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NFL may prevent runners from lowering their heads into tacklers

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In another sign that the days of punishing, physical running backs like Jim Brown and John Riggins are coming to an end, the NFL is considering a rules change that would penalize runners for lowering their heads and initiating contact with tacklers.

Members of the NFL’s Competition Committee revealed today that they want to see a new rule that would make it a personal foul for either a runner or a tackler to engage in head-first contact with the crown of the helmet when running into each other outside the tackle box.

“This is a pure and simple player safety rule,” NFL Competition Committee Chair Rich McKay said. “We really think the time has come where we need to address the situation in space where a runner or a tackler has a choice of how to approach his opponent.”

McKay said there was no one specific play that made the Committee propose this rule change, and he said that the play that was viewed by many as the most violent example of a helmet-to-helmet hit in the NFL all season — Bernard Pollard’s collision with Stevan Ridley in the AFC Championship Game — would not have been a penalty because neither player was directly leading with the crown of his helmet.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher, a member of the Competition Committee, said he believes coaches will be able to properly instruct their players in how to adjust to this rule.

“The ballcarrier is still going to be permitted to lower his shoulder, and the head is also going to come down to protect the football,” Fisher said. “We’re not taking that part of the run out of the game. What we’re saying is, in space, one-on-one, head-up, we’re not going to allow you to load up and use the crown of your helmet. It’s an obvious thing.”

It’s obvious that each year, the NFL’s Competition Committee is going to try a little bit harder to take us closer to a time when helmet-to-helmet hits are removed from the game completely.

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130 Responses to “NFL may prevent runners from lowering their heads into tacklers”
  1. fuglyflorio says: Mar 14, 2013 3:43 PM

    Won’t that make it more difficult to grab the flags ?

  2. tvguy22 says: Mar 14, 2013 3:43 PM

    How far behind can the little flags on their belts be?

  3. supersaucy says: Mar 14, 2013 3:43 PM

    How would you even enforce that rule? You duck your head naturally when bracing for impact…

  4. nathan702nelson says: Mar 14, 2013 3:43 PM

    As a Vikings fan this makes me happy and sad. While I love seeing AP run into a defender like an enraged bull, I can’t help but cringe at the thought of his neck snapping one day.

  5. nyyjetsknicks says: Mar 14, 2013 3:43 PM

    NFL may prevent football players from playing football.

  6. bucrightoff says: Mar 14, 2013 3:43 PM

    Just make it flag football already. These guys know the risks, and willingly take them for millions, as many of us would.

  7. blockedshotnyr says: Mar 14, 2013 3:43 PM

    Stupid rule

  8. wwwfella says: Mar 14, 2013 3:43 PM

    are they serious??

  9. pencilmonkeymagic says: Mar 14, 2013 3:44 PM

    What? Run with your head *up*? And get clotheslined?!

  10. blarkins111 says: Mar 14, 2013 3:44 PM

    This is fair to me-it’s been impossible for defensive players to tackle legally the last few years.

  11. watchdawg1103 says: Mar 14, 2013 3:45 PM

    I guess skirts and turning into two hand touch will be coming next.

  12. panamon says: Mar 14, 2013 3:45 PM

    People are going to complain but I see this as on obvious step to improve safety. It’s not hard to see how putting the full force of two people colliding all onto the head and neck can be extremely dangerous.

  13. sportnorcal says: Mar 14, 2013 3:45 PM

    After these clowns get through neutering the game they will need to rename it to something else, because it will no longer be FOOTBALL.

  14. jaylibr87 says: Mar 14, 2013 3:45 PM

    Good shape

  15. surfoside4life says: Mar 14, 2013 3:46 PM

    good luck with that

  16. notaslappy says: Mar 14, 2013 3:46 PM

    Holy sh*t!!! I guess it’s a matter of time before they turn the NFL into two hand touch!!!

  17. metalup666 says: Mar 14, 2013 3:46 PM

    One more part of the game taken away. Next up how to design home and away tu-tu’s!

  18. idolized1 says: Mar 14, 2013 3:46 PM

    Where does this stop?

    You can’t eliminate ALL risk from the game, and while no one likes to see injuries, this is just taking it too far.

    You can’t tackle, run, block, etc… anymore and injuries are still happening at a high rate.

    How do you play the game like this?

    Doesn’t anyone who actually played the game remember what happens when you run with your “ears pinned back?”

    (Hint: You get freakin’ cracked!)

  19. sportsfanjay says: Mar 14, 2013 3:46 PM

    Can the women in the Lingerie Football League lower their heads?

  20. rr2000k says: Mar 14, 2013 3:46 PM

    Well there go most of your helmet to helmet hits….

  21. kylexitron says: Mar 14, 2013 3:47 PM

    Ug they should change these rule change announcements to sometime long before or long after FA/Draft, not right in the middle of FA – all of the fun news we’re hearing gets us pumped up, then these horrible “safety” rules come along to dash enthousiasm for what’s left of the game of football.

  22. indyseriesnick says: Mar 14, 2013 3:47 PM

    Adrian Petersons gonna have to find a new way to own on every carry!!

  23. adamc0nley says: Mar 14, 2013 3:48 PM

    Of course here come the flag football jokes..

    It’s a human safety issue here, folks. Hands down, simple as that.

    The way to initiate change, especially with neck injuries and concussions, is to change the way that everyone SEES the game played.

    I’m just glad to see that for once, a rule will change for the good of the DEFENSE.

    I think it’s a good change, and will eventually help and lead the way for change. No one wants to see someone break a neck or shatter a vertebrae. Especially when they could be a younger kid.

    Listen, I’m not some sort of pansy, wuss. But guys, we’re ultimately talking about PEOPLE here. Everyone is so quick to take the human element out of the game.

  24. bbeaman78 says: Mar 14, 2013 3:48 PM

    Stop ruining the game of Football! How about remove all the stupid rules that have been added since Goodell became commissioner. Idiots!

  25. toreup says: Mar 14, 2013 3:49 PM

    lame

  26. thegreatgabbert says: Mar 14, 2013 3:49 PM

    They want to take out the tuck rule and replace it with the “duck” rule.

  27. sportsfanjay says: Mar 14, 2013 3:49 PM

    Unbelievable. In 15 years, the league is going to be unwatchable. I’m gonna get my son to play rugby. Rugby players at least can play rugby.

  28. blackngold4life says: Mar 14, 2013 3:49 PM

    Now that’s just dumb! so now they want players to just take direct shots? What’s next? No Stiff arms?

  29. Distinguished Male says: Mar 14, 2013 3:50 PM

    What’s next, going into the players’ homes and putting safety plugs in the outlets? Padding on the “sharp” edges of corners? Gates in front of stairs?

    This is like NASCAR saying they need to implement a speed limit for driver safety. “No one goes past 60 mph! Studies show it is much safer than the 200 mph we’re used to.”

  30. randomfan999 says: Mar 14, 2013 3:50 PM

    If you want to stop helmet to helmet collisions on both sides of the ball, remove the helmets from the game. Or go back to wearing leather helmets. I guarantee you won’t see any more of these violent hits when it’s skull to skull.

  31. chawk12thman says: Mar 14, 2013 3:50 PM

    The mitigation against the former NFL Players’ concussion Law Suit against the NFL makes another appearance.

  32. steelerben says: Mar 14, 2013 3:50 PM

    So, you can lower your shoulder and you can drop your head to protect the ball, but you can’t initiate contact with the crown of your helmet? I’ve always said the rules needed to be more arbitrary and allow the refs more judgement calls over intent.

  33. catquick says: Mar 14, 2013 3:51 PM

    Nothing could ever make me want to stop watching the NFL except he NFL itself. It’s getting close.

  34. skylander14 says: Mar 14, 2013 3:52 PM

    Get the skirts out already!

  35. nelszz says: Mar 14, 2013 3:52 PM

    i havent been that against any of the rules made so far, but this really is starting to put me over the edge. just let them play!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. cubancigar10 says: Mar 14, 2013 3:52 PM

    Better yet, give each player a pair of 40 pound soft boxing gloves—enclose them in cotton balls—have them meet at midfield–duke it out for the 60 minutes—and the last last man standing’s team wins the game.

  37. jets4gold says: Mar 14, 2013 3:53 PM

    New rule: No longer allowed to run the ball. Once receiver catches the ball you must fall to the ground. Also defender is permitted to be within 10yards of QB or WR. Only 5 defenders on the field with no substitution.

  38. ispokethetruth says: Mar 14, 2013 3:53 PM

    This is just crazy but not surprising coming from Roger and Co.

  39. joeflaccosunibrow says: Mar 14, 2013 3:54 PM

    Good comment thus far. I bet they are also going to look into giving everybody a mini lombardi trophy and a ring

  40. idolized1 says: Mar 14, 2013 3:55 PM

    No, I’m seriously depressed now.

    Maybe if we all support some upstart league and bring the money over there the talented players will follow and we can leave these jokers currently in charge of the NFL to keep running their brand into the ground.

    How are backs even going to fight for extra yardage standing straight up?

    This will cause more injuries than it will prevent.

    If you stand straight up and give some of these LB’s and Safeties a nice, clean shot at your chest, then you are finished.

    Not only that, how many forearms are going to explode when people try to “brace” themselves?

    Just sickening.

  41. jerrykill4pres says: Mar 14, 2013 3:56 PM

    Rule was suggested by Green Bay defenders. Scared of always facing AP twice a year.

  42. pillowporkers says: Mar 14, 2013 3:56 PM

    Poor Adrian Peterson. This bull rush is a specialty of his. Why do they insist on ruing the game of football?

  43. ronnyhanson says: Mar 14, 2013 3:56 PM

    fisher must be drinking too much of Goodell’s coolaid. this rule is insane. another step in destroying the game. the nfl is going to protect itself from lawsuits, but ruin their product in the process. The owners and Roger are compromising the integrity of the game. it is a violent game. them men who play it are aware of the risk. stop trying to protect people from themselves.

  44. tyler4richardson says: Mar 14, 2013 3:56 PM

    People who have never played the game are ruining sports, football and hockey in particular. Football is turning into touch because outsiders don’t like hard hits and have become concerned with the safety of men they don’t actually care about. Concussion talk is selling magazines and getting website hits I guess. Leave the future of the game in the hands of players of the past and present, not some ESPN analyst or doctor who CNN pays for an interview.

  45. isphet71 says: Mar 14, 2013 3:58 PM

    Might as well make it illegal for the offense to hit, too. It’s only fair to the defense.

    You should also fine a WR every time they make a catch because a DB pulled up instead of hitting them.

  46. miamatt says: Mar 14, 2013 4:00 PM

    This rule actually makes sense to me: keep your head up. This doesn’t mean you can’t get low, it just means you can’t drop your head to spear your way through.

    I was always coached to play that way in high school, both on offense and on defense. It’s a rather simple concept: keep your head up at all times, hit shoulder first. If you do hit helmet first, it will be with the facemask, and then you slide the contact point over to either shoulder. There are many teams we played where players were obviously taught to spear with the helmet, and I always thought those players were gutless.

    Anybody who thinks that one “natutrally drops the head” in anticipation of contact is either misinterpreting the proposed rule change, or has never played running back.

    In any case, it is consistent with other rules changes already in effect. Defensive players aren’t the only ones who can use the helmet as a weapon.

  47. staffordsyear says: Mar 14, 2013 4:00 PM

    Probly just a matter of time before i stop watching this game..sad really.

  48. harrisonhits2 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:01 PM

    First thing kill all the lawyers.

    Then these ridiculous lawsuits from players who damn well knew the risks will go away and the league can go back to real football.

    If most of these players weren’t so pathetically stupid in the way they handled their money and actually saved a couple million to live on after the nfl they wouldn’t need to chase the league for lawsuit money. Instead they take out loans to buy 300k birthday parties for themselves and similar idiocy.

  49. rufusporter says: Mar 14, 2013 4:02 PM

    People lower their heads naturally to protect their necks. This is garbage. There are too many flags and interruptions as it is. When did Willow Treebeard and the hippies take over the competition committee?

  50. edithpiaf51 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:02 PM

    sportsfanjay says: Mar 14, 2013 3:49 PM

    Unbelievable. In 15 years, the league is going to be unwatchable. I’m gonna get my son to play rugby. Rugby players at least can play rugby.

    You are right. In my country of France, we play rugby without hardly any protection and there are not the amount of injuries one has in football. Also isn’t it natural to duck on an impact? I think it is a reflex, how can Commissioner Goodell stop a reflex? Is he trying to alter the nervous systems of the players? Also, football is meant to,be rugged.

  51. miamisaint3255 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:02 PM

    the NFL is about making money, not furthering the game of football. positioning for law suits defense is what these new rules are about. NFL rightfully assumes that fans will continue to watch games and the league will continue to be very popular and get mega TV deals and sell merchandise and tickets, and not lose the law suits coming.

    NFL does not care if its fans like rule changes because it knows those fans will watch the games and buy tickets and merchandise anyways. There is thus no risk whatsoever in changing rules in order to pretend safety is big issue for league and its doing all it can to prevent injuries (for law suits defense).

  52. roxtar10 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:03 PM

    This rule brought to you by: someone who’s never played running back

  53. jetsfansince90 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:03 PM

    Before you know it football will just be people easier filming a group of 4 “coaches” sitting around playing madden. Of course they will switch off after every quarter to avoid carpal tunnel of course. It’s impossible to get rid of the risks involved in football that’s why these players get paid the multimillion dollar salaries. It’s why the cba provides for ongoing health care after the game.

  54. sullijo1 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:04 PM

    In related news, the NFL plans to ban “blinking” when someone claps their hands right in front of your face.

  55. dexterismyhero says: Mar 14, 2013 4:04 PM

    I’m just gonna plug in my electric football game from the 60’s…………….Hell this thing may still be worth something!!

  56. sullijo1 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:05 PM

    Like everything else in the United States, Lawyers are ruining the NFL and making it more expensive in the meantime……..

  57. bgva says: Mar 14, 2013 4:06 PM

    These new rules are in place to avoid injuries, you guys!……….and by “injuries” I mean “lawsuits”.

  58. thejohnsmith1122 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:06 PM

    Might as well mandate players to slide feet first like QBs.

    Wouldn’t it cause more injury if they stayed up instead of ducking lower to the ground? But I guess it all goes back to the multi-million dollar concussion law suits.

  59. pongonfl says: Mar 14, 2013 4:06 PM

    Makes sense, the straight arm to the face mask of a defender has to go too.
    Cannot have all the pressure on defensive players to protect offensive players, yet leave these obvious instances of offensive players doing the same thing to defensive players in the game.
    Cant be done.

  60. sikwiddit says: Mar 14, 2013 4:07 PM

    “It’s obvious that each year, the NFL’s Competition Committee is going to try a little bit harder to take us closer to a time when helmet-to-helmet hits are removed from the game completely.”
    It’s obvious to me that each year, the NFL’s Competition Committee is going to try a little bit harder to take us closer to a time when ANY hits are removed from the game completely.

  61. MichaelEdits says: Mar 14, 2013 4:08 PM

    I’m amazed every time I’m reminded that helmet to helmet contact isn’t illegal all the time.

    Maybe I tackled people head to head when I played, but that could be because we couldn’t afford helmets.

  62. longhairdontcare66 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:08 PM

    My god it’s football players made the decision to play the game. It’s violent ppl get hurt nothing more nothing less.

  63. jsavage58 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:09 PM

    How would a runner bend at the waist without lowering their head?

  64. mwindle1973 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:09 PM

    What’s next…outlaw the stiff arm and the forearm shiver?

  65. lovefootball4life says: Mar 14, 2013 4:10 PM

    If this goes through it will take a long time to retrain the players. It may not really happen until the generation of kids just starting the game learn a different way. It’s something you just learn to do as soon as you get the ball and have to “run through” a defender.

  66. hayespanther31 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:10 PM

    If the NFL would make the money guaranteed in the contract (of course instead of signing for 126 million you sign for 75 million) players wouldn’t care about their health as much. It’s all about the money

  67. warsal says: Mar 14, 2013 4:11 PM

    that’s not going to happen. It’s a natural reaction!!

  68. wrenches2pipes says: Mar 14, 2013 4:12 PM

    To the idiots who say “just keep your head up”. You obviously never played football.

  69. mackcarrington says: Mar 14, 2013 4:13 PM

    You can lower your shoulder but you can’t drop your head?? WHAT???!!!

  70. mogogo1 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:13 PM

    Kiss the game you’ve loved goodbye.

    And next to go will be the 3-point-stance. They’ll make guys stand up all along the line to prevent helmet-to-helmet hits.

  71. blockedshotnyr says: Mar 14, 2013 4:13 PM

    One step closer to Sarcasta Ball

  72. jayynation says: Mar 14, 2013 4:15 PM

    Might as well make it 2 hand touch.

  73. boogerhut says: Mar 14, 2013 4:17 PM

    What!? Are they going to have a finishing school teacher running along with a ruler in the small of the back and a book on their head? “Stand straight, shoulders back, eyes forward young man. Posture makes perfect”. Freakin’ dudes are defiantly on the pipe, drug test THEM.

  74. carpi2 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:17 PM

    The Competition Committee should go ahead and decree that Football will officially be referred to as Rugby. It will make the transition easier for everyone

  75. jarepine says: Mar 14, 2013 4:18 PM

    I can see an end to me watching the NFL if they keep it up with these rule changes.

  76. 6allsohard6more says: Mar 14, 2013 4:20 PM

    In ten years we are gonna wish the XFL back

  77. noturavragepunk says: Mar 14, 2013 4:20 PM

    First, I don’t see this getting passed. Its a good idea in theory, but it would hurt the game too much to get enough people to vote for it.
    And even if it does get passed, I can see refs making bad calls, well more then normal. When ever someone lowers their head refs will have their hands on the flag, ready to throw it. It seems like its going to be based on judgement calls and that leads to bad, inconsistant calls.

    And finally, isn’t there supposed to be safer helmets out there. I have heard many players and people outside of the NFL talk about how they need to switch to better helmets, yet the NFL and colleges are still using these helmets that aren’t doing enough to protect the players.

  78. footballchic777 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:20 PM

    How about we do this…. How about we have all the NFL players sign a contract that says they’re not going to sue anybody when they get hurt, because they are voluntarily signing up to play the game, and they’re making millions of dollars doing it! And then we can quit making all of these idiotic rules and play the game!

  79. johngaltwho says: Mar 14, 2013 4:21 PM

    Wow, I’ve actually been a proponent of the majority of the rules changes that have been introduced for player safety but this really may be taking it too far. I fear it fundamentally changes the running game and not in a good way. I understand protecting defenseless receivers and quarterbacks who are by nature focused on non-contact events for a period of time (catching/throwing); but there is no reason to anticipate that a running back nor a tackler should be blindsided by contact. Yeah, I dont think I like this….

  80. Canned Heat says: Mar 14, 2013 4:22 PM

    pongonfl says:Mar 14, 2013 4:06 PM

    Makes sense, the straight arm to the face mask of a defender has to go too.
    Cannot have all the pressure on defensive players to protect offensive players, yet leave these obvious instances of offensive players doing the same thing to defensive players in the game.
    Cant be done.
    _________________________________

    That action is still legal at youth level all the way thru the pros, provided the ball carrier isn’t grabbing the face mask or twisting it or initiating with a forced blow (punch). That isn’t even remotely part of the same issue as leading with the head/spearing/illegal helmet contact that they are looking to address.

    What they are looking to implement is spearing on the part of ball carrier, something that has been in discussion in our officials meetings every year and for the last 5. “Keep the head out of football” has been the national HS Fed and College Point of Emphasis since the mid 90’s.

    I find this a bit intriguing, because for years, the only spearing or illegal helmet contact ever called was always on a defender…usually against the ball carrier, and they rarely call that to this day at the D-I and Pro levels where it is almost commonplace, and now they want to stress it as the new point of emphasis for the refs when it becomes rule. How happy are fans going to be when your stud MVP running back bowls over a safety for a first down on 4th and 2 and it comes back with a 15 yarder on the RB. This will get ugly soon after being implemented….book it.

  81. edithpiaf51 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:22 PM

    This is what happens when lawyers take over football.

  82. cjjones5656 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:25 PM

    Has anyone else noticed how small the shoulder pads are these days compared to even the 90’s? The pads today cannot possibly provide as much shock absorption as those of the past.

  83. strctlylo says: Mar 14, 2013 4:25 PM

    wanna save the game, stop the lawsuits, old and new players alike. you know there are risks and you get paid a lot of money for it. you don’t want to get hurt, don’t play the game. do something else.

    liability in the courtroom is turning this game into garbage.

  84. raiderfankirk says: Mar 14, 2013 4:26 PM

    In another ten years it will be basically flag football. Great business opportunity for the right people. A new league with the rules og the 60’s. Of course the LFL may take over by then?

  85. rocketcrab says: Mar 14, 2013 4:26 PM

    The NFL is a product. It is no longer a “sport”. It is a reality show, for profit. If we want to see real “football”, visit your local high school on Friday nights.

  86. mdpickles says: Mar 14, 2013 4:26 PM

    Nobody is going to recognize the NFL in 10 years.

  87. JSpicoli says: Mar 14, 2013 4:31 PM

    Bye Bye NFL

  88. lowlifenebula says: Mar 14, 2013 4:37 PM

    to the people who say that this is good and that we need to remember the human element, let us not forget that these players know the risk. Most have been playing since peewee and know what might happen to them on the field. They also get paid millions of dollars in most cases to take the risks to their bodies. I say poll the players or have them vote on their own safety issues.

  89. cliffordc05 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:37 PM

    Tackling technique in American football is simply becoming similar to rugby. The absence of helmets in rugby naturally led to the adoption of tackling without using the head as a weapon. Ironically, as football helmet safety design improved it led to confidence and belief by players (and coaches) that leading with the head was perfectly safe. As it turns out; it is not safe.

  90. westclaims says: Mar 14, 2013 4:39 PM

    Like a lot of things in life of late, this just adds more involvement by officials. More legislation. The new LFL (lawyer football league).

  91. kadeeu says: Mar 14, 2013 4:40 PM

    The main problem with this is that it adds another judgement call that will called different from week to week. There are already way too many judgement calls like PI and the defenseless receiver that allow officials to affect outcomes. GOODELL PLEASE STOP!!

  92. lvass76 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:40 PM

    What can we do to make the Pro Bowl more enticing? Make every other game more like it! Morons.

  93. jschwanny says: Mar 14, 2013 4:43 PM

    So when Earl Campbell lowered his head and trucked that Rams LB in that famous run, that would be a penalty on Earl in today’s NFL? Beyond ridiculous.

  94. bigperm33 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:47 PM

    I don’t mind this rule if they truly limit it to just the top of the helmet. But the problem is that will not be how it will be enforced – runners should avoid lowering their helmets and leading with the tops of their heads. But contact with a helmet, with the face mask, is inevitable. Refs need to separate between leading with the top of the helmet (for both offense and defense), and incidental/secondary contact with the front, side of the helmet, which is far less dangerous and far more difficult to control. If refs can make that distinction, then these rules are ok. But based on the way all the rules gets blurred, I don’t have much faith that can happen.

  95. boltjolt says: Mar 14, 2013 5:02 PM

    Another step to the game of football being unwatchable. In another few years Baseball could overtake Football as the favorite sport as Goodell continues to ruin the game. I say 5 years from ow it may be a flag football league…with no fans. I wont watch.

    Hope Goodell doesn’t mind losing money and fanbase soon for his league. This is just a ridiculous proposal.

  96. justintuckrule says: Mar 14, 2013 5:06 PM

    I’m sick of everyone complaining about the NFL turning this into two-hand touch. There’s only one solution….

    BOYCOTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Vote with your wallets people!! Quit talking and start acting!! Then watch how quick the game goes back to how it once was.

  97. salventuri says: Mar 14, 2013 5:10 PM

    Might as well just watch golf then.

  98. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Mar 14, 2013 5:10 PM

    WWWWWHAT?!&#%+!

  99. grandpoopah says: Mar 14, 2013 5:11 PM

    It is impossible to run the football without lowering your head. Unless you just want to get blown up on every single play. Running low to the ground is one of the first things any aspiring running back learns. Player safety is important, but it should be addressed within the context of the game. You can’t ask a running back to just go running straight up into a jungle of 300 pound beasts.

  100. deeceefan says: Mar 14, 2013 5:13 PM

    Football fans everywhere just lowered their heads…into their palms

  101. sportsmedicine13 says: Mar 14, 2013 5:18 PM

    The cervical spine is MOST at-risk in the position this rule describes. When an athlete hits someone with their head down, they risk being forced into cervical flexion which can fracture the cervical vertebrae and potentially cause paralysis. Proper coaching and education to young athletes MUST include the concept of “Heads-Up” tackling. This does not seem like a political move as most of you see it. This is a simply a safety issue and this should have been a rule long ago. People who haven’t worked in the NFL have no clue about the injuries these guys play through.

  102. pappavike says: Mar 14, 2013 5:23 PM

    Put skirts on them!! Turning into a joke league sad! sad! Now it is a totally passing league.whats next? No kick offs someone might get hurt? For the money they make! Shame on them I would play for half of what the league minimum is!!

  103. mwatts1 says: Mar 14, 2013 5:25 PM

    I can see it now. Two players running full speed, standing straight up, then POW! They run right into eachother and nothing happens….

  104. jr4real says: Mar 14, 2013 5:27 PM

    I agree with many comments. How can this be enforced? and it seems unsafe for the ball carrier.

    having a FS flying into you even with his shoulder and the runner is not supposed to crunch down?

  105. polapea says: Mar 14, 2013 5:29 PM

    This is getting stupid, they are making major changes without making minor ones first.

    Again:
    -mandatory mouthpieces
    -mandatory knee pads
    -open helmet manufacturing up to co’s without forcing them to pay 3 mil in licensing fees.

    If this rule goes through it’s going to be a trainwreck. There enough botched “leading with the head calls” as is.

  106. intequals6 says: Mar 14, 2013 5:36 PM

    i always enjoy watching people display their ignorance when it comes to safety in football. i’m assuming those that are upset about the rule are people that are stuck on the couch watching the game, and likely have never had a concussion/spinal injury in their life. ignorance is bliss, NFL fans.

  107. roxtar10 says: Mar 14, 2013 5:43 PM

    Okay – I’ve already commented, but the sheer lunacy of this rule is mind-boggling. Can you imagine trying to actually call this at full speed? What constitutes lowering your head? A 30 degree angle? 45? 90?
    So the score is tied 14-14 with less than a minute and a running back looks to position the ball and isn’t running upright when he’s hit. That’ll be a flag and push them back out of FG range? That’ll SERIOUSLY be called consistently???
    From day one of little league football, you’re taught that the quickest way to get hurt is to run upright. We’re going to take away some potential concussions and trade them for how many spine and neck injuries?

  108. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Mar 14, 2013 5:49 PM

    Just what we need, more leaving the outcome of the game to the interpretation of the officials!

  109. prmpft says: Mar 14, 2013 5:52 PM

    and next they are going to BAN football players from the field! CGFL is the next wave! CG players do not require big (or real) salaries…then all of the former human football players can go on the government dole and help to usher along the great socialist/communist era – way to go baddell!

  110. leevi98 says: Mar 14, 2013 5:57 PM

    I don’t have an issue with the rule but claiming Riggins and Jim Brown lower their head like that never saw any of them play…

  111. wludford says: Mar 14, 2013 5:59 PM

    This is stupid. Lowering your head is in many cases a reflex action. And it is part of lowering your pads for impact and leverage.

    How can you lower your shoulder pads, while keeping your head up, without having it ripped off when a LB launches into you?

    How this idiotic proposal made it this far is beyond me.

  112. antalicus says: Mar 14, 2013 6:09 PM

    Just give everyone leather helmets and naturally this will change. You arent going to ram your soft head into someone.

  113. 52crabcakes says: Mar 14, 2013 6:10 PM

    How can you change natural reaction? i will stop watching football before I die, I know it!

  114. antalicus says: Mar 14, 2013 6:11 PM

    The problem with helmets is they are hard. Coat the outside of a helmet in a soft layer and you arent going to have the same effect when raming someone. Think of 2 pool balls covered in foam.

  115. macbull says: Mar 14, 2013 6:12 PM

    FIX THE HELMETS, ROGER !

    This idea of stopping RBs from lowering their head is NUTS !

    The kind of thing you would expect from someone who has never played football beyond high school.

    The Pro Cap successfully protected NFL players from concussions, dating back to the 1980s…IT WORKED !

    Yet Roger Goodell will not mandate the use of the ProCap technology to protect today’s NFL players..go figure.

    Sounds like Roger is more concerned about putting on a show before the concussion lawsuits are litigated, with the hope that the NFL will look like they have changed their ways and actually care about the players health.

    When the evidence of the NFL’s past behavior, dating back to the 1920s, is made public, it won’t paint a caring picture and Goodell and the owners know it. All this talk of and changing of rules, is being done with the idea that Goodell can remake the NFL’s image before it is defined by their past behavior, dating back to the 1920s.

  116. NoobTubeTV says: Mar 14, 2013 6:21 PM

    The NFL is turning into soccer.

  117. rasmusgb says: Mar 14, 2013 6:33 PM

    Since i play halfback, i know that it wouldnt make a difference.. You would just crack Every bone In your lower Body instead and Then end up Like Earl campbell instead…

  118. justintuckrule says: Mar 14, 2013 6:42 PM

    Anyone know whether Arena Football has these rules? I’m seriously considering giving up the NFL.

  119. rmcnulty234 says: Mar 14, 2013 6:45 PM

    How about eliminating the competition committee

  120. dmgkm says: Mar 14, 2013 6:46 PM

    NFL is turning soft. if guys dont want to risk their bodies for millions of $$$$ then find a different career.

  121. halbert53 says: Mar 14, 2013 6:47 PM

    Regrettably there is no rule preventing head to anus collisions, which explains who so many owners, GMs, coaches and players need a glass navel to see out.

  122. wludford says: Mar 14, 2013 7:24 PM

    The NFL wants to make the game “more exciting” (read: more passing) in hopes it will deliver more profits.

    More passing leads to more injuries. Most injuries, especially major injuries, happen on passing plays. QBs, linemen, CBs, and WRs are all more likely to get injured- and seriously injured- on passing plays.

    If they got rid of most of the rule changes over the past 20 years that favor passing- there would be more balance between running and passing, and fewer injuries.

    And the game would more closely resemble what it was meant to be, there would be fewer ticky-tack penalties and jump balls to impact and distort the play on the field with the score of the game. It would become a less QB-centric game, and more of a team game as well.

    All of which would be good for the game.

  123. greatestgamensports says: Mar 14, 2013 7:44 PM

    O cough with these sissy a$s rules already its football people, players know exactly what they getting into from a young child if they wanted a safe no contact sport they would have taken up golf as a career so just stop with all these sissy rule changes it is seriously getting out of hand dam I miss the good ole days when football was smash mouth football that is what it is all about!

  124. sportsmedicine13 says: Mar 14, 2013 8:31 PM

    These comments really do show how much people don’t understand about the mechanism that causes serious cervical spine injuries. LOWERING your head i.e. hitting someone with the top of your helmet is the #1 cause of serious spinal injuries in football. There are signs in NFL and NCAA facilities that say “Play Heads-Up Football” with pictures for exactly this reason. I hope none of you idiots teach/coach kids otherwise.
    -Medical professional with experience at NFL and NCAA FBS Football.

  125. phlyerzpwnu says: Mar 14, 2013 8:35 PM

    They are just ruining this once great game…

  126. cmonelisha says: Mar 14, 2013 11:43 PM

    rules like this is EXACTLY why me and my family havnt been to a live game in 5 years, our bought any merch from the nfl..and this just ensures well never go 2 another game again..
    i love the couch, cheap drinks and food to much to spend hundreds to watch 2 hand touch football

  127. jdubb84 says: Mar 15, 2013 1:29 AM

    Sounds like Obama got ahold of the NFL too..

  128. shzastl says: Mar 15, 2013 4:09 AM

    Riggins and Jim Brown have been out of football for over 30 years.

  129. joejacks says: Mar 15, 2013 6:34 AM

    Has the NFL really gone there??
    Fire Goodell and replace him with Mike Ditka!

  130. rhone16 says: Mar 15, 2013 10:22 AM

    I love how all these internet tough guys come out with their flag football and “sissification of the NFL” comments whenever there’s a story like this. A couple things to note for those of you who haven’t thought this through.

    1. The proposed penalty would be for leading with the CROWN (top) of your helmet. Every decent coach teaches every player to “see what you hit”, i.e. keep your head UP, i.e. DON’T lower your head and lead with the crown.

    2. Just like with defense, there is (and likely never will be) a rule about how hard you can hit someone. Watch Dashon Goldson smack the crap out of people and rarely get penalized/fined. Lower your body, keep your head up, hit with your chest/shoulders, and you’ll be fine no matter how hard you hit; same will be true for RBs.

    3. If you think running upright is laughable, go watch some Jerome Bettis highlights. He ran through people without lowering his head, and his career lasted much longer than most RBs. He was a Pro Bowler at 32.

    Now, all you internet tough guys: Go run full speed into a wall with your head lowered so that the crown of your head makes first contact; try it 30 times a week. Then come back and tell us about how you think your favorite team’s RBs is a pansy if he doesn’t do that to his career and life.

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