Monday, October 18, 2010

A Simple Solution

We are increasingly seeing the issue of concussions discussed with regard to the NFL and to a lesser extent other injuries resulting from big hits. Obviously we are proud here at OS that we've been a bit cutting edge in the discussion, even as we understand that no one is really reading this blog much.

Peter King is on board. I hesitate to claim that he hasn't been in the past but it isn't insignificant that he leads his MMQB with it today.

The games we watched Sunday seemed as violent a collection as I've seen. Judging from the tweets and e-mails I got as the day went on, the public was astonished too. The Dunta Robinson collision with DeSean Jackson in Philadelphia, concussing both the Atlanta corner and Eagles receiver and probably kayoing the invaluable Jackson for Sunday's game at Tennessee. Several shots in Pittsburgh, two vicious ones by James Harrison of the Steelers; his helmet-to-helmet shot against Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi will certainly draw a heavy fine, and it's incredible to me no official flagged what could be the textbook definition of hitting a defenseless receiver. In New England, Brandon Meriweather lighting up Baltimore's Todd Heap with a hit to the head so vicious that either a mouthguard or something flew high into the air at the moment of impact. And so on -- six or eight shots where you wondered, "Is that guy getting up?''
I recommend the rest of King's piece. He discusses other solutions, none of which I particularly hate. It is surprising though, that given the level of clinical and national attention that was given to NFL concussions in the off-season that concussions appear to be at a local high.

Anyhow, something has been swirling my brain for a couple of months and the more I watch games, watch damage done from big hits and also embarrassingly sloppy tackling I keep returning to an idea I think would work.

Require open shoulder tackles.

Too often we see linebackers and safeties lower their shoulders and try to knock someone out rather than simply wrapping up and taking down. Require open-shoulder hits. Shoulder pads and helmets are protective devices, not weapons. Hand out 15 yard penalties for leading with the shoulder, eject players who lead with their helmets.

There would still be big hits, there surely would still be concussions. I have a hard time believing that players like Ray Lewis would be particularly limited by rules like this anyway.

From a purists standpoint I would really like to see this rule installed in the NCAA, but mainly for a selfish reason. I get sick of watching bad tackle after bad tackle. Half the time these guys whiff on their rhinoceros charges and the ballcarrier gains another ten yards anyway. Put the rule in at the NCAA and there would be more polished tacklers graduating to the NFL. It would make the game safer and it would make the game better to watch, unless you are a fan of players knocking guys down and then standing over them in some kind of male dominance ritual.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree (about them whiffing tackles). How many times do you hear a coach after a losing game talking about "fundamentals"? It's like hearing a CFO cop to reporting errors by saying, "Our accountants can't add."


About This Blog

Twitter: oblong_spheroid

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP