Is that what you want, NFL fans? Are you all just blood thirsty maniacs whose one goal in life is to see an NFL player suffer a severe head injury or at worst, even death? What on earth is wrong with you?
I am talking to anyone who is criticising the NFL’s decision to implement a new rule which will penalize any player who leads with the helmet and effectively uses it as a weapon. This rule is designed to keep players safe and prevent any more head injuries, which seem to be on the rise as each year passes. They have a duty of care towards the players and are doing their best to ensure that we – the fans – will actually have a game to watch each Sunday.
Before we go any further, take a minute to watch the first play on the video below. This, in my opinion, is the type of play that the NFL is trying to rule out. The player clearly lowers his head with the sole intention being to hit the defender with his helmet. And pay attention to what happens to the defender on the play. Think the rule isn’t necessary now?
Contrary to what many people are claiming, it will not be a difficult rule to enforce. Take a look at the video below from new vice president of NFL officiating, Dean Blandino, who succinctly explains the new rule:
The referees will be clearly instructed to only penalize those players who have clearly intended to deliver a blow with the helmet. Die to the speed of the game, there will still be cases where player’s heads collide, but as long as there was no intent to lead with the helmet, I am sure we won’t see these sort of plays get called.
It really shouldn’t be any harder for the referees to call than pass interference already is. Pass interference can happen when players are running at full speed, making it extremely difficult to spot who the actual offender was, or if there was a foul in the first place.
Players and coaches just have to accept that some adjustments will need to take place. This rule is coming into effect, and no amount of whining about it will do any good. Kids who are just starting out playing football will need to have this new rule drummed into them, and as the years go by, I really don’t see it being an issue. It’s just something everyone needs to get used to.
I get sick and tired of hearing people talk about political correctness, and accusing the NFL of bastardising the game that has been handed down throughout the generations. Get real. This is, and always will be a fast, furious and competitive games. There are not outlawing tackling, and contrary to what many ill-informed people are claiming, this will never happen. Is there anything wrong with trying to prolong the careers of football players and make the game safer for all those involved?
Let’s give the NFL a chance to implement this rule effectively before we jump to conclusions and start talking about wrong decisions that costs your favourite team a playoff spot. To be perfectly honest, I don’t envisage there being that many calls surrounding helmet to helmet hits. You know why everyone goes crazy when we see hits like the one in the first video above? Because they don’t really happen all that often.
But when these hits do happen, their effects could realistically end a player’s career, or something much much worse.
Is that what fans of the game really want to see?