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Andrew Hawkins: Widening field would create fewer big hits

Andrew Hawkins AP

The NFL isn’t planning to explore the topic of widening the playing field this year, but one player who has played in both the CFL and NFL thinks that doing it would help the league cut down on the violent hits that have raised player safety concerns in recent years.

Bengals wide receiver Andrew Hawkins played two years with the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes before making the jump to the NFL. His experience playing on Canada’s wider fields left him with the feeling that the NFL would have fewer big hits if they did make the playing field larger.

“It would prevent a lot of the severe collisions. Guys are getting faster every year. We know that. But with the NFL spacing being more confined than the CFL, there are a lot more big hits. There are a lot more tight windows. It would prevent not all, but a larger portion, of big hits,” Hawkins said, via the Bengals website. “There are more big hits here. I don’t care how fast you are. If a field is a certain size, you’re not going to be able to get there by the time the ball gets there.”

Hawkins said he didn’t think the NFL should go from 160 feet to Canada’s 195 feet because there is one extra player in the Canadian league, but that he could see them finding another width that makes the game safer without compromising the on-field product. It’s not something he’s stumping for as much as just answering a question about the differences between the leagues, but it’s an interesting view on a discussion that probably won’t end with the league’s decision not to address it in the Competition Committee this time around.

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13 Responses to “Andrew Hawkins: Widening field would create fewer big hits”
  1. tjacks7 says: Feb 12, 2013 9:53 AM

    Because it would allow more room for the offense to operate and make it harder for a defense to defend. Allowing the NFL to continue its mission of making this a pass happy, high scoring league. Why not only allow 7 defenders to be on the field? Or make all defenders weigh less than 120 lbs? Those ideas would be just as terrible as this one and accomplish the same thing.

  2. jm91rs says: Feb 12, 2013 9:57 AM

    “It’s not something he’s stumping for as much as just answering a question about the differences between the leagues, but it’s an interesting view on a discussion that probably won’t end with the league’s decision not to address it in the Competition Committee this time around.”

    You just became my favorite PFT writer. Actually putting a guy’s quotes into context! Most of these posts take a tiny bit of a quote and make it sound like the guy was banging on his locker telling everyone to listen up while he preaches. Finally a writer that acknowledges that most of the times a player opens his mouth it’s to answer a question someone asked him.

  3. yssupasigninnamnotyep says: Feb 12, 2013 9:59 AM

    And then all the multi-million and billion dollar stadiums throughout the league will have to be modified to accomodate the wider field, costing the tax-payers millions of more dollars?

    If this keeps up, I don’t see the NFL lasting much longer…this idea should go in the trash bin along with eliminating kickoffs.

  4. freepretzels says: Feb 12, 2013 10:03 AM

    This is a stupid idea that is getting WAY too much attention.

  5. tundratommy says: Feb 12, 2013 10:09 AM

    Substitute “less talented players” for “widening the field” and reread the article.

  6. marvsleezy says: Feb 12, 2013 10:13 AM

    Yea, the NFL is in no hurry to remove the first 10 rows of seating for a larger field. I cant blame them.

  7. theytukrjobs says: Feb 12, 2013 10:16 AM

    The federal government should come in and fix this thing like they fix everything else. Even if we save just one person. I for one am willing to give up football if the government promises it will make people safer.

  8. romosmicrodongs says: Feb 12, 2013 10:24 AM

    yea there is more space to defend for corners, but it would also add more room on the edge for cutback RBs like al morris and franky g

  9. ebrownwareagle says: Feb 12, 2013 10:40 AM

    I have been saying this for YEARS! 100 yards is 100 yards… In every major sport the field or court of play grows with you. Baseball the field size changes from T-Ball, all the way to the Pros. Basketball the same. With the exception of Football! These Grown Men play on the same size field in Pop Warner, High school and the NFL. The only Constant in that is The Field Size! The players are Bigger, Faster, and Stronger! Yet the field size stays the same. Really doesn’t make sense. The field should be widen from 50 yards to at least 65 yards.

  10. shaunypoo says: Feb 12, 2013 10:41 AM

    I don’t see any issue if you added 1-2 yards to each side of the field. I want to see points scored and it would make the game a little more exciting while making it a little more safer. Of course all the recordbooks would need to reflect the change, but so what.

    And by only adding 1-2 yards you can’t tell me that there would need to be any major renovations to anything but the oldest stadiums. Those guys have a ton of room on the sidelines. If there is a little less room then maybe you tighten the restrictions on who can be on the sidelines.

  11. footballchic777 says: Feb 12, 2013 11:16 AM

    You could add 5 total yards width, taking away 7 and a half feet on each side, and not have to make changes to the stadiums. It is not a major change, and you could easily see if the expansion of width makes a difference. You could probably even go a little wider and still not have stadium changes. Not many negatives to the suggestion.

  12. nebster21 says: Feb 12, 2013 11:32 AM

    Yeah let’s let the government come in and take over the NFL. You know because of the great job it did with the USPS. I think widening the field is a great idea.

  13. pizzon says: Feb 12, 2013 12:59 PM

    welcome to the National Arena Football League!

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