Chappy: So what do you guys think of the NFL putting down its foot on helmet to helmet hits? Honestly, I don’t agree with it. It’s a league that thrives on huge hits and contact, and although I’m fully for protecting guys I think it’s just part of the game. In those milliseconds before contact they aren’t thinking about if a hit is legal or not. They are trying to separate the ball from the receiver or get the ball carrier to the ground, so if that’s an objective of the game why is it so illegal because some guys are getting concussions? Is it really even that much more of a problem than years past?
Cali4Dre: I totally agree, and overreaction for sure. These guys are grown men, let them make their own decisions. They can easily hurt themselves just as bad or worse than the person they are hitting (Dunta Robinson, Kevin Everett). Wide Receivers and TE’s don’t have to play football if they don’t want to, there’s plenty of other guys willing to take their shot at glory, which is why they are out there in the first place. And I believe the NFL has turned itself into the biggest hypocrisy imaginable, profiting from players while trying to mandate the way they hit to protect their own liability. The best argument I heard was this morning on ESPN, Mark Schlereth absolutely went off on the NFL and they’re double standards, the fact that they don’t even offer medical benefits to a guy like him after he retired with 19 surgeries due to injuries, yet they make billions off of the players and their image as a tough sport.
Chappy: Oh nice! I wasn’t completely sure how the players felt, but after hearing Harrison pondering retirement because of his fine, it’s great to hear that Schlereth ripped the NFL. It totally feels like a double standard. The league was built on tough guys and contact. I agree that the players know the risk/reward of playing or they wouldn’t be out there. It’s sad they say that they are trying to make it safer, when they don’t even support their own after they retire. I like TMQ’s idea of hiring some scientists to design better helmets that protect more. I never really liked how they baby QB’s, and we’ve seen how it changed the league to a pass happy one. If they make more rules like this are guys even going to be able to defend at all? I guess it might be good for gambling in that you can always pick the over!
Cali4Dre: I agree with how ridiculous babying the QB has gotten… I mean the whole “blow to the head” thing kinda sucked, but whatever, and then came the “diving into the knees” rule because of Palmer and Brady’s injuries. Lame lame lame. Neither was on purpose, both were because the defender was being blocked into the ground and they hustled to get that close to the QB. Maybe they should force the defenses to count to 5 alligators before they are allowed to rush the QB as well…
Chappy: This whole thing has me wondering what the NFL really values. Do they value WR’s and QB’s more than everyone else? It sure is starting to feel like it! In a violent sport injuries are going to happen no matter what you do. Maybe they are just trying to distance themselves from that fight league!
Cali4Dre: They protect lineman’s knees as well, you can’t get chop blocked while your engaged with another blocker. And they wiped out vicious crack-back blocks as well, ala Hines Ward.
Chappy: It’s sad that the flag football Lingerie League might have more punishing hits than the NFL after this. I wonder if all of this is a ploy to say hey guys, now that we have these rules to prevent injuries, can we play an 18 game season now? If I were the players union, I’d say drop those rules and we’ll keep playing with the vicious hits in a 16 game season!
Cali4Dre: I see your point. It also seems that the NFL is trying to split the league in half by pitting the offense against the defense. I think Schlereth, while he was all excited/upset during his rant, suggested it would be interesting if the players all went out on Sunday and played two-hand touch as a show of solidarity.
Chappy: Haha, that’s hilarious, I’m going to have to find that interview tonight when I’m off work! Good luck splitting up the offense and defense NFL. Remember the opening game of the year when the players from the Vikings and Saints all stood there with their fingers in the air saying they were united as one? I think that should show there’s no way the NFL can pit offense and defense against each other. I don’t see how they can keep making rules that only help the offense; it’s just getting out of hand!
By: That’s a great idea by Schlereth! Was watching SportsCenter last night, and they touched on how Clinton Portis said that if the NFL takes away these hits, there will be more broken tackles, and offensive players will run free, which is not fair. That’s coming from a RB who got knocked out of the season with a concussion.
I’m in favor of cracking down on vicious hits, but only if they’re the obvious illegal ones, and by obvious I mean the defender uses his forearms as a weapon and goes to the head, etc. And I mean goes to the head, not like he jumped forward to lay down the lumber, and then the offensive player happened to duck or lower his head to be horizontal with the defenders forearms, or some shit like that. That’s not intentional.
I felt the hit on DeSean was a clean play, just a freak accident. James Harrison’s hits were while the receivers were lowering their heads to line up with his tackle, only Merriweather’s hit seemed intentional and warranted a fine, but not $50,000.
Not a fan of these new changes.
Cali4Dre: I do think that some hits are a little too vicious, but I don’t think players should be worried about it. I think a player should be fined only when they cause another player to miss a game because of a blow to the head/concussion. Not for normal injuries that happen during the course of a game, and not when a runner puts his head down going into a tackle or pile. Only when it’s a deliberate vicious hit that could have been avoided. If a player misses a game, I think the offender should have to pay the victim’s salary for that game.
By: That’s a good idea, only problem is, what if you’re third string corner lays a hit on a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, and that fine is like 1/2 their pay check!?
Especially since they’re babying that position, any hard hit might be deemed “vicious” and “intentional” … The NFL has opened Pandora’s Box here.
Football is a physical sport, hard hits come with the game. This is why a lot of offensive players are supporting the defensive players on this issue.
It’s like if the NBA removed dunking now, even the players who can’t dunk would be against that move. I’m not surprised one bit.
Chappy: Yeah, I think that’s the biggest point. Players shouldn’t have to worry during a play that they will get fined by how they are tackling/hitting a guy. What I find more ridiculous about the fines is that during these games none of these hits were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. What kind of mixed message does that send? The ten refs on the field didn’t think it was flag worthy, and after the game when the NFL looks at the plays in super slo mo from thirty different angles I’m sure it looks like he meant to do it, but the only reason it looked that way was because he was trying to hit him. That’s his damn job!
Cali4Dre: I think that’s the perfect reason for fining them the victim’s paycheck, to prevent them from doing that. It’s never happened so far (I didn’t think Tom’s injury was dirty, just unfortunate). The NFL is still a business and had got to protect their product, which means they have to protect their stars like Tom Terrific and Pey-tee-poo. You can still hit them hard, imho, just not in the head and not to where they are forced to miss a game.
By: I definitely see where your coming from, as you said the NFL is a product, and they must protect their main assets. But I’m just worried if they begin to fine players (especially if it’s for a player’s salary for missing a game) then defenders will no longer play off instinct, because as much as you want to hit a star player when you get a chance, you’ll definitely hold up if you’re worried that you might lose a big chunk of your very own salary. It changes everything, in the heat of the moment; it’s hard to differentiate between hard “acceptable” hit, and one that might be too far. As recent proof by the NFL and how they’re dealing out these fines.
Cali4Dre: I don’t think the players will hesitate to the point they will let the guy run right by them, I think they will adjust to the way they are actually supposed to hit people: not in the head. I was trying to come up with a valid metaphor, but it’s hard. Then I thought about driving…
There’s a speed limit in place because the authorities have decided that this is a safe speed at which to drive. Everyone should follow this advice and everyone will be a lot safer. If you don’t, you run the chances of receiving a ticket, a fine, and possible suspension of license. Now, you don’t HAVE to drive the speed limit if you don’t want to, you can risk it and hope you don’t get caught and don’t put anyone else in harm’s way in the meantime. You and I both know that an aggressive driver, or impatient, will want to get from point A to point B as fast as possible.
I liken this to a Defensive player trying to tackle a player, or separate man from ball. You can do it the safe way, with a form tackle below the shoulder pads and above the knees, leading with your shoulder or with the front of your helmet. Or you can risk it and gamble that the hardest possible hit will work, aiming for a head shot or trying to tackle with your head down and risking your own spinal cord, all the while definitely putting the other player at serious danger. Or as Harrison put it: Hurt the other player.
You know what would work best of all??? If players went back to using leather helmets without face masks! I wonder how many Donta Robinson or James Harrison type tackles we would see then, if they were just as exposed and not hiding behind a ton of protective gear.
Chappy: Love the analogy, but still can’t fully agree. I think that they don’t have enough time to decide those kinds of things in a split second. Maybe they stumble a little and it makes them put their helmet down right before contact. I just feel like there shouldn’t be a hand guide to the way you get a guy to the ground. I totally understand the horse collar tackle getting outlawed, but that’s a much easier one to avoid because the offensive player is obviously in front of the defender. On these over the middle plays you have to hit the guy hard if you want to break up the play especially if you can’t get to the ball, it’s the only way left to defend. Not hitting that guy over the middle and letting him catch the ball in fear of a fine is the same as letting someone run past you…
I really like your theory on the leather helmets. Maybe we should go back to the old days… Rugby players don’t wear helmets, and as far as I know they don’t have concussion problems.
By: But part of laying a player out with a good, clean hard hit is the fact that it intimidates someone from going down the middle, or makes a player hesitant to reach out and make a catch. A lot of players tend to alligator arm balls after getting their bell rung.
You take away the threat of the big hit, and advantage offense. Even I wouldn’t be scared of a good solid form tackle when coming across the middle if I were a wide out.
Once again, I see your points, and adjusting to the rules can happen, I mean look at the hand check rule in the NBA, but I’m just not all for it.
Cali4Dre: So hit the guy, or go for the ball, either one. Just don’t try to knock him unconscious by going for his head.
But it’s already in the rules, they are just adding extra enforcement. It’s already in the rules that you can’t hit viciously or to try and hurt someone.
By: I agree don’t go for the head, but those hits that drew fines this Sunday, those players weren’t head hunting (aside from maybe Merrriweather) …
Chappy: I guess I never really thought of it as a rule because they NEVER enforce it through penalties, and only with fines. If coaches are yelling at their players because they cost the team 15 yards, I’m sure the whole going for the head will end sooner than later.