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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cheap Shots

OK, not exactly what you may have been thinking but hey, at least the colts kicker was an honest drunk.

Cop: "How much have you had to drink?"

McAfee: "A Lot, I'm drunk !"

But now on to the real meat and potatoes of this post.

I originally was going to post something about how the NFL Helmet has evolved from your basic cover to padded protection to a secure battering ram and how the old school style of helmet, similar to hockey may actually deter players from launching into another player.

But that was already covered fairly well here By Ditka and Paterno.

You can see by the picture(s) below how the helmet has evolved over the decades. If one were to decrease the protected area of the face, that probably would discourage players from launching their heads into other players.

I kind of actually like this idea and think it might work.

Then I got into thinking about how all this hype about the new rule changes is really nothing more than a PR smoke screen.

Let me try to explain my point by taking a moment to mention an analogy. A few years ago there were several instances of over the counter medications being tampered with and tainted with dangerous substances. One of the most notable instances was with Tylenol.

The risk was somebody tainting or altering the Tylenol capsules before they were bought by the general public. Of course this was extremely dangerous and a huge risk to the population.

So what was one of the biggest most noticeable and lasting changes to this and other over the counter medications. Tamper seals and warning labels.

Do these warnings stop somebody from endangering the public?

Do the tamper seals ensure the safety of the product?

But the perception is that they do. And PR wise. Perception is 9 tenths of the law.

And it is a very cost effective strategy because it hardly costs the company anything at all to implement.

Now in regards to the NFL.

Does the 3 strike rule stop players from taking controlled substances?

Do fines stop players from behaving badly or repeating illegal plays?

Are suspensions going to stop helmet to helmet hits?

But this gives the NFL commissioner the smoke screen of caring and doing something to protect the players.

And it does not cost him any money to do this.

I do have an issue with how this was done and the timing and the lack of specifics.

How are you going to determine if the helmet to helmet hit was accidental or not?
Are you going to suspend players the first time and every time and for how long?

A buddy of mine at work had an interesting idea. Perhaps if you suspended a player for as long as the "victim" was kept out? But I can just imagine all the conspiracy theories and warping of the rule by teams, doctors and coaches.

Another one was that we all should have a voting system where the fans get to vote on rulings, plays, and penalties. Again, another bad idea. But this does lead me to my next point.

That the game is changing. It is not the same game it used to be. There is a fear that the game is getting too watered down. That pretty soon we will be watching professional flag football.

Professional football players know the risks involved with their sport. In fact, they prepare themselves for these sort of plays all the time. Lavar talked about this in his article in the Washington Post how he had all the canned answers memorized so he could get back into the game. Answers like "why are you asking me the time? Do I look like I'm wearing a watch?"

My point is that most of the players know how to play the game and know the risks involved. Most fans know how the game should be played and the rules of fair play.

This smoke screen of perception is fine but it does not solve anything. Education will.

Sure injuries will still happen and rules are there to make sure everyone is able to play the game the way it should be played. In Junior football the topic of concussions is just as relevant and in the news as it is everywhere else. We enforce proper tackle techniques every practice and game. To my knowledge, we have not had one instance of concussion suffered by a player in our league.

What we have had is a ton of broken arms and wrists, but not concussions. In fact, we are thinking of putting in a weight regulation into our league because of the increase of broken arms and such. Our county is the only one in our area that does not have this rule and as a result, we have a fair number of players from outside our county playing in our league. But back to my point, no concussions.

I think we should let the players play football the way it should be played. And that we should make sure that fair play rules are taught. Rules like not leading with your head or launching yourself as a missile at another player. And, like the old school coaches said earlier. Reinstate the old style helmets with no face masks.


Dave Miller October 21, 2010 at 1:11 PM  

This just in...

Roger Goodell has announced a change in NFL policy.

Instead of tackling, in an effort to reduce injuries and helmet to helmet collisions, teams will now simply play using the two hand touch below the waist.

Any deviation from this policy will be forcefully with a 10 minute time out for the first infraction, and a loss of television privileges on subsequent violations.

Sam October 22, 2010 at 5:59 PM  

The NFL has cultivated and embraced this hard hitting image since the days of Jack Tatum and earlier. Dunta Robinson's snot bubble on DeSean Jackson was a perfectly legal hit - Robinson led with his shoulder pads and hit Jackson shoulder-to-shoulder. Jackson is 118 pounds, which is why he was damn near killed in the collision.

Brandon Merriweather should have been ejected for his hit on Heap, and SHOULD be suspended. He intentionally tried to cause bodily harm to another player. There's no doubt about it.

James Harrison is simply a dirty player (just look at his "tackles." He always goes for the head shot). Too bad he didn't make good on his tantrum and retire from football. The sport is better without him.

Football is football - in 90% of the cases it will be impossible to know if the helmet-to-helmet hit was intentional. This reminds me of the idiotic short-lived "forced out" rule.

Ironically, MORE players are going to get hurt because of this new crackdown in helmet hits. There will be less concussions, but more injuries, just as you see in your youth football league.

Goodell wants to make the NFL family time around the t.v. on Sundays. It never has been and never should be. It's football. Its pretty sad, really.

By the way, ol' Roger should listen to Ditka and Paterno. Age and experience makes one very wise.

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