender to stop him from gaining yards. And since both are running, in an attempt to do their "job", a collision is inevitable. Collisions are violent. Therefore, how can football be a non-violent sport.
Changing the Game
This past weekend I watched a few games. I saw defenders pulling up from making the "big" hit, and missing the tackle. If you think this doesn't take away from football, you are seriously mistaking. A chance to cause a fumble, or stop a guy perhaps at the one yard line, instead the defender pulls up and misses the tackle. Even worse, he doesn't even attempt to make a play. That never has been or should ever be football!
Helmet-to-helmet shots are dangerous. I will agree with that 100%. But what force of helmet-to-helmet contact is dangerous. In short yardage situations (2 yds or less), a running back is taught to lower his shoulders (and head) and plunge into the the line. Defenders are also getting as low as possible to try and prevent him from gaining any ground. There is helmet-to-helmet contact going on. This contact could create a slight concussion according to doctors. So, do we change the way a running back attempt to pick up 1 or 2 yards?
A defenseless player, is a player who is not in a position to defend himself from a hit, be it offense or defense?Now, they are trying to clamp down on "crack-back" blocks on defensive players. But here is another scenario. As a running back, you are taught that when taking on a defender, give a move to try and get the defender to turn his hips. When he does turn his hips, lower your shoulders and helmet and run him over. Is this not dangerous? Is this not a defenseless player? Some RB's have started taking advantage of the defenders letting up. They will coast like they are about to run out of bounds, then when the defender pulls up, they turn up and run the defender over. Catching the defender in a very vulnerable position.
RB Adrian Peterson violently runs over DB Al Harris
If you watched the previous video and you understand the game of football, you can see why I question some of the new rules. What we will probably get, is defenders taking lower shots on offensive players. Causing more leg (knee) injuries or more broken ribs. This will also cause more defenders to dislocate their shoulders. (Trying so hard to lead with the shoulder, will definitely cause this.)
I am willing to bet that there has been just as many " helmet-hitting the turf " concussions, as "helmet-to-helmet" concussions. But yet, the NFL are still allowing teams to build turf-fields. There are probably more slight concussions that go under the radar, than we would care to know. A lot of times, it's just some smelling sauce and let the player get back out there.
Bottom line, football is a violent sport. As much as we hate to see players get hurt, it is just the nature of the sport. Sure helmet-to-helmet contact is dangerous. Once again, I agree with that 100%. I agree that no player should take a "shot" at another players head.
Now, the league is trying to define a "vicious" hit. If you ask any offensive player, every hit is vicious. Our human bodies were not designed to take that kind of punishment. That is why most athlete's bodies fall apart so fast, their bodies were just not designed to take that kind of punishment. The constant impact into other weighted objects are a sure wear and tear on the back and knees to say the least. So injuries are a definite. Whether, it is now, later in the career or after retirement.
Playing football is a choice. Despite what people would like for you to believe, it is a violent sport. There is nothing soft about it. The NFL addressed the "wedge" on the kickoff, but there are still some "vicious" hits going on out there. Have you ever just paid attention to the outside "gunners" on the punt team? That is nothing short of a "cage match".
The NFL has to be real careful to how they address hitting in the NFL. They will open a door for every player in the NFL saying they don't want to be hit a certain way. Before you know it, the NFL will be like watching some flag or touch football.
I have said all of this. It may appear that I am just trying to stand up for defensive players. So, maybe it will surprise you when I tell you that I was a running back for all but one of the years that I played football. And, the one year that I missed playing, I was playing defensive end and attempting to make a tackle on a running back. He lowered his helmet and jammed my spine, leaving me temporarily paralyzed for three days. I was 10 years old. I chose to come back and continue playing a year later.
Hits in the NFL
Do you think the new "vicious" hits rule will change the game of football?See results without voting
Banning Touchdown Celebrations
The NFL will ban "over" celebrating a touchdown or a big play. Ok, over my few (quite a few) years of scoring touchdowns, I never got into the celebrating thing. I had to work to hard, to be as talented as most of the guys you see on Sundays. I often ran to my offensive line and thanked them. Over the years, I have enjoyed watching players celebrate. But, I do agree that some of the celebrations have gone over board. The sharpie, the cell phone, sombrero and a few others have been just crazy.
But, I have also seen some game changing penalties called on celebrations that were not so rowdy or out of control. I really don't know what the solution is. Stopping it all together or trying to decide what is or isn't over the line.
NFL News and Views.....
This will be brief....
The NFL again will take a look at their replay rule. There are still some plays that are not reviewable, that could be game changing plays. I questioned the replay rule when it was first introduced. I knew that it would only create controversy. Now you got coaches and fans wanting every play reviewed. It can't and won't happen. If so, it would turn a 3 hour game into a 6 hour game. It has helped in some ways. But in some other cases the review was still called wrong and caused a team to lose.
Replays in the NFL
Do you believe the replay rule is taking away from the game of football?See results without voting
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