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Change in horse-collar rule had very limited support

horse-collar Getty Images

Giants co-owner John Mara, a member of the Competition Committee, recently explained to Michael Eisen of Giants.com the ongoing efforts to make the game safer.  Many believe, probably accurately, that the NFL has been significantly influenced in this regard by a rash of lawsuits arising from the days when the NFL wasn’t doing much to make the game safer.

With nearly 1,200 former players and counting filing civil complaints arising from the alleged health effects of concussions, the NFL is paying attention.

But safety concerns have their limits.  Specifically, they could be limited to those areas that give rise to potential liability.

For example, an effort to expand the horse-collar rule to include quarterbacks who are in the pocket failed miserably last month, with Mara telling Eisen that only five of 32 owners supported the move.

“I think the reason the horse collar rule is in effect is it’s such a dangerous play, particularly when a defender grabs the back of a jersey right at the neck area and then ends up falling into the legs of the offensive player,” Mara said.  “That’s not really what happens when the quarterback is in the pocket.  We just felt it did not create the same amount of risk.  I think it was very important.  It’s a natural thing for defensive lineman to reach out and grab the quarterback, but you don’t see them fall into the back of the legs like you see in the open field.”

He may be right, but Steelers owner Art Rooney strongly disagrees.

Regardless of whether quarterbacks who get yanked down from behind while in the pocket face the kind of injury risk that should be removed from the game, it’s safe to say that far more than five owners would have supported the move if there was a connection between horse-collar tackles and concussions.

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7 Responses to “Change in horse-collar rule had very limited support”
  1. mjkelly77 says: Apr 14, 2012 5:46 PM

    … but Steelers owner Art Rooney strongly disagrees.
    ____________________

    I’d disagree too if I had Ben Rapistgberger as my QB. Eliminate the horse-collar while he’s in the pocket and you’ll never bring his big fat a$$ down.

  2. patsforever says: Apr 14, 2012 6:05 PM

    Mjkelly, you took the words right out of my mouth. That is Roethlisberger’s best attribute as a QB. Taking away one of the defensive line’s only effective methods of tackling him would cut the sacks he takes in half. Such a blatantly obvious motivation for Rooney.

  3. holdthemayo123 says: Apr 14, 2012 6:32 PM

    Would have been ridiculous to change the rule, considering the reason it came into existence.

  4. paperlions says: Apr 14, 2012 6:49 PM

    This is a dumb rule to have at all. It was a reaction to two freak injuries on Roy Williams tackles. Guys get tackled by the back of the jersey/pads all the time…when was the last time anyone saw it result in an injury? This type of tackle seems to result in injuries no more frequently than an “legal” type of tackle.

    Rules created in response to isolated incidents are almost always bad ideas. This rule is one of those.

  5. gbr437 says: Apr 14, 2012 7:18 PM

    This is a funny headline to me. It just goes to show you just how far football has come. And i dont mean that in a good sense. Its ironic that all these past players are coming forward in response to the concussions. Had goodell left the game alone and stopped trying to tinker with it then those players would have merely dismissed their injuries as just being apart of the game. No harm. No foul. So its his fault that he now has to worry about these past players coming forward with their lawsuits. He gave them the reason! I mean c’mon! Isnt football supposed to be a full on contact sport where injuries could possibly occur? I mean isnt that why most of were attracted to the sport in the first place?

  6. randallflagg52 says: Apr 14, 2012 8:09 PM

    I’ve seen Suggs destroy Roethlisberger plenty of times without having to use a horse collar. How about your team just gets a halfway decent defender if you want to take Roethlisberger down Patsforever?

  7. catquick says: Apr 14, 2012 11:36 PM

    New rule..if a defensive player just touches the QB the plays over and its a sack. No one gets hurt, the D player doesn’t have to worry about losing a years pay in fines and suspensions, and the QB can’t sneak a quick throw after teh defense lets up. If you’re going to cripple the defensive players momentum, its only fair to cripple the offense’s

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