Helmet-to-Helmet Rule is Too Much

It is easy for the fat-cat bureaucrats and executive to sit in luxury boxes and the comfort of air-conditioning and make up rules for the game of football. Whether it is college or professional football, I am not a fan of one of the more recently emphasized rules: helmet-to-helmet contact. In the words of Oklahoma State Head Coach Mike Gundy, who by the way got handled this past weekend by second year Head Coach Kevin Sumlin and the Houston Cougars, “This ain’t intramurals! This is the Big 12!”

As always, I am never advocating violence or unfair play, but how can rules continue to be enforced putting defensive players at a disadvantage before the play even begins? I was watching college and professional football over the weekend (obviously), and stopped on the San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals football game. In the first quarter on the game, S Adrian Wilson was flagged on a personal foul penalty for hitting a TE Vernon Davis who was hung out to dry by QB Shaun Hill. Davis goes up to grab the ball, which was thrown a bit high by Hill.  Wilson was running towards Davis and happened to run into Davis who was coming down from leaping up to catch the pass. Wilson happened to hit his helmet as Davis was landing as Wilson was attempting to break up the pass. The pass was incomplete. Again, Davis was coming down and hit Wilson’s helmet. That resulted in an unnecessary roughness penalty of 15 yards against Wilson and the Arizona Cardinals.

WTF! What are player supposed to do? If the defensive payer does not make the defensive play his coach will scream at him, which may result in the player being sent to the bench or losing his job. If the player does not make that hit and tries to ease up on the player he is going to hit, that could result in the offensive player making the catch, which could lead to a touchdown, which results in the team losing the game, the fans and ownership becoming upset and could eventually lead to the coaching staff getting fired. I’m sorry, but as a former OFFENSIVE player, I believe that so long as a player has pads on, and the defensive player is not acting maliciously, he should be allowed to do what is necessary to “make a play” and help the team win. That is what makes up the beauty of the game and the essence of what makes a person into a “playmaker”. When the rules are already favored in one direction over another, the game does not have the same purity as it did in the past. 

C’mon, what is Wilson supposed to do?  Since I was a little boy playing football, the common basic emphasis of tackling has always been, “See what you hit.” Now the “powers” that be, want players to hit with shoulders, inadvertently causing injury to the hitter and not the hittee. I know the rules were put in place to protect players from being hit in defenseless positions, but I think the rule has gotten out of hand and is affecting the game and the defensive player’s safety.

Defensive players are have a job to do; and so do offensive players. I would not like playing on defense under the current rules of today. Defensive players can’t touch after five yards; can not pull down a player by the shoulder pads; can not hit a player in the head who has on a helmet (that is just weird). I guess defensive players would just stand there like immovable objects and let teams do whatever they want offensively and not try to stop the opposition.  I think the game of football is losing some of the bravado that made it so great.

Ii would not surprise me if the some of the rule changes have everything to do with the lucrative television contracts signed between the television networks and the college and professional sports. The television executives need ratings and they see that as points, i.e., high-scoring football games.  There is not a lot of excitement for the casual fan who watches a game where the final score was 6-3. While it may be a great game for more progressive followers of the game, touchdowns and field goals attract new fans on a much greater scale than that of a low scoring game. Those who love football will always watch no matter what, so there is no need to cater to the “hard-core” fan.

So the rules must be skewed to cater to offenses, allowing them to score more points. While this is my opinion, I have been in many high-level executive meetings and spoken to others who have shared my same sentiments.

Conspiracy theory? You tell me. Things that make you go, hmmmmmm!


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