The NFL passed an unpopular rule to prevent running backs from leading with the crown of their helmet when initiating contact with a defender outside the tackle box. The rule has received backlash from players and fans who disapprove. Coaches and league executives, as well as medical personnel, say the rule is necessary to protect the health of the players.
Houston Texans All-Pro running back Arian Foster said on ESPN Radio New York, via Sports Radio Interviews, it could take a few years to adapt to the rule changes.
“They implement new rules every single year. I like the game the way it was. I understand they’re trying to make a statement, but this is one of those things where they’re trying to put their stamp on this league. Like I said, I liked the way it was, but you can’t really argue with the people that want to change the rules.”
“That play doesn’t come into play a lot with my running style, but you have guys like Adrian Peterson, guys that really are hard runners and try to create that contact. This is gonna affect them more than it will myself. But I find myself sometimes lowering my head and lowering my shoulders. It’s just, you’re not gonna think about the rule changes. We’ve been running like this since we were kids. … They want us to change that mentality in one offseason, it’s gonna be tough. I was never a fan of all the defensive rule changes also — where you can’t lead with your helmet or the facemask — because guys have been tackling like this for years. I was never a fan of that, and I’m definitely not a fan of this.”
“I would have to think a couple years. (to change styles) Because like I said, running styles, especially as a running back, it’s more instinctive than it is strategic. And we’ve been doing it for so long that you have to train your body to run a certain way. So after a while it just becomes second-nature. So a lot of these guys are gonna have to snap out of their second-nature reactions and think before they run into guys. … I’m not a fan of this.”
“I think if you say, ‘I’m gonna do what I gotta do,’ I think you’re being selfish and I think you’re gonna hurt your team like that, because you could have a 20-yard run and you get a 15-yard penalty because you led with the crown of your head and that brings your team back. … And I think that’s how my coaching staff and my organization’s gonna approach it. We’re professionals and these are the rules and the guidelines we have to play under. We all signed up for this thing together and they implement new rules and rule changes all the time. This is the way we have to do it. It’s just part of the game. Rule changes are part of the game. So I’m not one to take a stance on anything if it’s gonna hurt my team. So if it’s all for the betterment of my team I’m gonna do it, but if you ask me my personal opinion about it, I think it’s weak.”