• August 15, 2022

NFL Tries To Curtail Vicious Hits Because They Threaten The League’s Popularity

First of all, you need to know that the NFL is a business first and a sport second.  If the rules of the sport ever gets in the way of the business, then the rules will be changed.  That’s what is going on right now.

I understand why the NFL has decided to suspend players who make vicious hits on defenseless offensive players.  The vicious hits are jeopardizing the popularity of the game and putting the business at risk.

NFL owners and the league office are going to protect their business at all costs.  They’re going to do it, even if means curtailing the efforts of some of the league’s best players.  They aren’t going to tolerate players hitting their opponents in a manner that does serious bodily harm.

The players are getting too big and too fast to allow them to continue wreak mayhem the way they’ve been doing.  It may be time to increase the width of the field because the speed of today’s defensive players has eliminated some of the space on the field for an offense to operate.

I will look into that idea of a bigger field at a later date.

The league’s brass wants the games to be competitive and exciting but they don’t want players to be stretched out on the field on each weekend of games.

Fans love a good hit but they don’t want to see players maimed.  I could see them recoil when they saw the head of DeSean Jackson bobbling back and forth like a bobble-head doll.   It’s starting to turn people off and the league office has gotten the message.

A good tough hit is one thing, but a vicious hit which is in the head area makes fans squirm from the vicious and savage nature of the game.  You can’t continue to have a popular sport if players are carried off on stretchers after every other play.

NFL football has become a behemoth of a business because it appeals to the whole family.

The vicious hits are also capable of ending the careers of many of the league’s superstars.  They want players like DeSean Jackson to showcase their speed and athleticism rather than being unable to remember parts of the game.

Rules were first changed to protect the quarterbacks because they are a key part of the game’s popularity.   Hall of Fame quarterbacks like Troy Aikman and Steve Young had their careers ended by numerous concussions after being taking blows to the head.  That moved the league office to change the rules in order to better protect their business.

Now the rules are being changed to protect receivers.  As I discussed in the previous article, the prevalence of the west coast offense has led to more lethal hits on receivers.  The short passing game gives defenders plenty of opportunities to deliver vicious hits on receivers.

There will be some controversy with this rule change because it hasn’t be defined in a way, so that a player clearly knows what is is legal and what is illegal.  The owners would probably have wanted to take their time and make this rule change during the off season, but the carnage is stacking up so quickly, they had to make a move.

The uncertainty in the rules will cost a team or two some games, but remember, the NFL is a business first and a sport second.


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  • Yep Parents won’t want their kids playing football seeing all these concussions etc

    But as I have been posting

    HOFer Artie Donavan said if you want to prevent these helmet type injuries

    “Take the Face Masks off the helmets

  • It will be very difficult to legislate for Football is a Collision Sport between Athletes who are bigger,stronger,faster than players from just 10 years ago… Safeties are 220-230lbs etc,etc
    One way to start is to penalize/expell/suspend players in order to change their behaviors..
    As a start, any player who “lunges” with the helmet,forearms or shoulders to another players head area is an automatic 15 yd penalty and an expulsion from the game. This should also apply to the any players who initiates contact with another players head area whether it occurs on the line of scrimmage,tackling a RB,sacking a QB, Kick-off/punt coverages.. This will be hard to do overnight and would take a couple of seasons for players to get used to not headhunting and also the Referees would have to be more aware and have some quicker whistles and probably more Refs on the field to keep up with speed of the game… The NFL would also have to work with the NCAA and even to High School Atheltic Associations and Pee-Wee Footbal to to ensure there are similar tackling/hitting rules so the players can learn from an earlier age and that all coaches on all levels are on the same page..Not easy to change behaviors when a 100 year history for a teams and players is to beat your opponent down any way you can.

  • LMAO…Let’s just take off all the equipment , put belts w/velcro strips and call it NFFL (National Flag Football League”..Better yet lets scrap the Football and make it the National Frisbee League…While it’s unfortunate players are getting hurt it’s part of the game….I was listening to the Axe man and Hugh last night and they all agreed it’s part of the game it’s what defenseive players are taught to do…

  • I think by 2015, the Super Bowl will be determined by “John Madden’s EA Video Game”
    Think of how the millions of fans could be more productive and contribute to the overall US Economy
    if they worked on Sunday’s instead of watching,going to the Games and making 32 Owners,a few hundred players rich and some TV Executives..
    I believe the Obamas Economic Team is looking into this scenario and this very time and will promote it around the COuntry as he starts his Re-election Campaign… Good grief…

  • G:

    Let’s keep the MMA out of this league, but I’m more sanguine than most. I admit it. I loved the hit by Sheldon Brown on Reggie Bush. I LOVED it. The hit on DeSean was football – exposed as vicious. Don’t outlaw it though. I wasn’t cheering as he laid there, but it’s an example of worst-case-scenario tackle football.

  • G – help us out with some football experience and knowledge here…. I loved the sheldon on bush hit nsid just mentioned, just as much as the next guy – but a pure question:

    Is it necessary to have a big hit in order to stop a guy (after all, that’s the goal, get his knee down to stop his forward progress) OR – can you be equally as effective with a clean, wrap up tackle?

    I know you mentioned being coached to intimidate guys with big hits, but if we begin to agree that the biggest of hits come at too high of a cost (and if the league feels this way and starts to enforce it), is there a way to be equally effective in making defensive stops without the extreme violence?

    Just wondering, because if so, it’s worth ditching the intimidation factor for effective quality defense at the benefit of not ruining people’s lives….

  • I was listening to the Fanatic today and they made a point that we kid athetes see their icons play like that on the field that they will in turn mimic that type of play in their game. These kids see the glitz and glamour of how atletes are treated and will do anyhting to get a bite of the pie, including emulating their fav star player in hopes that that type of play will lead them to an NFL, or other sport, career.

  • Should we begin a block pool on how long Desean’s career will last? Does he ever get to his 2nd contract? If he does not go inside, it will make him far less effertive, as CB’s will only have to be concerned with up the field routes. If he continues to go inside, he will not finish a 5th seasopn in the league. Good thing we did not load him up with cash, he might have had enough to retire early. This way the pressure to earn will keep him playing hard. I sort of suspect he could be another Mike Quick, talented and explosive player, career cut short by injuries. Unfortunate.

  • RCP, brother loved that “Take the masks off” comment in the last post, and love it now. Can you imagine these self proclaimed pretty boys deciosn to make a big ohit or preserve their self proclaimed pretty faces and pearly smiles, haaaaa tick tick its deciosn time, hmmm says the defensive player “I think I will just make a good tackle, maybe try to steal the ball when I get there or thtow the bastard to the ground that will show him who the real man is.”

    Anderson please no pool brother, Desean has just learned what Vick finally learned, and Kolb learned, and that is get clear and get down or get out of bounds. Reid will some how know that Jackson is not oging to be that inside man, I hope he heeds the voice that tells him that.

    We have big strong receivers who can do that job well, so Reid had best figure it out and preserve the quality of players for the future. Jackson is to young for Reid and the QB’s to waste him on a premature career. Get samrt and start to understand your assets and maximize their abilities and not just your game plan.

    The NFL has a lot of smart guys in it, who will merge the need for safety and the hard play we love, there is a meeting ground that will satisfy us fans, the players needs to be physical, and reality that they need to be safe. I don’t want to hear not one more dang gone banged up retire player with all manner of physical ailments due to the sport tell me the fan that its part of the game. You can play hard and physical without being Rome sport brutal.

    Gcobb is right most fans don’t want this type of game. I want nice stunning , powerful but controled hitting, not this human projectile kind of play. Hell I see players wacking their own players becasue they are not heads up.

    Just saying there is common ground to make us all happy. 80% of the hits and tackles I see each week are nice controled, and balanced, even the big body hits.

  • Yo..It was Iron Mike Ditka who suggested that the “prettyboys” take off the masks and then these type of hits would dissapear..God love him..

  • Now explain to me an 18 game schedule again please?

  • Great point Eagle Co…
    Teams lose about 20% of their Opening Day Roster by the end of a 16 game schedule as it is..
    Rosters will have to be expanded to 65 playes if they want to play 18 Regular games after only
    2 preseason games.. I can see the list of Hamstring pulls a mile long as players are not really in football shape yet.. The NFL must keep the integrity of the game as it’s 1st priority and not a watered down version like NBA/NHL/Nascar do.. The quality or play has slipped some the last few years as it is, you add another 2 games… Some teams in the past have had a plyoff spot locked up by December (the Colts,Steeler,New England,San Diego,Vikings all come to mind)
    How do they play their last 4-5 games of ther Season when they have nothing to play for.. Sit starters so they don’t get injured.. If your Indy, do you play Manning only a half and then yank him
    with starters Freeny.. 16 games is long enough and works well and they should keep to it and maybe reduce the PRe-Season from 4 games to 3 games and give teams/players 2 full weeks from the end of camp to the start tof the regulaar season and take it from there..

  • I’m mixed on the subject. I don’t want to see guy seriously hurt but I also don’t want the game watered down. In many cases, the helmet to helmet contact can be the fault of the offensive players who instinctively lowers his head when he sees a defender coming. So the defensive guy is charges with the helmet to helmet hit but it really wasn’t his intention. I’m not sure how you legislate that. The offense already is overly protected with this hits as well as the penalties.

    I mean just imagine being Robinson and you see a ball that floating in the air and the receiver about to catch it. You are instinctively programmed to hit him as hard as you can to make him either drop the ball or remember you. Now you’re telling defenders to either tackle soft or wait until the receiver catches the ball, and has time to protect himself. By that time, a blocker gets in your way and speedy Jackson is gone. I just don’t know how you effectively legislate it without also messing up the game. It’s already hard enough to play defense in this league and now you have to be even more tentative. We’ve already seen pash rushers pull up on sacks because they thought the ref blew the whistle to stop the play so the QB won’t get hurt, only to find that the play wasn’t over and your sack is now a 25 yard gain. And yes this is a business and these players make a lot of money and they know the risks of the profession they have chosen to do for a living. It’s unfortunate that sometimes, freak accidents happen but it is what it is.

    It will be years and years before players are deprogrammed. They are started at young ages and it’s just more glorifying to nail someone real good. It will take a very long time to change that mindset. I’m still mixed on the subject because I’m looking at it both ways especially when you look at the league 15-20 years, they make these guys look like wimps. Yes the players are bigger and faster (including offensive players) than they were but everyone is comparable to the other players that played in their era. Since the offensive players are also bigger they would be able to absorbed hit a little more than offensive players from past years. But anyhow, I’ll stay mixed on this until I see what the effects are on the field of play.

  • Besides the safety of the players defense is being taken out of the game as well. With all the garbage penalties that are easily drawn by defenders and taking away their ability to intimidate offenses will make good defensive play rare. As defensive players, you are out there to intimidate and enforce your will on the offense. Not to be dirty or intentionally hurt players, but make them aware of whats comnig their way when they get the ball. This has a huge effect on the outcome of games and seasons. The more and more they limit the defense, the less intimidation becomes a factor which means offensive players are not as worried as they would be which works in their favor combined with the excessive penalties. Defensive players know, if you can get a guy thinking about you, he’ll make mistakes and this is where the league is heading. Not saying it’s good or bad, but this is where it’s heading.

    The fact is, for most people watching a 6-9 defensive battle isn’t fun. I mean if you are a casual football fan, watching the Jets vs Ravens is brutal…bunch of hard hitting on defense and low scoring. Take aways some of the defenses ability to hit and intimidate you have higher scoring games which is good for the league. I just think it’s unfair in someways for defensive players to have to change how they play a game they’ve been playing all their lives while offensive players reap the benefits of it. I would at least like to see some rule changes that take away some of the advantages offensive players have…. or at least enforce more strictly than they have been.

  • I listen to players like James Harrison and he sounds ridiucolous maybe he should retire. All the players and commentators are saying they do not agree with the decision come on now if you are a real football fan you know when a hit is milicious. Just ask the older players who came before them what they should do they will tell you. you have to clean up the sport yo can not have your entire workforce handicapped I just wish everyone espically Mark S. on ESPN would understand that however they probably wont until god forbided they are the ones on the stretcher with their thumbs in the air.

  • I don’t think Harrison’s hit was that bad compared to some of the others.

  • He’s (Harrison) is a dirty player,
    There is no other reason to come up with your forearms flying into anothers players head other than to knock him out.

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