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New NFL hitting rules

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Thoughts?

Personally, I think Stewart Scott summed it up best this morning on SportsCenter:

You are not "sentenced" to play football, it is a choice.

I agree wholeheartedly with his assessment. They know the risk when they step on the field, obviously excluding malicious intent from one player to another (which I bet is exceedingly rare).

The hit on DeSean Jackson from Philly? To me, legal hit and a GREAT ONE. From day one, people are taught to put a facemask on the shoulder pads, wrap and drive. In this case, the Jackson was in the air. When you hit someone who is in the air, they are going backwards. When he begins to go backwards, the helmet is going to slide up the pads and contact the other player's helmet.

While the aftermath is extremely unfortunate, he knew the risks when he put his jersey on that day. It's not like a citizen walking down the street and being mugged. There is no realistic assumption that something bad may happen in that situation. Football, pro football specifically, is the exact opposite of that.

The hit on Baltimore's Todd Heap by the Patriots D-back? Totally illegal and completely different from the above mentioned hit, IMO. He obviously launched himself into the head of an opponent as Heap was being tackled by another player. Personally, if he would have kept his feet under him and ran through Heap and the other defender I would have ZERO issue with the hit.

Inevitably, someone will bring up James Harrison and his two massive hits on the Browns yesterday. Again, I see this as a football play and not a malicious attempted to permanently injure someone. Just like Harrison said, "I play to hurt the other guy, not injure them. There is a difference."

Civil discussion please... :)

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How can you control such a violent sport , these guys have been taught from the peewee's on up to put a hurtin on someone and to hit them so hard that they don't want to get up.

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Boats dont have brakes, and neither does a 220# guy running a 4.5 40

These hits are bound to happen. Except for the hit on Heap. If you you all can remember the hit put on some guy by Warren Sapp after in interception a few years back, that should be a suspension.

A guy going in to break up a play is part of the game.

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All true but somehow they need to distinguish between a malicious hit and just playing football. I am afraid they are not willing to do that due to the consequences. Ditka summed it up quite well last night. He said in the 70's a helmet to helmet hit was unheard of. It is due to the improvements of the helmet. They would not hit that way in the 70's but give a man a weapon and look what happens. I had a few concussions when I played until I wised up. Helmets did not protect the way they do today.

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I don't mind them suspending people for the blatant and obvious hits.  If some dude does it intentionally, then fine.  I hope they don't start nailing people for the accidental ones though.  All you can do is turn your head one direction.  You can control which way the other guys head goes when you both go down for the impact.

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I'm even ok with the possibility of a booth review to some extent.

Granted, you can't read someone's mind through a replay but you most certainly can determine malicious intent.

They are saying the hits are going too high? Just wait until it's not only D-backs going after a runner's knees.

Can you imagine what Ray Lewis or James Harrison would do to someone's legs if they launch themselves low instead of high? Same potential result as a head hit: Life altering injuries.

They get paid well to be our modern day gladiators, much like boxers and MMA fighters. All three are violent, violent sports with inherent risks and rewards. When you weigh those risks and rewards, I would be willing to bet all but a few would continue to play the game as it currently is.

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As long as they are not targeting the head or knees I don't care how hard they hit them. I like how the NHL just implemented the "Marc Savard Rule" as well.

The athletes are faster and stronger than ever before and the technology of protection wear cannot keep up with it.

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Steven Dubner (Freakonomics fame) had a podcast about this very issue.  They discussed how increasing the effectiveness of the safety equipment has resulted in players using their bodies more as weapons than they ever did before.  It's a process that is not sustainable and the NFL needs to address it before someone gets seriously injured (ie paralyzed) again.  The players do sign up for the risks, but the NFL as a product will be hurt significantly if a player gets paralyzed because they allowed these hits to continue.

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I'd say the obvious ones (like Heap getting nailed on Sunday by Merriweather) should be punishable. The close calls, like DeSean's, should be left alone. People are going to get hurt, they know that, it's going to be impossible to stop.

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I thought the one on Jackson was clean. The two of them were just running full speed, directly at each other and neither turned or moved out of the way. A full blown direct head on collision like that rarely happens.

The Merriweather/Heap one was different and you see more and more of that lately, mostly safeties, but some linebackers as well (i'm talking about you Harrison) that just go for the other guy's head, be it with shoulder pad or top of the helmet. Ray Lewis does it alot too. They're getting away from form tackling and now just trying to make the "big hit" for ESPN or the film session. It is a violent sport, but these headhunters have no place in it. I would think that players would police it somewhat, being that it's their careers on the line, and show a little professional respect.

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And the Sapp hit wes on Chad Clifton of the Packers and was total BS. It put Clifton out for the season and he hasn't been the same since.

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Steven Dubner (Freakonomics fame) had a podcast about this very issue. They discussed how increasing the effectiveness of the safety equipment has resulted in players using their bodies more as weapons than they ever did before. It's a process that is not sustainable and the NFL needs to address it before someone gets seriously injured (ie paralyzed) again. The players do sign up for the risks, but the NFL as a product will be hurt significantly if a player gets paralyzed because they allowed these hits to continue.

People are injured or die in car crashes every day, even though today's vehicles are safer than ever.  We still drive...

Not the same entirely, but close.

There are risks involved with different activities. They can take all the precautions in the world, just don't let it alter the game.

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People are injured or die in car crashes every day, even though today's vehicles are safer than ever. We still drive...

Not the same entirely, but close.

There are risks involved with different activities. They can take all the precautions in the world, just don't let it alter the game.

My point is that the NFL has to look at this from a standpoint of ALL of their fans.  If they allow this to continue and someone gets paralyzed or players are getting put on backboards and immobilized then the NFL as a whole will start seeing problems from their fans.  The marginal fans will stop watching, the people who watch despite the injuries will stop watching (many people aren't interested in seeing people get hurt, which is why MMA and boxing have smaller followings), parents will push their kids away from playing football and into other sports, etc, etc.

The NFL has to look at this in relation to its effect on the popularity of its product and make decisions to maximize the profitability of their product.  If next week someone gets paralyzed again then the NFL product will be worth less than it is today.

Players accepting the risks has nothing to do with it.

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I see that point and it is a good one when looking at the financial aspect of the sport.

You and I both know, Tyrius, that people don't watch football for the aesthetics alone. Deep down, people watch the game to see big, powerful, larger-than-life characters hit each other as hard as they can.

That is the foundation of the game.  Anyone who vehemently denies enjoying it for the violence (even a little) is not telling you the truth.

It ain't golf.   ;D

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You and I both know, Tyrius, that people don't watch football for the aesthetics alone. Deep down, people watch the game to see big, powerful, larger-than-life characters hit each other as hard as they can.

Yep, but many of those same people get squeamish when a player is put on a backboard and carted off the field. 

There's a fine line between a crowd pleasing hit and a major injury.  The NFL has to walk that line and they'd be better served (from a brand and legal standpoint) from being on the "too much protection" side of the line.  It's why the NFL "coddles" the QB's.  They're protecting the big name players which people want to go and watch on a weekly basis.

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I am squeamish in that situation too. 

Anyone who has ever played football would be to some extent. I played full contact football from 4th grade all the way through three years of college ball.  I saw more injuries to teammates and opponents than I would wish on my worst enemy.  That being said, when compared to the total amount of time spent in practice and games the total number of injuries is quite small.

Count up the number of games over the last 10 years and compare it to the number of "life altering" injuries in the NFL alone.  I would venture a guess that the number is quite small.  Those that were hurt paid a heavy price, no doubt. But the overall safety record of the league and the game of football itself is, to me, impressive.

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Well, first off, there aren't any "new" rules, just more aggressive enforcement of the current rules.

Here's an excellent article that addresses many of the points brought up here:

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/10/19/ray-anderson-says-enforcement-not-rules-will-change

I tend to agree.

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I know that they are saying that the rules are not changing, only the focus on those rules.

Show of hands...

Who has played organized football?

I grew up learning the game and being taught not to lead with the crown of the helmet (spearing). I was also taught to put my facemask into the other guy's chest, wrap and drive with the intention of making him not want to enter my area ever again. ;D

The rules of the game are there, IMO, to combat "dirty" play.  Playing hard and playing dirty are two totally different things.  Suddenly a big hit is now a more egregious penalty than a chop block (absolutely against the rules)?

Again, playing hard and playing dirty are different.

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I played football for 1 year... heck not even 1 year, maybe 1/4 of the season.

we were taught that way too, BUT I always aimed my face for the area between the arm and chest (a little below the armpit). I felt like if I put my face mask in their chest, it would snap my neck back... I was a sissy when I played football, I was like 10 :)

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I played college football and they teach you to keep your head up and basically put your forehead in their chest. The pros are doing this but their heads are sliding up causing head to head contact. if you watched the hit on Jackson in slow-mo you will see the other guy hit his shoulder first. if they want it to stop they might as well strap on old leather helmets so people are worried about hurting themselves too. the rules are going to get out of control, they might as well play touch football.

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Wow, some interesting stuff  here. IMO the players do not go out on the field "thinking" about the consequences of playing football. They go out to prove that they are the best at something.  Regardless of what anyone was told or taught the object of the game is to tackle the other player for 1 play at a time, not hurt or injure for a lifetime or game or even ten minutes and if they do intentionally then they deserve a suspension and what ever legal ramifications may come because of it. I love football (mostly college) just as much as everyone else, but i do see a need to enforce the rules more aggressively in order to protect the players that are entertaining us.

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I don't know how they can prove most of them are intentional. the game moves so fast. they're running full speed the guy moves, bam! head to head. they don't seem to have a problem when a running back destroys a little DB with his helmet.

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You can still knock the heck out of an offensive player without using your head as a battering ram. It's too dangerous for both the linebacker leading with his head and the receiver getting hit. The NFL can maintain the physicality of the sport, even while preventing this type of tackle.

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Leather helmets. Bring 'em back.

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Leather helmets or two-hand touch the receivers, you can't tackle them, they have to stop where they catch the ball.

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