23 Oct 2010
Okay, so what's going on with all this talk about the NFL imposing stricter rules on helmet hits? I figured we were all kind of on the same page--that the NFL needed more rules to protect player safety. These rules would be effected in 2 stages: better diagnosis when players get concussions, and stiffer penalties on players that hit the helmet of other players.
But what have we actually seen?! Tough player reaction and media reaction against these proposed changes. Most notably, James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers, ha ha ha, pondered retirement at the thought of any new rules. The players he weekly puts out of the game with his illegal hits are saying that these illegal hits are just part of the game. Bill Simmons on Pardon The Interruption pretty much said the same thing.
Has the world gone wacky??? When a defensive player hits someone in the head, it's not just part of the game. It's trying to hurt someone intentionally. There's a difference between tackling and harming. And professional football players typically know the difference because they've made a living tackling. But when James Harrison lowers his helmet and pops someone else in the helmet, that's just ignorance. Even stupidity, because he's actively ignoring what he already knows about tackling. It's like when you play basketball with someone who's all elbows. He could be good, but after getting popped in the mouth with a couple of elbows, you call the guy out for being ignorant (or possibly stupid) about how he plays.
So hopefully good sense prevails, and we see these helmet hits being punished, and players with concussions being diagnosed and rested.