I’ll Hit You Up For Something But What Do I Get Back In Return ?
Which is it to be for the NFL do they want the sport of football to still be appealing to the fans or do they wish for the product to now become watered down somewhat ? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell along wit the league’s hierarchy now seem intent on punishing players for “hits” they believe to be dangerous and deliberate in their execution. This coming from the same league that until this decision was mandated actually made a profit by marketing its product for the explosiveness of the on field violence. If that wasn’t enough of an attraction for the fans then they could also go out buy the very same product on DVD’s and merely watch it all over again in the comfort of their homes.
Slide show for your perusal .
Now while I’m not completely against what the NFL is now trying to do my one complaint is that this will now become a judgment call that will be determined by the officials on the field and will no doubt be challenged not only by the players but also by the coaches when such a call is made during a game. If that wasn’t enough consider this, what happens then and what should the punishment meted out be ? We’re now being told not only are players liable to be fined as has been the case already but there’s also discussion afoot to actually suspend a player should it be determined that the hit was illegal and deliberate. Fines levied against the players and quite possibly multiple game suspensions are the thought of the day concerning this edict.
Over the last few years the NFL has been in complete denial as to the dangers surrounding concussions and head traumas suffered by players during a game and if that wasn’t bad enough it’d seem that their only cause has been to simply protect the quarterback at all costs. The ‘golden boys of the league’ as they’ve often been known are deemed the bread and butter of the NFL in terms of the financial windfall provided to the league. One simply only has to look at the biggest names in the game and the level of their profiles and marketability ? Peyton Manning , Tom Brady , Brett Favre , Mark Sanchez , Eli Manning and Drew Brees and that by any indication should tell you all that you need to know.
Courtesy of NFL.com
The NFL imposed huge fines on three players Tuesday for dangerous and flagrant hits in last weekend’s games and warned that, starting with this weekend’s contests, violent conduct will be cause for suspension.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison was docked $75,000, and New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson each were fined $50,000 by the league.
Players previously were fined or ejected for illegal hits, but after the series of recent flagrant tackles, several resulting in concussions, the NFL ramped up the punishment.
Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, indicated that suspensions could start immediately — involving play from last weekend’s games — but NFL spokesman Greg Aiello later said the league wanted to give teams fair warning and would Wednesday send a memo outlining the changes.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap took a vicious hit from Meriweather on Sunday and called it “one of those hits that shouldn’t happen.” Robinson and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson were knocked out of their game after a frightening collision in which the Falcons’ cornerback launched himself head first to make a tackle. Both sustained concussions.
Harrison was punished for his hit on Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. Harrison’s hit on Browns wide receiver Joshua Cribbs didn’t figure in the fine, although it also caused a concussion; the league said Monday it was permissible.
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Now in wake of this latest mandate which no doubt had the approval of the league’s Competition Committee we’ll see how things will transpire over the remainder of the season and what thoughts if any the fans themselves will have about this all. Current and former players have come out for and against this rule , each side having a valid argument. But to my mind the safety of the players has to be utmost in the minds of all , rather than there being the feeling that the game is now being somewhat emasculated by what many might feel are rules that are now meant to soften up the game’s identity. There’s no denying that the game has become more explosive and <u physical over the last decade and as a matter of fact the players have become much more athletic and faster in size . And with that happening there has to be the thought that sooner rather than later more serious injuries will occur on the field of play . My biggest fear is that a hit could not only lead to serious repercussions for the league but also a victim of such an act. Granted we know that NFL players don’t go out there with the intent of injuring an opponent but who can forget Jack Tatum’s blistering hit on Darryll Stingley ? That combined with a number of bone shattering incidents have now become the norm and synonymous with what the NFL has been all about. The fans love it and it makes for a great spectacle when repeated for the highlights on broadcast and cable television. One only has to look at how many of the featured sports programs tend to start of their broadcast when covering the NFL as it makes for a great news story.
Now in the midst of this all we now have to .look as to how and what this will mean to the NFL in the long terms and what mandates a legitimate hit from what does not. And how are the officials going to adjudicate such an act ? Does the NFL expect the presumed offender to offer up himself and say to the referee ………… ‘hey ref’ I did it on purpose to stop the player gaining some yardage’.
Recently Rutgers’ defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down after a hit sustained by him during a game played against Army . The prognosis for the player is not yet known but neurologists are monitoring the player’s situation hoping for any signs of improvement . It’s not only helmet to helmet collisions that the NFL ought to be concerned with at this juncture but the type of injuries that are now being sustained and the long term effects on the players themselves. As I alluded to earlier in this piece even with their own in house medical counsel the NFL and in particular Goodell were reluctant to acknowledge the type of injuries that were being sustained and the long terms effects on a player. Grade 2 type concussions and those of a higher level have been known to bring on mild forms of migraines and far more worrying maladies. And consider this also recent studies carried out not only by the AMA (American Medical Association), AAN (American Academy of Neurology) but also by various academic establishments concerning the lasting effects blunt force head traumas suffered during a game has given rise to the evidence that the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease can be traced to such incidents. If that’s enough of a cause for concern then those taking the opposing view that the NFL is overreacting really need to take a look at these findings and perhaps sit and talk with a victim of such repeated hits . Many of them are now former players within the NFL at the collegiate and high school level. And if you’re of the opinion that a person is never too young to show those early signs then you’re either naive or completely don’t understand the dangers that the NFL is simply trying to address . Albeit that I do feel that their action to an extent is somewhat overstated and more of a reactionary gut check on their part.
Now while this all has now become a matter of conjecture and debate my own thought is how the NFL plans to not only deal with this issue but the ongoing one of players sustaining other life threatening injuries that they’ve failed to address over the years. They have been complicit in conjunction with the NFLPA (players’ union) in denying benefits to former players who’ve not only suffered career ending injuries sustained from a widening array of injuries. But there has been complete culpability in some cases where a player has been denied those benefits because the league and union has stated that the player had a pre-existing condition that led to their denial of the benefits and medical assistance needed. Somewhere along the way the NFL and union have seen fit not only protect their image but also fall short of their responsibilities to the players . And if that hasn’t been enough they are now falling short by showing their own avarice when it comes to dealing many more acute issues that the game now faces.
Picture gallery .
The fans care just as much about the players as they do the game but what one could ask is how much the league and union cares about the fans ? What thoughts if any do you have on the latest proposals by the NFL as it concerns helmet to helmet hits ? Do you feel that these rules as now mandated by the league are too draconian ? Or do you feel that they’re doing the right thing in order to make the game safer for the players ? Simply chime in with a comment as you’d deem fit .
Alan aka tophatal ………………………………. 🙂
Eye candy for your perusal Azzareya ‘Crystal’ Curtis