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NFL releases video on player safety

The fallout after last Sunday’s helmet-to-helmet hits revealed a real lack of clarity and knowledge about the existing NFL rulebook.

The confusion starts with players, coaches, and the media, and extends to fans.  ESPN’s Mark Schlereth told Florio on Schlereth’s radio show that the rulebook was not used by his television producers in preparation to discuss the helmet-to-helmet hit issue.

That lack of preparation often became clear this week on many networks analysts discussed the different offending hits that were fined this week. 

I am just as guilty as anyone of needing to know the rules better.  When Falcons G.M. Rich McKay appeared on NFL Network Wednesday, he helped make it clearer for me why a hit like Dunta Robinson’s takeout of DeSean Jackson was worthy of such a hefty fine.

These aren’t new rules.  They are just getting more media attention and punished more severely.

In an effort to clarify what is and isn’t a violation, the NFL sent a video to all 32 teams explaining what is and isn’t an illegal hit.  We applaud the measure, and appreciate that the league posting the same video on their website so fans can understand as well.

The video can be viewed here

Ray Anderson, Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the NFL, explains why Robinson’s hit and others like the one from Browns safety T.J. Ward earlier this season were illegal.  Perhaps the strongest words came for the Brandon Meriweather hit on Ravens tight end Todd Heap.

“This play is inexcusable.  Severe discipline will result in these types of illegal hits,” Anderson said.

The video also show examples of hard, legal hits.  They used Ray Lewis’ hit on Jets tight end Dustin Keller late in Week One as an example of a textbook tough hit.

There has been a lot of backlash to all player safety conversation this week, mostly from players and ex-players.  But the NFL has changed rules throughout its history for player safety and the league is better for it.  (Including the use of a helmet at all.) 

Those changes and the enforcement of those changes were almost always met with resistance.

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37 Responses to “NFL releases video on player safety”
  1. righthereisay says: Oct 21, 2010 7:13 PM

    They should remove the fines with the exception of Merriweather. If they have to send a video of rules to teams, that means maybe they were not clear earlier on. Harrison shouldn’t be charged $75K for their lack of communication.

  2. Kwazycracka says: Oct 21, 2010 7:13 PM

    Did they send them the ‘Moment of Impact’ DVD collection? that can be purchased for 19.95 from the NFL.???

  3. previouslybannedfromPFT says: Oct 21, 2010 7:17 PM

    On an unrelated note, the NFL will be re-releasing the same video with different audio track under the name, “Jacked UP!”

  4. oldsouth says: Oct 21, 2010 7:17 PM

    First, Goodell makes grown men wear pink against their will, then he suspends people for hearsay, and on top of that, he extorts money from those who play the game as it should be. Goodell is to the left of Stalin, Is this still America? And as far as Harrison’s salary goes, none of you parasites are entitled to this man’s hard earned money.

  5. doe22us says: Oct 21, 2010 7:20 PM

    of course Ray Lewis knows how to hit hard text book style.. I dont understand the uproar just dont hit a player in the head using your helmet its as simple as that.

  6. Florio Lover says: Oct 21, 2010 7:28 PM

    Yet if Keller had ducked in the milliseconds before contrat, Ray Lewis’s hit (which the voice praised highly) would have been illegal.

  7. Beast Of Eden says: Oct 21, 2010 7:29 PM

    Ok this stuff is boring now.

  8. RexR#1 says: Oct 21, 2010 7:44 PM

    maybe just maybe the body armor of today as including the helmet are harder as opposed to the equipment of yesterday and is the major cause to the increased injuries suffered?

  9. SteelHammer92 says: Oct 21, 2010 7:47 PM

    doe22us,
    Ray Lewis had one of the most vicious hits you will ever see on Chad Ochocinco last year. It was illegal and he was fined $25k for it. The final week of the season he was fined again for hitting Austin Collie in the head. If Harrison was fined excessively for an illegal hit for being a repeat offender, why was Lewis only fined $5k for his second illegal hit in a season? Where’s the consistency in that logic?

  10. melikefootball says: Oct 21, 2010 7:57 PM

    You said it all….righthereisay. I think as well, all in an uproar could be lack of communication from the league and sending out this memo and film last week would have made sense. Why the league can’t see this is beyond me. They choose three hits only of all the games last week and really only one was clearly shown to be a reason for a fine..

  11. Sunday...Sunday...Sunday says: Oct 21, 2010 7:58 PM

    I agree that only Merriweather should have been fined. That being said, Harrison has turned this situation into a me against the world deal. With quotes like the following you have to wonder just how stupid and spoiled this guy is: “…..I cannot and will not let the league office stop me from playing the game that I love”.

  12. Sunday...Sunday...Sunday says: Oct 21, 2010 7:59 PM

    # Florio Lover says: October 21, 2010 7:28 PM
    Yet if Keller had ducked in the milliseconds before contrat, Ray Lewis’s hit (which the voice praised highly) would have been illegal.
    —————————————————–
    Keller would have had to be on his knees to get down that low

  13. Tpayneful says: Oct 21, 2010 8:02 PM

    It is liberal wussies like Florio and the NBC crew that have caused this uproar that only they actually want to implement to the detriment of the sport.
    It was stated earlier……..a receiver who is moving extremely fast only has to duck his head for a good hit to be classified as a fine-able offense.
    I wish they would move Sunday Night football to a real man’s network like FOX!

  14. conníe says: Oct 21, 2010 8:28 PM

    Earlier in the week, Goodell was thumping his chest threatening to fine not only players but even coaches who “didn’t teach” the “right way”.
    Now, the league feels they need to “teach” the “right way”.
    WTF?

  15. Slim Charles says: Oct 21, 2010 8:39 PM

    Florio is that kid in class who tells the teacher she forgot to assign homework.
    Tpayneful, keep politics out of it, you dunce. I’m as liberal as can be and I think all this craziness is retarded.

  16. 3octaveFart says: Oct 21, 2010 8:40 PM

    # Tpayneful says: October 21, 2010 8:02 PM
    “I wish they would move Sunday Night football to a real man’s network like FOX!”
    Yee-Haaaaw.
    Then the owners would make even more money by replacing all the players with south-of-the-border illegals and paying them $10 per game!
    Great idea!

  17. Lufer says: Oct 21, 2010 8:44 PM

    There has been a lot of backlash to all player safety conversation this week, mostly from players and ex-players. But the NFL has changed rules throughout its history for player safety and the league is better for it. (Including the use of a helmet at all.)
    Those changes and the enforcement of those changes were almost always met with resistance.
    **************************
    Well said. In the end, innovation is as much a part of NFL tradition as anything else. And with every modification, the game has been enhanced, if pubic acclaim is any consideration.
    Here’s to a safer, smarter NFL; a better NFL.

  18. Spoonthis says: Oct 21, 2010 8:52 PM

    I watched the video and would have felt much more comfortable with John Facenda doing the audio.
    I know, he is dead but that’s how I feel.

  19. Igottz5onit says: Oct 21, 2010 9:06 PM

    This is gonna leave a lot to the ref’s interpretation.

  20. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: Oct 21, 2010 9:08 PM

    The issue isn’t whether Dunta Robinson’s hit on DeSean Jackson was legal. It wasn’t. The officiating crew’s call on the field (i.e., hit to a defenseless receiver) was correct.
    The issue is whether Robinson’s $50,000 fine for unnecessary roughness is excessive, given that Jackson completed the catch, made contact with the ground, and was, in fact, facing the defender before he was “blown up.”
    This video makes it abundantly clear that it was a right shoulder hit to the upper chest—NOT head or neck—of DeSean Jackson. One can therefore reasonably conclude that Robinson’s intent was to separate the ball from the player, and THAT IS HIS JOB!
    Wasn’t Wes Welker a defenseless receiver when he received a forearm blow to the head from Jets safety Eric Smith on an overthrown pass during Week 2? Recall, Smith received only a $7,500 fine.
    My understanding is that Robinson is now appealing his $50,000 fine. If the NFL has any sense of proportionality and fairness on this important issue, then it will reduce Robinson’s fine so as to differentiate what he did from what Meriweather (also fined $50,000) did. Otherwise, the NFL runs the risk of not only confusing and exasperating its players and fans alike, but making the game less appealing/interesting to watch.

  21. isthatright says: Oct 21, 2010 9:26 PM

    Approx 3:13 in the video, they use KC’s Jarrad Page as an example of a “clean hit” yet he was flagged in the game for the hit.

  22. Stone says: Oct 21, 2010 9:27 PM

    That video is actually perfection. Fans and players shouldn’t have any issues with the policy after having watched this video. The legal hits were brutal enough to satisfy anyone’s blood lust, and the illegal hits are obviously taking players out of the game. As a fan, I don’t want my players getting knocked out of games for illegal hits anymore.

  23. superfan99 says: Oct 21, 2010 10:05 PM

    Ironic that a video on player safety shows a hit that injures a player (Bennett’s block on SEA punter Jon Ryan).

  24. Direwolf says: Oct 21, 2010 10:12 PM

    But the NFL has changed rules throughout its history for player safety and the league is better for it.  (Including the use of a helmet at all.) 
    Is there data to support the assertion that hard helmets prevent more injuries than they cause? They make an excellent weapon. They facilitate defenders leading with their heads. They are pretty good at protecting the face but it is hard to argue that they effectively reduce concussions.

  25. Direwolf says: Oct 21, 2010 10:15 PM

    But the NFL has changed rules throughout its history for player safety and the league is better for it.  (Including the use of a helmet at all.) 
    Is there data to support the assertion that hard helmets prevent more injuries than they cause? They make an excellent weapon. They facilitate defenders leading with their heads. They are pretty good at protecting the face but it is hard to argue that they effectively reduce concussions.

  26. theodore says: Oct 21, 2010 10:23 PM

    The NFL needs to release a video of Tom Brady’s hair waving in the wind.

  27. conníe says: Oct 21, 2010 10:29 PM

    Goodell could turn boxing into dodgeball.

  28. Shadenfreuder says: Oct 22, 2010 12:08 AM

    Merriweather was just showing off for his fellow “U” alumni Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. He is a typical dumbass punk who, to quote Bill Parcells, “just doesn’t get it.” He has exhibited punk behavior since college, when he was stomping players that were on the ground when Miami and Florida Atlantic had their brawl. Belichick should never have drafted him, and I bet he wishes he hadn’t.
    As a Patriots fan who saw Daryl Stingley paralyzed by a hit on the football field, I take no pleasure in sleazy and cheap hits like the ones that transpired last week. Most of the internet tough guys bemoaning the NBAzation of the NFL have probably never put on pads and a helmet. I enjoy a hard hitting, well played game. I don’t need to see gratuitous violence from the NFL. And headshots do nothing to prove anyone’s toughness.
    Oh, by the way, the real reason that the NFL is clamping down on this stuff is obviously their desire to expand to an 18 game regular season. They have to protect the players better to get the players’ union to agree to that. Maybe this is a hopeful sign that progress is happening at the negotiating table.

  29. REDSKINWARRIOR1112 says: Oct 22, 2010 12:16 AM

    ALL THESE NOT FOR REAL FANS WANT TO TURN THIS GAME “AMERICA’S REAL PAST TIME” IN TO SLOW BORING baseball!!! CMON BASEBALL IS DYING IF A NFL BLOWOUT CAN BEAT A YANKEES PLAYOFF GAME THEN YOU KNO THE NFL DESTROYS THE DYING MLB!! THATS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE!! NHL AND THE NFL ARE AMERICAS BEST SPORTS BECAUSE OF THE HARD HITS!! THE NFL IS DESTROYING THE GREAT ON-FIELD PRODUCT FOR WHAT A WR DODGING A HIT AND GETTING HIS HEAD KNOCKED OFF CMON THIS IS BS!! ITS FOOTBALL A MAN’S GAME IF THEY CANT TAKE THE HARD HITS WHY DO THEY PLAY???? WHINY PUNKS TRY TO RUIN THIS GREAT GAME!!! WAKE-UP THIS IS FOOTBALL NOT MLB

  30. REDSKINWARRIOR1112 says: Oct 22, 2010 12:23 AM

    THE NFL IS RUINING THIS GREAT SPORT! THE NFL IS BY FAR AMERICA’S BEST SPORT AND IT IS “AMERICA’S REAL PAST TIME” MLB SUCKS!!! ITS A DYING SPORT! IF THE NFL IS WISE IT WILL KEEP THE THINGS THAT MAKE THIS SPORT PROFITABLE!!!!!!!!!

  31. hitnbombs28 says: Oct 22, 2010 12:25 AM

    During the video the commentator clearly states that a defenseless receiver is one in the act of making a catch….yet the last two “legal hits” shown are made while the receiver is in the act of making the catch. If I’m wrong on this one could someone please set me straight

  32. Wick says: Oct 22, 2010 1:49 AM

    One would have to be a nerd of BIBLICAL proportions to use the words “clarity” and “clarify” in this context.
    Yeah, ‘cuz it’s so effing simple, isn’t it?
    Imbeciles – only a complete nerd with virtually zero testosterone and no athletic background would go there.
    In the kindest way I can explain it, the game is fast … real fast. Commitments need to be made exceptionally quickly with the mindset of separate the man from the ball while enemies are seeking to inflict ill will on you.
    This is not deliberately sizing up a croquet shot with a sweater wrapped around your Izod polo shirt. This is not shaving micro-fractions off the Hubble Space Telescope’s mirror.
    But it’s just great to hear the dweebs who’ve never rocked or gotten rocked on a football field tell us how much CLARITY there is.

  33. OscarMooseFarmer says: Oct 22, 2010 1:51 AM

    @rightthereisay and melikefootball..
    It is not a matter of a lack of communication. Try that defense when you catch a DUI…”uh, officer, I don’t believe I’ve been sent a video clearly explaining the rules regarding this..”
    It’s not the leagues job to communicate the rules and the proper techniques to players. It’s the coaches responsibility, and the rulebook is right there for anyone of them to read.
    When i coached high school kids the active line up sheet which was to be submitted to an official an hour before kick off had a line that bottom that stated that the coach who signed and submitted the sheet certifies that his players have been informed of the rules football and are properly equipped.
    “Lack of communication”? That is frankly some real BS.

  34. contract says: Oct 22, 2010 6:47 AM

    “The video also show examples of hard, legal hits. They used Ray Lewis’ hit on Jets tight end Dustin Keller late in Week One as an example of a textbook tough hit.”
    The only difference between the Ray Lewis example of a “hard, legal hit” and the Harrison hit on Massaquoi is that Massaquoi crouched down just before impact.
    All this video says is “If the receiver ducks, too damn bad, you’re getting fined.”

  35. edgy1957 says: Oct 22, 2010 10:41 AM

    Rhode Island Patriots Fan says:
    This video makes it abundantly clear that it was a right shoulder hit to the upper chest—NOT head or neck
    ***********
    In what world does that happen? The video shows him hitting him in the HEAD with his HELMET. If you look at one angle, it looks different but if you look at the front side, you clearly see him hit with his HELMET first and it’s got chin and helmet. It’s off to the side and not as bad as it could have been but if it were a shoulder hit like you guys keep claiming, he would have never generated enough power to — wait for it — knock BOTH of the players out. Robinson wasn’t writhing around in pain after the play, he was OUT COLD.
    I dare you to watch the video and tell me with a straight face that it was a shoulder hit:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAR_zEvT7dM
    Oh and the hit on Walker was just as bad; maybe even more. That kind of hit should get the full treatment the next time that it happens.

  36. Jeff says: Oct 22, 2010 12:03 PM

    hitnbombs28 says:
    October 22, 2010 12:25 AM
    During the video the commentator clearly states that a defenseless receiver is one in the act of making a catch….yet the last two “legal hits” shown are made while the receiver is in the act of making the catch. If I’m wrong on this one could someone please set me straight

  37. Jeff says: Oct 22, 2010 12:07 PM

    isthatright says:
    October 21, 2010 9:26 PM
    Approx 3:13 in the video, they use KC’s Jarrad Page as an example of a “clean hit” yet he was flagged in the game for the hit.
    —-
    There are lots of plays that are ruled a penalty on the field that the league later looks back on and decides it either wasn’t a penalty or not bad enough to levy further discipline, just as there are plenty of plays that don’t garner a penalty on the field, but end up with a fine or suspension.
    My bigger concern is that the league had to go back to Week 4 of LAST YEAR to find an example of a good, clean hit in this situation.

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