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NFL's crackdown on hits should emphasize fundamentals, Hoge says

heaphit.jpg
Brandon Meriweather of the Patriots collides with Todd Heap of the Ravens. (AP)

What to do about the kind of violence and injury that millions of football fans saw Sunday?

The NFL promises to crack down on the dangerous, illegal hits that made headlines and highlight shows. At least one former player who's now an analyst think the solution is fairly straightforward.

" ... You reintroduce the fundamentals of the game," Merrill Hoge said on "Mike and Mike in the Morning" on ESPN. "I've heard [Mike] Golic talk about [how] our league is awful about tackles. It's an all-hit league. People want to hit everybody, but nobody wants to tackle. You implement how you tackle. You bring your arms, you sync your hips, you hit people with your shoulder pads. You reintroduce that. You force that. You coach that and then you penalize that."

The worst hit on a day of bad ones? "When you launch and you deliberately lead with your head -- and the word 'deliberate' has to be put in there. ... [Brandon] Meriweather [of the New England Patriots] deliberately launched and led with his head and it was the only purpose that he left his feet for. It wasn't the tackle. It was to deliberately inflict some type of hit on Todd Heap with his head. Absolutely grotesque and unnecessary. ... That's the one we have to eliminate."

The NFL's former vice president of officiating agrees. Mike Pereira, now a Fox Sports analyst blogged: "I cannot muster any kind of sympathy for Meriweather. This is another cheap shot, and, in my mind, worse than the hit Cleveland's T.J. Ward put on Cincinnati's Jordan Shipley two weeks ago, and Ward was fined $15,000.

"Meriweather clearly launched and went helmet-to-helmet against Heap, and Heap was injured on the play. At least Ward did not launch. This type of hit is totally avoidable, and another message needs to be sent by the league to all players, forcing them to realize this type of contact is not acceptable. I look for a big fine to come from the league against Meriweather."

TWO SAFETIES WEIGH IN

So the NFL wants to suspend players for helmet to helmet due to injuries, yet the NFL wants 2 more games. Make sense?less than a minute ago via txt

I feel the NFL is singling out defensive players. What about the running backs who are running towards me then lower their heads at contactless than a minute ago via ƜberTwitter

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The League: What can be done about helmet-to-helmet hits?

By Cindy Boren  | October 19, 2010; 8:20 AM ET
Categories:  NFL  
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Next: Brandon Meriweather: 'I'm going to be aggressive, point blank.'

Comments

I know what Meriweather was aiming for when he lowered his helmet on Heap. He was aiming for the ball hoping to jar it loose. But Meriweather's statements and Harrison's are going to get themselves suspended, IMO.

Posted by: RedCherokee | October 19, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I always thought that if a deliberate act causes a player to be injured, then the person or persons inflicting the injury should be out for a like period of time. Should be the rule in football, hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer, whatever. You knock a guy out for the season, your season is over. You end a guy's career, you are done.

Posted by: Flicking_Gamer | October 19, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Easy 3-part solution:

1. Take the plastic shell off of helmets. A leather or vinyl cover over the padding, like a raincoat, is all that is needed.
2. Automatic first down and ball placement on the offending team's 10-yard line (or goal line if already inside the 10).
3. Immediate ejection from the current game and suspension for the next game for the offending player. If it happens in the fourth quarter, suspend for next two games (or maybe next 6 quarters).

Even just #2 and #3 would remove 90% of all these hits. Add in #1, so the hits hurt of the tackler as much as the tacklee, and *poof* problem solved.

Posted by: tomguy1 | October 19, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Clearly the average player's IQ is low and going down. These head hits can't help to raise the average.

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