New Helmet Rule Makes Some Sense
As kids playing the game of football, you are taught to hit what you can see. In other words, keep your head up and your eyes on your target. This is part of the fundamentals of football teachings and it also helps to ensure safety in the game. For the most part, that stays with you through your football life right into your college years.
Somewhere along the lines this teaching has been, not forgotten, but tossed aside. Nowadays, the helmet is used as a weapon far too often and players are paying the price for that. One horrible example happened last year that put the stamp on making this change.
Ryan Shazier, of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was the victim of one of these helmet hits and paid for it with a devastating spine injury that cost him his NFL career. It has been a hard climb back for him, but he is making progress. At the 2018 NFL Draft, he walked out on stage to announce the Steelers first-round pick of Terrell Edmunds. He still has a long way to go, but the result of this hit now brings us the new “Use of helmet rule”.
The rule clearly states that if any player that lowers his head to initiate contact against an opponent, a 15-yard penalty will be assessed. Ejections have also been put in place when the need calls for them. Will there be a lot of ejections that come from this? Statistics say no, but it is a first step in making the game much safer for players in the league.
As we have seen, there are some players that make too much of a habit to make the spectacular hit. Those that want to inflict the most damage and get on SportsCenter. Well, now those days look to be going away and hopefully it will not take long for this rule to be felt around the league. Bad habits will be curbed and maybe we can avoid hits and results from these hits like the one that got Shazier.
Of course, there will be backlash and players that will argue the call. There will be those calls we deem questionable and the refs will get all the blame. Still, it is time to get this helmet as a weapon mentality out of the game. Time to remind players of the fundamentals that were taught to them so long ago.