The NFL Competition Committee had a meeting in Hawaii two weeks ago, recommending that blind-side hits on “unsuspecting” players should be penalized as unnecessary roughness next season, according to a report on ESPN.com.
The proposal evolved from a continuing discussion about a block Warren Sapp gave Green Bay Packers guard Chad Clifton on an interception return when Sapp was playing for the Buccaneers in 2002. Clifton missed the rest of the season with severe pelvic injuries after Sapp hit him while he was looking the other way, far away from the play.
The owners decided to adopt the new rule change at the league meetings in Maui two weeks ago and it will now be formed into a broader interpretation of the unnecessary roughness rule, which currently results in a 15-yard penalty.
Did I just miss something, or is the NFL trying to take all the fun out of playing football? I’m not saying it’s fun to permanently hurt other players, but temporarily inflicting pain on an opponent is.
Our defensive coordinator at Santa Monica College always used to tell us before a game that this was our chance to go out and run through another human being. That’s what the players on the defensive side of the ball live for, to be able to give that big hit that sends an opponent to the sideline for one or two quarters, maybe even the rest of the game.
For a defensive player, a big hit is the equivalent of an offensive player scoring a touchdown. It changes the momentum of the game, and your teammates will get hyped up and play with more intensity.
By banning blind-side hits, it will become a lot harder for players to land ferocious tackles that make the recipients’ knees buckle when he tries to get up again. Because if you’re not Ray Lewis, who can hit somebody like that whenever he feels like it, your biggest chance is when somebody isn’t looking.
I understand the reasoning behind the proposal, but there are two things you learn very quickly when playing football. One: never get caught standing around the pile, because you will get hit into next week by somebody who knows you’re not paying attention. Two: always keep your head on a swivel, because there are 11 guys out there that can make you the joke of the day come Monday when you’re going over the game tape in team meetings.
Let’s just say “decleaters” get more airtime than touchdowns.
The league already made it incredibly difficult to play defensive back with the no-contact rule after five yards. Do they have to take the fun out of playing defense all together, as well? If they want to see high scoring games, they can watch the Arena League, because that’s what this is all about. The NFL seems to think that if the scoring goes up, so will the ratings.
If the competition committee really wanted to clean up the play to reduce serious injuries, they should make it illegal to cut block inside the designated blocking zone. The cut block is a block where the offensive lineman dives below the knees of a defensive player inside the tackle box.
Putting a ban on cut blocking is something that could help prevent many season and career ending injuries, but after a long review, the committee decided to continue allowing it.
Another rule change that will be implemented for next season is that teams will not be able to go after the opposing kicker on kick-offs if he’s not moving towards the ball, unless they want to risk getting a 15-yard penalty. This rule goes beyond logic to me.
The kicker hardly does anything as it is. Should he now be rewarded with the luxury of not having to worry about getting hit if he just stands around after kicking the ball? They have another sport for guys like that. It’s called soccer.
If I were the president of the Players Association, I would issue a statement to the league saying we reserve the right to hit anybody who steps out on the field with a helmet and shoulder pads. When it’s game time, you should be able to hit anybody without looking over your shoulder for the yellow flag.
The NFL should let the players play the game the way it was supposed to be played, and stop trying to turn it into flag football. It’s a full contact sport, and every player knows that as soon as the ball is snapped, a hit can come from anywhere, at anytime.