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In a perfect world, no one in the NFL would get hurt or have head injuries. Retired players would never suit the league and the star quarterbacks would always be available to play. Unfortunately, the world is far from perfect. The new helmet rule will only create confusion and injuries will still occur.
In March, the NFL came out with a new rule that eliminates helmet contact. Players who lower their helmet to initiate contact with any opponent will be penalized 15 yards. The culprit is also subject to ejection. Ball carriers, lineman, and tacklers must abide by this rule.
Contacting any part of the body is prohibited. In the past, only the upper part of the body was off limits. Now the rest is off the table. Last season Anthony Barr leveled Aaron Rodgers and knocked him out for six weeks. That play is no longer acceptable.
There was nothing wrong with that hit. The game shouldn’t be delayed because the league doesn’t want to see hard tackles. Barr hit another quarterback the same way and no one complained. “If he doesn't get injured, I don't think anybody complains about it.”
The NFL reacts when star players get hurt or others get seriously injured. Lessening the injuries is completely fine. However, football will always have injuries. Quarterbacks and every other position are subject to violent hits.
Ridding the NFL of helmet to helmet contact is a noble idea, but it won’t work. Richard Sherman gave his thoughts to USA TODAY. “They’ll see how ridiculous it is once they make the refs call it. It’s going to be worse than the catch rule. On a good form tackle, guys will lead with their shoulder pads, but you bring your head.”
The NFL’s expansion of the helmet to helmet rule is problematic. The refs are now required to police an action that is likely to occur on almost every play. Stephen A. Smith explained further his thoughts on the rule.
Smith is right. They keep adding to the rule and making things more complicated. For example, they made a bad catch rule, let it run for a few years and then changed it again. For years, no one knew the definition of a true catch. Similarly, people will struggle to know what a clean hit looks like.
Football will always be violent. The injuries are unavoidable. If the league keeps expanding contact rules, the game will become flag football.