Welcome to the new age of football. Where a hit once, and still is considered dirty by the players is now encouraged by the league. A hit that could immediately end a career and would plague the injured in their post football life. Gone are the days of good hard clean tackling. This is 2013 football and the possible repercussions make me sick.
As you know I am talking about the D.J. Swearinger vs Dustin Keller hit but I'm also talking about the Jon Bostic vs Mike Willie hit. Swearinger wasn't fined but Bostic was fined 21,000 dollars. Here is the Bostic hit.
NFL Hit Of The Week Rookie Jonathan Bostic Lays Out Mike Willie (via king mills)
I get that the NFL is trying to protect the head of players (Not because of their interest to player safety but their interest in protecting their money from lawsuits that have been filed on the matter). But if I were to poll players in the NFL which hit would they have rather taken, I would bet the farm 99% of players would taken the Willie hit over the Keller hit. With the NFL trying to protect the head of players they created a dangerous situation. I'm not 100% clear on the rules but from what I see is that incidental contact with the head is getting fined. Bostic hit targeted the upper chest of Willie's body which caused his helmet to hit Willie's helmet. I didn't see anything wrong with that and it is why we have helmets. It was a perfect tackle and thing of beauty. We've also seen hit where the defender initial hit is to the chest but his head slides up and hits the offensive player in the chin and that results in a fine. So if a defensive player wants to be sure of avoiding a fine under the current rules the best way is to go low. I know that safe tackles could still be made. But, I am willing to bet that if the rules remain as is we will see more knee injuries like Keller's this year than any other year.
I feel like defenders now have the green light by the league to take players out. The league is encouraging this type of dirty hit. Image if the Saints had the precedent of this off season during their bounty seasons. What about teams that currently run bounty programs? Or have dirty defenders? Or defenders that can't make a proper tackle? Offensive players better lookout because defenders are taking notes from these two tackles and the fines/no fines they carry.
Personally I believe the NFL needs to make tackling at the knees from the front or sides illegal. It's the easiest way to hurt someone and why it's considered a dirty play. I really hate to saying that because I hate seeing the game over-regulated.
Current football players and the league need to understand concussion issues because it is important. But this is football! Concussion are going to happen! There's no getting around it. So the league and players are going to have to learn how to treat it short-term and long-term. I believe taking out direct contact with the head was a good move but incidental contact was a bad move. A tackle like Bostic is one reason I love football. If a player is reckless and targets another players head then that's a different story. The league needs to go back and review it's rules. We are losing the game we love to these rules and creating something I would cringe to see.
Under these rules do you think key offensive weapons like Mike Wallace's knees will be targeted? What will have to happen for the rules to change? Would Mike Wallace end the year on the IR to a knee injury?
2. About 5 high profile offensive players getting their knees blown out.
3. Yes, unless the rules change before that happens.