Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott played football with such reckless abandon that when he suffered an injury to the tip of his left pinky finger, he famously requested to have it cut off so he wouldn’t have to sit out during the time it would have taken to let the injury heal properly. Times have changed, and you won’t see the NFL glorifying that moment.
Instead, what the NFL now promotes is a different way of playing football, and the NFL has Lott leading the charge. Lott and John Madden the co-chairs of the league’s Player Safety Advisory Panel, and Lott is now one of the public faces of the league’s emphasis on player safety. As part of that effort, Lott serves as the host of the league’s latest video to promote the proper way to hit.
The video, which you can watch here, shows good, clean hits from last year’s conference championship games and the Super Bowl, and Lott points out that the games were physical but not dirty.
“Tremendous athletic ability and hard-hitting action — all within the rules — are what made last year’s championship games so great,” Lott says. “There were no helmet-to-helmet hits, no hits on defenseless receivers, and no player fines in any of the three games.”
At a time when many NFL players and fans think the league has gone too far with its emphasis on player safety, especially in the wake of the Ed Reed suspension, Lott is using his strong credibility on the subject to bolster the NFL’s side.