- 03/14/2012, 02:35PM ET
Mondo Jay said 03/14, 02:35 PM
Are you not entertained?!
Of course we are!
Watching our modern day gladiators pounding on each other for their own livelihoods and our visceral entertainment has been an American tradition for many decades.
My first impulse upon seeing this topic is to go all old school on it and say "no". I certainly remember a time in the NFL when nearly everything was allowed. Dudes launching into other dudes for knock-out shots and subsequent gridiron glory and a chance for a snippet on the highlight shows listing the most violent collisions of that weekend. Someone gets hurt? Oh well, these guys are expendable and there is a new crop of them coming out every April..
BUT, as I've gotten older (and possibly more mature) I realize how fragile life can be. Granted, these players are willingly putting their health on the line, but are generally at the young age when one feels invincible and future ramifications aren't really a concern.
I don't want to 'pussify' the NFL, but players, helmets and debilitating hits have all gotten bigger...but brains are still vulnerable.
The NFL should protect the players from themselves and outlaw all helmet to helmet contact.
williewilliejuan said 03/14, 11:34 PM
They should ban all helmet-to-helmet contact because some guys got hurt? Why not ban contact altogether? I'm sure fewer players would get hurt. Make them play touch or flag football instead. That pesky running they do results in a lot of leg injuries. Maybe they could just walk briskly instead to avoid possibly pulling a hammy.
This is football we're talking about and football is a contact sport. While most reasonable football fans are supportive of sensible rules designed to increase the safety of players, at some point we have to step back and make sure we don't ruin the game in the process.
There are already rules in place to ban helmet-to-helmet hits against defenseless players. Certainly those rules can be tweaked to broaden the definition of "defenseless" or stiffen the penalties for repeat offenders. However, banning all helmet-to-helmet contact isn't the answer.
Banning all helmet-to-helmet contact would change the way the game is played. Linemen couldn't block the same. Linebackers couldn't stuff the hole the same on a running play. Players shouldn't have to play soft to avoid the possibility of making contact with another player's helmet. That isn't football
Mondo Jay said 03/15, 12:48 PM
The problem with the current rule on helmet to helmet hits is that it is confusing and too subjective. Officials are asked to make split-second decisions when throwing flags and even ejecting players.
Football will still be football even if players are not allowed to use their helmets as weapons. Still the compelling violence with less debilitating concussions and neck injuries.
Obviously, when the league watches hits on tape with the benefit of slow-mo, the fines can be levied with better clarity, but there is still too much subjectivity involved.
The NFL needs a uniformed ban on helmet to helmet contact to simplify the decision on when to penalize, fine & suspend players. The league protects their biggest assets (players) & this change will force (hopefully) players to get back to fundamental tackling and blocking without leading with their helmets and risking serious, brain-mushing injuries.
When I was growing up and learning the game we were taught never to lead with your head because it was a great way to cause injury (often to yourself). Football was still fun, compelling and very physical.
williewilliejuan said 03/15, 09:07 PM
Not many of us would take a "pro brain injury" stance on this issue. Unfortunately, the solution you suggest suffers from the same problems as most legislative responses to issues: it is overbroad and will cause too many unintended consequences.
Like you, I played football as a kid and was taught never to lead with the crown of my helmet or use my helmet as a weapon. However, my teammates and I also took great pride in the "stick marks" that accumulated on our helmets and viewed them as badges of our skill on the field. We did so because they were symbols of who was playing a lot - the cleaner your helmet, the less likely you got much playing time.
What we understood and the proponents of this rule apparently do not is some amount of helmet-to-helmet contact occurs on virtually every play, most of which is incidental. If we were to ban all helmet-to-helmet contact, there would either be a penalty on every play or people would have to radically change the way the game is played.
A better solution is to ban dangerous or intentional helmet-to-helmet contact, but leave incidental contact alone. Outright bans are rarely a good solution. A more measured approach is better.
Mondo Jay said 03/15, 10:13 PM
My opinion on Helmet to Helmet collisions certainly differs from Willie's: "I hate the brain" stance. (paraphrased) ~~
Officiating H to H would be similar to a holding call: Yes, some level of it (the infraction) occurs on every play, and yes, all holding is illegal, but officials would naturally focus on the most obvious and egregious occurrences. The game itself would not change. (Except perhaps the disturbingly nasty "bounty" culture fading)
The soul of the NFL is one of essentially unbridled violence. I love it for that, but today's players are bigger, stronger and faster than they have ever been before and unfortunately, the brain isn't bigger or stronger. Instead, it is a soft organ that is very vulnerable to debilitating damage created by countless collisions with helmeted human wrecking balls.
The NFL will benefit from protecting it's players. The players will greatly benefit from not having their brains ****-ed up. Players will learn to execute proper technique (in time) and long gone concepts like sportsmanship could even return to the gridiron.
Stop 'Open Season' on the Brain!
~Always a pleasure WWJ~
williewilliejuan said 03/15, 10:48 PM
You must have been a defensive back when you played football, because you're backpedaling like a champ...
In your second argument, you said that the problem with the current rule is it is too subjective and the NFL needs a uniform rule to know when to penalize, suspend and fine players. Then, in your third argument, you say the officials should only call penalties for the most obvious and egregious occurrences. That sounds pretty subjective to me (it also sounds a lot like my argument).
If we only want officials to call a penalty for helmet-to-helmet hits that are dangerous or intentional, we should only outlaw hits that are dangerous or intentional. Crafting broad rules we don't expect the officials to follow doesn't make much sense. They should craft the rules to ban the specific behavior they want to enjoin.
The NFL already has rules in place to ban helmet-to-helmet hits against defenseless players. If they feel that the current interpretation omits some cases that should be banned, the correct course of action is to broaden the definition of defenseless player rather enacting a rule we don't expect officials to follow or would change the way the game is played.
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