Something that seems to be sweeping the nation and sports talk radio the past couple of weeks is the NFL's new "Violent Hits" policy. After Steelers linebacker James Harrison decided it was his job to try to become the first NFL serial killer a couple of Sundays ago, the mighty Commissioner Goodell decided it was time to begin punishing players for "headhunting" and intentionally trying to hurt "defenseless" players. Therefore, instead of the usual sum of money the players would give back to the league as a penalty, now they will be facing possible game suspensions with no pay.
This has of course divided the NFL fan base on where they stand on this decision, including the BRB staff. Some feel that it was the right decision and something must be done to protect these guys. While others, including myself, feel that this is still football and we need to let these guys play.
I'll explain after the jump...
I can't speak for the others, but this is why it bothers me. Look at the big hit that Falcons corner Dunta Robinson laid on Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson. Yes, it was a huge hit. But to say he was "headhunting" is a stretch. I know everyone here likes to pile on Dunta, but put that aside for a second. I watch every Falcons game, being from ATL and all, and by now I am sure most of you have seen the hit. It was a bang-bang play and Robinson hit Jackson on the shoulder pad and they both went down for a few minutes. When they got to their feet, both players inquired whether one another if they were okay. That's football, right? But a couple of days later, Dunta gets hit with a $50,000 fine for an "Illegal Hit" and it gets made well known that in the future a hit like that will result in a suspension.
Let me reiterate that I have no problems with the league making rules to protect its players. I was completely in favor of the league protecting quarterbacks from low hits after the one that knocked Carson Palmer's career off track back in 2006. But I think this one is just ridiculous.
Hitting a defenseless receiver? Really? It's football! Do you think Lynn Swann or Drew Pearson whined about being "defenseless?" I realize that it is a different game today than it was back then, but to a good chunk of fans it feels like we are well on our way to this becoming flag football. You already see way too many QB scrambles for big plays because players are afraid to wrap up and tackle for fear of a fine or penalty. Now we're going to have receivers that will elude tackles, or worse they will be hit low. We're going to see a lot more ACL and knee injuries on wideouts due to this rule change.
Also, why is it a problem for defensive backs to lower their helmets when going for a hit, yet running backs are encouraged to lower their helmets? It just doesn't make sense to me. God, why not just bring back the leather helmets already. Oh, and one more thing: If the NFL is so against these kinds of hits, why do they continue to profit off of selling photos of said illegal hits? That sounds pretty damn hypocritical to me...
Now, this is just my opinion and not the opinion of Battle Red Blog as a whole. I realize I sound like I am trying to have it both ways by saying, "I understand, but..." and perhaps I am. But the one thing that gets me up and excited for football is seeing the wood brought on someone. Sure, that sounds barbaric, but we've known that about football for many many years. Why should it change now?
What do you think guys? What side of the debate are you on?