Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

NFL taking action after Sunday's helmet-to-helmet hits

The NFL is taking action after a rash of helmet-to-helmet and jarring hits left a string of injured players Sunday.

Here's Mark Maske's full account on the The League.

Ray Anderson, the league's vice president of football operations, says immediate suspensions could be handed down for jarring hits, even for first-time offenders.

Not only will punishment be immediate, Anderson told the Associated Press that "going forward there are certain hits that occurred that will be more susceptible to suspension."

Calling some of Sunday's hits "egregious," "flagrant" and "really disturbing," Anderson told the NFL Network's Jason La Canfora: "The level of discipline on those types of hits is going to be much more aggressive ... and that could include a suspension ever for a first-time offender."

Anderson concurred with Rodney Harrison and Tony Dungy, who discussed the issue on "Sunday Night Football." "Fines aren't getting it done," Anderson said. "Suspensions will get their attention."

Anderson added that the NFL could change rules after the season to ban all helmet-to-helmet hits.

"If we've got to face the backlash of those who say we're making the game too soft, then so be it," Anderson told The New York Times' Judy Battista.

By Cindy Boren  | October 18, 2010; 12:42 PM ET
Categories:  NFL  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: T.J. Lavin injured on what was to be his final ride as BMX pro
Next: Junior Seau drives off cliff after domestic violence arrest

Comments

Good for the league, but I want to hear them aggressively tackle the issue of equipment... starting with the continued development of safer helmets.

I don't care if dudes look like the Great Gazoo out there, I'm convinced helmets and mouthpieces need to get bigger (and helmets have to be strapped on, and mouthpieces have to be in, etc.) in order to help ensure these guys aren't enduring grievous head injuries from routine, in-the-flow-of-the-game, non-illegal hits.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 18, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

NateinthePDX, I think they should make the helmets SMALLER with LESS protection and ban head-to-head contact. Immediate "Red Card" type suspension. Rest of the game in which it happened and all of the next game.

Posted by: keithrjackson | October 18, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, keithrjackson, I would argue they need to move in the direction of less rather than ever-more, using head protection analogous to those used by boxers. If you're not wearing a large, padded helmet, you're less likely to lead with your skull.

The league has been increasing the helmet quality for 25 years, and the hitting has only become more violent. It's a perverse incentive situation.

Posted by: tunlaw2007 | October 18, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Providing less head protection while banning all head-to-head contact is an interesting concept, but I don't think it would be effective. That's like saying that people would drive more safely if cars didn't have seat belts.

Posted by: GreenMeansGo | October 18, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

These types of injuries are a lot less common in rugby, and we wear almost no padding at all.

Having a rule that says you have to properly tackle people instead of just head butting them into the ground is better for everyone involved.

Posted by: HillmanDC | October 18, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

As equipment gets harder/more protective there are more injuries. Helmets smaller, no hard pads and only being allowed to tackle or push down would change game, but eliminate many injuries.

Posted by: crossroadsnow | October 18, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

It is getting harder and harder for me to watch either American football or boxing, knowing that these guys will likely suffer permanent damage in the future. When you look at the bodies of football players compared to soccer players there is just no comparison. Football players look very grotesque, bloated from steroids and soccer players look lean and attractive. Perhaps we should put weight limits for linesmen.

Posted by: esr11 | October 18, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Even more disturbing is James Harrison gloating on how he knocked out a key Browns player...to me that was intent to injure a player and desrves immediate suspension

Posted by: krausej | October 18, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I played football in high school many years ago and suffered three concusions which lead to the end of a mediocre career. It makes sense to me for the helmets to become smaller and softer. That coupled with changes in tackling rules will go far to insure the safety of participants. We can no longer leave safety measures up to the "macho" demands of those who watch or played the game in years gone by.

Posted by: jacksprat1 | October 18, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

It's football and it's a violent game. Sometimes guys get hurt. They pay them millions of dollars to do so. Quit turning the game of football into a panzy sport. If you can't take it get out and someone else will step in and man up. Jeez

Posted by: nabel126 | October 18, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I hate to evoke Common Sense again... I'm not even sure most people recognize it any more, but here goes:

Remember when you were kids playing tackle football without pads and helmets? Remember when you would tackle somebody by wrapping around their waste or neck and kinda wrestling them down?

I cannot think of one instance of head to head contact at full speed. Forearm, elbow, shoulder to the chest, many times.

I'm for less helmet, less shoulder pads. These are tools of destruction, not protection.

And here's ANOTHER point I don't hear ANYBODY mentioning...

London Fletcher blows Joseph Addai's head up last night... A legal hit. Did not lead with the head. (Point is: People will still get hurt badly) Problem is: Fletcher and his team were rewarded because Addai was knocked unconscious and fumbled the ball, which the Redskins recovered.

That's the name of the game, folks. Separate the ball carrier from the ball. Intimidate him. Make him not want to struggle for extra yardage next time. Make him think before reaching for a pass over the middle. All this and more is factored into decisions of how to attack an offensive player.

I say: Seriously? Just go Flag. I like flag. Don't incrementally turn into flag over 3 decades with a lot of hand-wringing every offseason. There's no place for a helmet in football. It only protects your face so you can use your head as a weapon.

Common Sense. Nobody will want to watch flag. It's not violent enough. So, there.

Posted by: Thinker_ | October 18, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

You bunch of sissy boy's. Go play soccer if you can't take it.

Posted by: nabel126 | October 18, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

HAVING PLAYED HE GAME FOR 10 YEARS AND OFFICIATING FOR 25 YEARS, I HAVE SEE3N THE PLAYERS GET BIGGER, STRONGER AND FASTER. IF THE TRUTH BE SAID, MOST FOOTBALL PLAYERS PLAY WITH THE IDEA THAT THEY WANT TO INJURE THEIR OPPONENT AND GET HIM OUT OF THE CONTEST. THIS MENTALITY IS ALSO THE ATTITUDE OF MOST COACHES WHO HOLLER,"CRUSH HIM."
WATCHING A GAME AND SEEING A QUARTERBACK LAID OUT BY A VICIOUS TACKLE AND THEN TO SEE THE TACKLER JUMP FOR JOY WITHOUT REGARD TO WHAT HE MAY HAVE CAUSED IS REASON ENOUGH TO TAKE SOME ACTION. ALTHOUGH IT MAY SOUND FUNNY TO HEAR BUT MOST FOOTBALL PLAYERS ARE ANIMALS. MANY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO ACT IN A CIVIL MANNER. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS PICK UP A PAPER AND READ OF ANOTHER PLAYER BEING ACCUSED OF DRUNKEN DRIVING OR ATTACKING A POOR WOMAN.
THE GAME OF FOOTBALL IS TOUGH, BUT SO IS LACROSSE. YOU NEVER SEE A HEAD TO HEAD BUTT IN THE GAME. IF OFFICIALS ARE RELUCTANT TO MAKE THE CALL THEY SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE RANKS.
JUST IMAGINE HOW THAT YOUNG RUTGERS PLAYER FEELS ABOUT HIS TOUGHNESS NOW?

Posted by: MALBENNET | October 18, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Two of the 'hits' referenced appeared to me to at least border on the malicious -- I agree that suspensions are warranted. For the rest -- rule changes and equipment changes are essential. I like watching football, but I want to watch running, passing, and tackling, not people inflicting injury on each other. The human species has a long history of enjoying the spectacle of brutality. It is time we transcended that history and learned to appreciate the grace, power, and athleticism of sports rather than their brutality.

Posted by: bertilack | October 18, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Who's more of a panzy, nabel126: the guys playing with minimal padding or the guys with body armor? I say if you're really so tough, you'd wear a softer helmet and accept more risk yourself when driving head-first into an opponent. Doing so while wearing a hard-shelled, over-stuffed helmet protecting your melon is what panzies do.

Posted by: Slash1 | October 18, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Players who use their helmets to spear another player are committing the ultimate "cheap shot and/or cowardly act." The same goes for deliberately blindsiding a quarterback. Right after one of the cheap shots the defensive players all run around high fiving each other like they just did something wonderful for mankind. The sad part is it's normally a defensive player who goes back to the safety of the sideline where a defensive player from the offended team can't retaliate against him. If the league doesn't do anything about it then let's create another ultimate fighting league of just defensive players that hammer on each other and shorten their careers or worse. Ultimate fighting warrior my foot!

Posted by: dmaxin | October 18, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Slash1 I figured it wouldn't take long for some fool to compare football to soccer. What a joke.
dmaxin Apparently you haven't played football before-- You have no clue.Blindsiding a quarterback?? What are you supposed to do? Tap him on the shoulder and say,"excuse me I'm getting ready to hit you" Give me a break

Posted by: nabel126 | October 18, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

nabel126 - clearly you have reading comprehension problems. I said nothing whatsoever about soccer. Try again.

I'm going back to the early days when helmets were made of thinly padded leather. THOSE guys were truly tough, not like today's panzy-asses who can get away *acting* tough because they're wearing protective head armor. Take away some of that protection and then we'll see who the real men are in this sport.

Posted by: Slash1 | October 18, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Slash1 : Don't try to compare soccer to football. There is no comparison.
dmaxin: You know nothing about football otherwise you would know blindsiding a quarterback is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

Posted by: nabel126 | October 18, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Slash1. My bad

Posted by: nabel126 | October 18, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

As a fan, I don't like to watch the excessively violent hits in football. Less protection is an intriguing idea, but players can still fall back and hit their head. I'm for whatever penalty stops the players from "hitting" instead of tackling.

Posted by: wwc4g | October 18, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

They should put padding on the OUTSIDE of the helmets. Problem solved!

Posted by: steve_k2 | October 18, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

wwc4g: Soccer would be a better sport for you to watch.

Posted by: nabel126 | October 18, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

nabel: why do you keep bringin up soccer? no one else has - just you. strawman much?

i agree with the less is better on the helmets/pads - and I agree with the suspensions. Athletes need to know they will not be permanently paralyzed for doing their job.

Posted by: Greent | October 18, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The NFL does need to take action for helmet to helmet hits and take a look at the helmet safety issues as there have been numerous occasions of helmets coming off because concussions are nothing to play around with. Any player that commits an intentional fowl that seriously injuries another player should be suspended.

Posted by: aellsworth | October 18, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Reducing the size and/or protective quality of helmets won't get the job done, and likely will lead to more injuries. Let's face it, this is a violent game, and even with perfectly legal hits, players get hurt and need the protection a helmet offers. What should be done is to address the aspects of the helmet that make it a weapon -- pad the outside of the helmet as well as the inside so the hitter and the hittee have some protection. It may look a littel funny, but if it cuts down on serious injury, it is worth it.

Posted by: JCDC | October 18, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Simple solution. Make a rule that a tackler cannot leave his feet to make a tackle. No more launching at a runner or receiver. The only time a player could leave his feet is when he is making a play on the ball.

Posted by: builder701 | October 18, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

"Backlash for making the game too soft"? Good gads, what kind of Neanderthal wants to make football a deadly game? No sport should be deadly -- it ceases to be a sport when that happens and becomes a homicide scene.

If football's popularity is due to its viciousness and violence, then it has, indeed, gone to hell. And if that's the basis of the American public's love affair with football, then we are in deep, deep trouble. Why not just rename starting lineup, "The Brute Squad?"

Posted by: dl49 | October 18, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company