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Emmitt Smith criticizes proposed helmet rule

emmitt-smith Getty Images

The NFL’s Competition Committee has proposed a rule that would penalize runners for lowering their heads to initiate contact with defenders.

The NFL’s all-time leading rusher thinks that’s kooky talk.  And he has a good point.

“If I’m a running back and I’m running into a linebacker, you’re telling me I have to keep my head up so he can take my chin off?’’ Smith told 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.  “You’ve absolutely lost your mind.’’

Football is always about getting lower than the other guy.  And if the running back doesn’t get his head low, Emmitt’s right; the running back is going to take a helmet square in the chin.

“As a running back, it’s almost impossible [to not lower your head],’’ he said.  “The first thing you do is get behind your shoulder pads.  That means you’re leaning forward and the first part of contact that’s going to take place is your head, regardless.

“I disagree with the rule altogether.  It doesn’t make any sense for that position.  It sounds like it’s been made up by people who have never played the game of football.’’

The rule still hasn’t been passed.  At next week’s league meetings in Arizona, at least 24 owners will have to vote in favor of the change.

If the rule is adopted, look for a lot more criticism — from players and from fans.  And if the players hope to prevent the rule from being passed, the time to make noise is now.

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87 Responses to “Emmitt Smith criticizes proposed helmet rule”
  1. riverhorsey says: Mar 14, 2013 8:16 PM

    Smith is right. Now Emmet help us get online poker legalized because it doesn’t hurt anyone.

  2. operwapitsai says: Mar 14, 2013 8:16 PM

    almost as bad as proposed ” take fighting out of hockey.” like come on, thats the game boys

  3. kentonjk says: Mar 14, 2013 8:18 PM

    Hey just change it to flag football you won’t have to worry about all the rules

  4. nineroutsider says: Mar 14, 2013 8:18 PM

    NFL to ball carriers: “Go ahead and break your neck or jaw, just avoid a concussion. Thanks!”

  5. marvsleezy says: Mar 14, 2013 8:19 PM

    And what would Emmitt Smith know? Uh, Rodgers got this one, he played pee wee ball, keep quiet.

  6. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Mar 14, 2013 8:19 PM

    Just what the NFL doesn’t need, more rules, more penalties, more delays and more frustration for players and fans.

  7. jjthesportsguy says: Mar 14, 2013 8:20 PM

    Emmitt is absolutely right. Sounds exactly like somebody suggesting rules who has laced up cleats and put a helmet on.

  8. hendeeze says: Mar 14, 2013 8:20 PM

    Emmitt, in your professional opinion, who do you feel is the escape goat in this situation?

  9. sknsfn1027 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:20 PM

    Just take the helmets & pads off and play flag football!! Roger Goodell is ruining the game. Better yet take one player off each team and they can play Madden football each week!! When the fans walk away from the sport because it is sissified see how much the owners make then. They should change the name to NCFL. Non Contact Football League!! What a joke!!

  10. haterville says: Mar 14, 2013 8:20 PM

    why not just remove helmets and pads.. and give everyone flags or play touch football??

  11. skins21 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:20 PM

    Wow. Emmit just debacled that rule!

  12. jets4gold says: Mar 14, 2013 8:21 PM

    this shocks me that Smith doesn’t like this one!!!

  13. broncosfan29 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:22 PM

    you can thank the great commish for this. what a joke

  14. jarvis1104 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:22 PM

    I have to agree. It’s just natural to lower your head when running into someone. The key is not to lead with the head. They teach kids that. If a guy lowers his shoulder, he has to lower the head too. This rule would never work

  15. the2013miamidolphins says: Mar 14, 2013 8:22 PM

    his wife will be lauding the move in 10 years after develops parkinsons

  16. w0rkh0lic1 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:22 PM

    It turns every tackle for running backs into a league mandated uppercut. Emmitt Smith is totally correct.

  17. stephenolszewski says: Mar 14, 2013 8:23 PM

    I agree with Emmit it’s human nature to try and protect yourself and lowering your head to truck that person sometimes is a defense to your body

  18. ahostiletakeover says: Mar 14, 2013 8:24 PM

    I mean, if a guy like Stevan Ridley wants to knock himself out on something like Bernard Pollard ‘s helmet, who are we fans or the commissioner or any other non-player to say differently?

  19. sbaltimore says: Mar 14, 2013 8:24 PM

    They want to get rid of one stupid rule (Tuck rule) and replace it with this one, which is even more stupid.

  20. sadskinsfan89 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:25 PM

    Is this even gonna b football anymore? what on earth are they doing to the game? leave it alone

  21. INDUCTIVE CONSULTING, LLC says: Mar 14, 2013 8:25 PM

    Wouldn’t passing this highly increase the injury risk to the RB, far surpassing any ‘reduced’ injury risk to the defense? These guys have 11 huge guys who lift weights every day after them and they can’t even defend themselves? What is this, the Roman Colosseum?

  22. 2jivecrew says: Mar 14, 2013 8:26 PM

    But of course he never spoke up for a defender’s right to lean into their hits. Emmitt is only cool with spearing if it’s the offensive guy doing it.

  23. gerard33 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:26 PM

    He’s right, dumb idea… just keep the game how it is and if guys aren’t cut out to play it, quit and join the normal world

  24. raynman49 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:26 PM

    First thing he ever said that made sense.

  25. nfl4days says: Mar 14, 2013 8:27 PM

    The only thing that can stop the NFL, is the NFL, and theyre doing a great job at it. At the rate the NFL is going, we’re gonna be talking about football like older men talking about boxing, and how great it WAS.

  26. Deb says: Mar 14, 2013 8:27 PM

    Traumatic brain injury is caused when the brain slams into the skull as a result of trauma to the head, right? So wouldn’t it be equally dangerous to slam into the skull from the front or underneath the chin if the head is up, as from the crown if the head is lowered?

    Did the league secure any actual medical data to demonstrate the new rule would be safer before making this proposal? But how silly of me … they’ve never done that before making any other rule changes, have they?

  27. norcal031 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:28 PM

    Emmitt Smith did not say those things. He does not know words like “altogether” and “if” and especially does not know now to say “the”. Someone wrote that quote for him…..

  28. purplehaze12 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:29 PM

    Why? …because AP was injured half the season and nearly broke the record for rushing yards?

  29. eastcoastninerfan says: Mar 14, 2013 8:29 PM

    Emmitt, whatcha thinking? Now granted that your totally right, but this rule will most likely guarantee your records will never be broken!

    Sure this will only hurt the game and is even geared more to QBs, but Goodell is basically stating the you’ll forever be the all time rushing leader.

    Glad he speaks from the heart, hopefully collective minds will listen.

  30. trollhammer20 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:30 PM

    So, what is everyone going to watch more of when the NFL becomes too prissy to watch?

    I’m thinking Super 14 rugby or Aussie Rules.

  31. jimnsota says: Mar 14, 2013 8:30 PM

    Did Green Bay bring Emmitt in yet for a look??

  32. 22gb says: Mar 14, 2013 8:30 PM

    With a rule like that Adrian Peterson might end up with more penalty yards than rushing yards.

  33. deminizer says: Mar 14, 2013 8:31 PM

    If RB’s can’t lower their helmets, how else will they get blowed up?

  34. richc111 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:31 PM

    Don’t matter laywers will bring this league to its knees eventually. It is only a matter of time, and when the NFL is gone the lawyers will move somewhere else and extract money from someone else. In nature they are call parasites. they live off the host until the host dies.

  35. thefox61 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:33 PM

    No play for Mr. Gray

  36. milkmansalamander says: Mar 14, 2013 8:33 PM

    if this rule ever happens, football loses in every aspect. nfl as we know it will be over. im in awe that this rule is even being considered.

  37. minnesotablizzard says: Mar 14, 2013 8:33 PM

    “I disagree with the rule altogether. It doesn’t make any sense for that position. It sounds like it’s been made up by people who have never played the game of football.’’

    You’re completely correct Emmitt Smith. If some people havent noticed yet, Roger Goodell is clearly a corporate/owners shill, he’s trying to make the game as profitable as possible at ANY and ALL costs to the game.

    This is nothing more than a PR move, made by people that have never even played football but are plagued with those pesky concussion stories. All they care about is the public image of the league in relation to sponsor money. The NFL is going to jump the shark in the next 5 years. The next proposal will probably have something to do with longer breaks for more commericals!

    I don’t really like watching soccer; but when I recently watched a match with my friend I loved the true passion of their fan bases and the energy those crowds created seemed to build as the game did, which is not stopped for commerical breaks. They would never desecrate their most beloved sport like that…you know, kind of the opposite of what the NFL is doing to Football.

  38. bearsfankarnik87 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:34 PM

    It also isn’t fair that a defender gets a 15-yard penalty every time he lowers his head so he can lead with his should to put a big hit on somebody, yet that rule is in there. The so-called “player safety rules” have been nothing more than the league attempting to make defense impossible to play. Offensive players have SO many advantages over to defenders thanks to “player safety” rules its absurd. You can’t hit a receiver after he’s caught the ball but is still in the air, never mind that that’s why the safety position exists! Don’t even consider touching the quarterback at any point. Yet defenders get hit at all angles, running backs lead with their heads on nearly every run, and wide receivers and running backs shove their hands into the face masks of defenders all the time. If these rules truly are about player safety, the offensive rules need to change too, not just the defensive ones.

  39. jaggedmark says: Mar 14, 2013 8:34 PM

    Anyone remember the clothesline scene in the original “Longest Yard”? That’s what we’ll be looking at.

  40. xxakshunxx says: Mar 14, 2013 8:38 PM

    The only reason the NFL is even thinking of these changes are because all the ex-players tryin to sue the league from injuries after they retire.. These guys can’t have it both ways.. They say you’re making the game soft but then you see some of these same guys complaining of the long term results from playing

  41. bramirez071193 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:41 PM

    funny how the patriots’ stevan ridley got hurt and the nfl proposes a new rule to keep that from happening again just like the brady rule

  42. jetsncoleslaw says: Mar 14, 2013 8:47 PM

    There is no way those are direct quotes from Emmitt Smith, the guy can’t put a coherent sentence together if he tried.

  43. ctp603 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:56 PM

    Why not just eliminate the hand-off altogether? Man, I liked it when my Giants were 3 yards and a cloud of dust..

    The game has changed toward an aerial attack, but this proposed rule change doesn’t even vibe with the basic principles of physics. For once Emmitt is correct.

  44. bbwasright says: Mar 14, 2013 9:03 PM

    I wonder if putting a layer of foam padding on the outside of the helmets would address some of these issues more effectively than trying to force players to change the way they play and fining them twice my annual salary (and less than 1% of theirs) each time they mess up.

  45. khmer379 says: Mar 14, 2013 9:18 PM

    Lame might as well play flag football

  46. purplepunisher says: Mar 14, 2013 9:18 PM

    NFL – PLease stop ruining the game I love!

  47. nghtrder169 says: Mar 14, 2013 9:23 PM

    The real issue is the HELMET itself…but the NFL will never change it

  48. mnrube23 says: Mar 14, 2013 9:25 PM

    make it so you cant use a Rb at all. thats what it will be if this rule passes

  49. sourdoughsam says: Mar 14, 2013 9:28 PM

    When did politicians take over the NFL? Was this an overnight thing or have they been gradually been infiltrating positions in the league office?

  50. toonloonboon says: Mar 14, 2013 9:30 PM

    i lowered my head when he was on dancing with the stars

  51. tbdangerous21 says: Mar 14, 2013 9:30 PM

    So by the time my kids are my age, The NFL will be a flag football league. Arena<NFL in 15+ yrs? I could see it.

  52. poridge1214 says: Mar 14, 2013 9:32 PM

    No, Emmitt, this is a completely different league than the one you played in, where defenders were actually allowed to hit you. In today’s game a defender can’t blink at an offensive guy, meanwhile the RB can stiff arm him right in the face with no penalty.
    The game is being turned into a no-contact flag league as far as the offense is concerned, so I’m all for leveling the field so the defense can catch a break.

  53. musicman495 says: Mar 14, 2013 9:33 PM

    Another genius suggestion from Roger the Limo Driver.

    How soon can we get these stupid concussion lawsuits settled, so we can go back to getting decisions made by people who know the game for the good of the game, instead decisions made of, for, and by liability lawyers?

  54. warhammer420 says: Mar 14, 2013 9:39 PM

    And the effort to change the NFL into Sarcastaball continues…

  55. bkostela says: Mar 14, 2013 9:39 PM

    emmitt has a great point. why should the ball carrier be penalized for trying to protect himself? instead, how about NOT penalizing defenders for helmet-to-helmet hits when the contact was initiated by the offensive player lowering his head?

  56. vgferenzi says: Mar 14, 2013 9:49 PM

    Football is about lowering your pads, not your head. If your body gets low and your head follows, it is no problem. This is designed to keep players from tucking their chin and possibly getting cervical injuries, as well as, keeping offensive players from taking advantage of a rule that inhibits defensive players from protecting themselves let alone playing to potential.

  57. jskill3 says: Mar 14, 2013 10:02 PM

    Emmitt is right.

    Imagine the QB sneak being called a penalty, lowering the head and pushing through the line. No more diving for that extra yard. No more diving over the line and into the end zone. Just stand upright, so the defense can hit the new, tiny tackle zone legally. With their shoulder.

    Uh huh. Let’s just change it to basketball.

  58. panthrobro says: Mar 14, 2013 10:04 PM

    I always get a kick out of the dummies who blame Goodell for competition committee changes.

    *NEWS FLASH* hey morons Goodell doesn’t propose these changes. Its an 8 member board of coaches and team executives.

  59. ben1332 says: Mar 14, 2013 10:11 PM

    But Jeff Fisher supports it. I’m sure that’s a completely selfless opinion that has nothing to do with him losing his bruising back to the Falcons

  60. packerman1968 says: Mar 14, 2013 10:14 PM

    Sweetness is rolling in his grave. This water down version of the NFL is really starting to suck.

  61. chi01town says: Mar 14, 2013 10:15 PM

    Goodell started all this crying with this safety crap. this is FOOTBALL
    ITS NOT SUPPOSE TO BE SAFE. any high pass over the middle is supposed to be dangerous. a QB holding the ball is suppose to be in DANGER. Goodell needs to go now!

  62. n001363 says: Mar 14, 2013 10:16 PM

    Stunningly stupid idea. Epically idiotic. Game will be ruined. Find these people and give us their names. They need to be ripped until they crawl under a rock to escape the ridicule.

  63. deetrain11 says: Mar 14, 2013 10:21 PM

    jetsncoleslaw says:
    Mar 14, 2013 8:47 PM
    There is no way those are direct quotes from Emmitt Smith, the guy can’t put a coherent sentence together if he tried.

    How about you NOT jump to conclusions and take a min. or two and listen to the ACTUAL RECORDING of him speaking the words that u and others say that aren’t from him!!! I will agree that he didn’t leave a good impression when he was on the nfl network…..he sounds like he has worked really hard at improving on his past flaws. So before take a listen at how he talks NOW……and not how he sounded back THEN!!

  64. steelersfanfromtheseventies says: Mar 14, 2013 10:24 PM

    So let me get this sh^&&%&t straight. Hold your head up so you can have linebacker drive his helmet into your chin and your jaw bone get’s driven into the brain. Maybe roger is attempting to make his worst nightmare come true.

  65. deetrain11 says: Mar 14, 2013 10:26 PM

    I meant to say, before u guys judge him…take a listen to the podcast

  66. omegalh says: Mar 14, 2013 10:35 PM

    If they both keep their head up, its an old fashion leather helmet tackle.

  67. ninerdynasty says: Mar 14, 2013 10:47 PM

    I think Gooddell wants the players to Tap down in such situations.. avoid contact to the head.. You’re only allowed to take out the players knee’s now.. much less dangerous! (sarcasm)

  68. rickwangen says: Mar 14, 2013 11:07 PM

    Can you imagine how its going to be when your running back for your favorite team is powering in for the winning TD and puts his head down to score and ends up getting a 15 yard penalty instead! This is not going to work! Stupid idea!

  69. vertskate900 says: Mar 14, 2013 11:16 PM

    They lost their mind a while ago. Kickoffs have been watered down (who doesn’t love watching the ball floating into the endzone multiple times?), receivers are basically given the green light to catch the ball without getting hit and qbs aren’t allowed to be touched. Wait until this gets passed or the three point stance gets eliminated. Until you brain dead fans unite and say enough is enough, they’re going to keep picking apart the game America used to love.

  70. taintedsaints2009 says: Mar 14, 2013 11:19 PM

    this game will be two hand touch in 10 years.

  71. cmonelisha says: Mar 14, 2013 11:30 PM

    wonderful..so this guarntees a flag of every play.. either a 15 for lowering your head, or a 15 for not lowering your head and the defender gets helmet 2 helmet contact

    nfl will be done in 5-10 years mark my words on this

  72. themackstrong says: Mar 14, 2013 11:49 PM

    This is on the table from the competition committee?? This has got to be a joke….I honestly didn’t think they would wipe out the kick return and they virtually did 80 % of time a kick and commercial break. 10 years ago I stopped watching NBA after following it because the game was watered down basketball. NFL keeps diluting this game they lose legitimacy & what makes football exciting and millions of fans will find something else.

  73. xli2006 says: Mar 14, 2013 11:50 PM

    The slow death of football before our very eyes.

  74. tigobitties says: Mar 15, 2013 12:55 AM

    dumbest idea ever. I still can’t believe this is even being thought about. All I can do is shake me head and laugh to myself

  75. romospersonalsnuggie says: Mar 15, 2013 1:14 AM

    Why don’t you just change it to flag football… Said 90% of these commenters

  76. stv1719 says: Mar 15, 2013 1:17 AM

    @ hendeeze,
    … it’s just “scapegoat”

  77. heyzeus143 says: Mar 15, 2013 2:08 AM

    Ban the game if it’s so “dangerous.” In fact make baseball use a tennis ball from now on instead of a hardball. Don’t allow hockey players to shoot slap shots. And basketball players shouldn’t be allowed to jump anymore. They all might get hurt.

  78. macjacmccoy says: Mar 15, 2013 3:08 AM

    I agree I hate the rule and I also agree I think Goodell is ruining the game. But guys read who is making this rule. Its the competition committee not Goodell. Yea he is the voice of the league and he is the one putting an emphasis on the supposed need to make changes, and he does dole out the punishments for breaking the rules, but he isnt creating the rule changes and he isnt voting on them. The ones who create these rules and decide if they will be put up in front of the owners to vote on is the Competition Committee.

    They are Co-Chair: Rich McKay (Atlanta Falcons), Co-Chair: Jeff Fisher (St. Louis Rams), Mark Murphy (Green Bay Packers), Ken Whisenhunt (Arizona Cardinals). Stephen Jones (Dallas Cowboys), Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals), John Mara (New York Giants), Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens), and Rick Smith (Houston Texans). These guys are the ones who come up with these rule changes . They deserve the credit(blame) for changing the game into what it is today.

    Its kind of like the government the Competition Committee is like the Senate they make and vote in the laws that will be put in front of the Owners, who are like congress. They decide if the laws the Senate created get put into action. Goodell is like the Vice President. He really is only their to be the mouth of what they are trying to accomplish and if things get jammed up cast the dividing vote. In Goodell’s case instead of casting the deciding vote when things get jammed up, he instead casts out the punishment.

    So instead of blaming the mouth piece blame the people creating the problem. And if your a fan of the teams with people on the CC and you have a problem with how the game is changing, you more then anybody need to put the blame where it belongs and that’s with your head coaches or front office personnel.

  79. macbull says: Mar 15, 2013 5:25 AM

    Glad to hear someone of Emmit Smith’s stature speak out on how dumb this idea/proposed rule change is.

    I said it was “nuts” yesterday and after sleeping on it and giving it more thought…it is still a “nuttie” idea.

    FIX THE HELMETS, ROGER/NFL OWNERS…FIX THE HELMETS.

    The ProCap was used to protect NFL players from the risk of concussion, dating back to the 1980s…AND IT WORKED.

    Yet, Roger Goodell and the NFL owners refuse to even test the ProCap…they won’t even test it against all the existing helmet options…that is how good the ProCap is.

    It is a simple, easy fix that will not cost millions for a team to acquire and use…and it will work.

    Simple technology that worked decades ago in the NFL and Roger and the owners won’t even consider it…don’t you wonder why that is?

    The players and fans need to be asking why the ProCap won’t even be tested against today’s helmet options.

    We know it works…why not test it?

  80. 950003cups says: Mar 15, 2013 5:31 AM

    Hey Roger! Smart. Very smart. Lower concussions by raising paralyzation. Cause that’s what every family wants to see on a Sunday afternoon.

  81. fruitcovejag says: Mar 15, 2013 8:36 AM

    No better expert on the subject in my opinion.

  82. CP says: Mar 15, 2013 10:35 AM

    Rules committee members evidently have a lot of experience with concussions judging by this brain dead proposal.

  83. bluebongzilla says: Mar 15, 2013 10:52 AM

    This is a result of pressure from milquetoast liberal politicians who have never set foot in an arena of any sort of organized physical competition. Business owners feel the same way about them.

  84. bluebongzilla says: Mar 15, 2013 10:56 AM

    “When did politicians take over the NFL?”

    January of 2009.

  85. bluebongzilla says: Mar 15, 2013 10:59 AM

    “There is no way those are direct quotes from Emmitt Smith, the guy can’t put a coherent sentence together if he tried.”

    He can read at grade level, which is better than 80% of NYC high school grads, apparently.

  86. calicowboysfan86 says: Mar 15, 2013 11:33 AM

    Amen.

  87. cmonelisha says: Mar 15, 2013 1:43 PM

    This is on the table from the competition committee?? This has got to be a joke….I honestly didn’t think they would wipe out the kick return and they virtually did 80 % of time a kick and commercial break…
    ________

    you forgot to add flag in between kick and commercial break

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