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Punters are “defenseless” even when trying to make a tackle

Huber AP

With punter Kevin Huber out for the year due to a broken jaw and a cracked vertebrae sustained on an illegal hit from Steelers linebacker Terence Garvin, the Bengals can only go out and get a new punter.  Which they’ve done.

The league can still do plenty.

On Friday, look for the league office to acknowledge that Garvin was fined for the helmet-to-chin blast on Huber.  Even though Huber was trying to position himself to tackle or slow down Steelers punt returner Antonio Brown (who scored on the play), punters and kickers are considered defenseless at all times — even when affirmatively deciding to enter the fray.

It’s an odd quirk in the rules.  Kickers and punters can’t be hit in the head or neck area, even if they’re sticking their heads or necks into harm’s way in an effort to make a tackle. The rules make them defenseless players at all times, which means no hits to the helmet/neck or with the helmet.  Punters and kickers are expressly protected against any unnecessary contact when any from the play, but they’re always deemed defenseless under Rule 12-2-7(a)(6).

Although common sense presumably would prevail if a punter or kicker gets hit in the head or the neck by the may with the ball, the rule as written means that guys like Garvin can’t drive their helmets into the heads of punters or kickers who are trying to move toward the ball.

There’s a chance the NFL will publicly admit that the officials erred by not throwing the flag.  Even if the league says nothing, the imposition of a fine will say it all.

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78 Responses to “Punters are “defenseless” even when trying to make a tackle”
  1. vicbronco says: Dec 17, 2013 5:28 PM

    Stupid rule, unless you give a punter a different uniform then it’s unrealistic to expect everyone on a punt return team to know exactly who the punter happens to be if he’s not in the process of punting and otherwise engaging in the same activity as the other players on the field wearing the same uniform.

  2. ratsfoiledagain says: Dec 17, 2013 5:28 PM

    NFL, you want to call punter/kicker defenseless? Fine. However, once the punter/kicker begin to engage in a tackle, or take the position thereof, they should not be deemed defenseless.

  3. azjam says: Dec 17, 2013 5:29 PM

    Officials never throw flags against the Steelers at home. Just ask Mike Tomlin.

  4. pooflingingmonkey says: Dec 17, 2013 5:29 PM

    They should make kickers and punter wear a different colored jersey then, or something.

    Admist the chaos of a punt return, I don’t expect a guy to know who he can and cannot hit without a differentiator.

  5. mborz says: Dec 17, 2013 5:31 PM

    Not defending the hit in any way (I think it was dirty), but I’m curious about something:

    How are blockers always supposed to be able to identify the punter or kicker?

    There are plenty of cases where it’s completely obvious, but they are also cases where it won’t be, as some punters get into the scrum with everyone else. How is the blocker always supposed to know who’s who?

  6. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Dec 17, 2013 5:32 PM

    Must feel kind of emasculating to be deemed “defenseless” by definition.

    Brutal.

  7. jackericsson says: Dec 17, 2013 5:34 PM

    This rule will soon be extended to all players. Welcome to the new NFL! If punters and kickers are considered defenseless at all times, put something on them so opposing players know not to touch them- like a skirt. While you’re at it, put skirts on Brady, manning, etc. Lambert was right!

  8. wisconsinhillfolk says: Dec 17, 2013 5:37 PM

    Punters should run like hell to the sideline after every kick. Or they should be prepared for fractured vertebrae and a mouthful of gauze.

  9. ecountry411 says: Dec 17, 2013 5:37 PM

    That could have been HUGE too. With a flag the TD would not have counted and it COULD have stopped the run that the Steelers were on. It would have been 14-0 instead of 21-0.

  10. steelhammer92 says: Dec 17, 2013 5:38 PM

    Why don’t they just require punters and kickers to immediately leave the playing field following a kick? If they’re so defenseless that they are given a shield of protection even when they are the aggressor making a tackle… They shouldn’t be on the field to begin with. They can’t tackle anyhow. All they do is horse collar.

  11. jobotjones says: Dec 17, 2013 5:41 PM

    they need to fix the rule. you can be defenseless and be able to run upfield to tackle.

  12. bearwithjetpack says: Dec 17, 2013 5:41 PM

    The rules need to be changed. Punters and kickers should be protected when they are vulnerable: when they are kicking the ball.

    When a player is coming at them, they can make the tackle just like any other football player. They should receive the same protection as any other football player.

    Kickers and Punters are NFL Football players. They might not be as tough and strong as a lineman, but they are football players.

  13. azarkhan says: Dec 17, 2013 5:41 PM

    It was a cheap, malicious hit. Garvin should be suspended without pay for the rest of the season.

  14. stealthjunk says: Dec 17, 2013 5:42 PM

    So let me get this straight:

    –NOT OK to hit punters/kickers in the head when blocking
    –OK to hit non-punters/kickers in the head when blocking

    Do punters/kickers have softer heads than non-punters/kickers? Seems completely arbitrary — either all players should have the same protection or none of them should. Assuming the NFL is trying to avoid more concussion suits, perhaps they should opt for the former.

  15. stixzidinia says: Dec 17, 2013 5:52 PM

    The NFL is so far past the point of being watchable anymore. So glad that league has not seen a red cent of my money in nearly 5 years now, and probably less than 1o hours of my time in the last three years of their telecasts.

    But i’ve got my popcorn and am enjoying the slow killing of the Golden Goose. Rome will have crumbled by the time these owners realize what they’ve done. And by then it’ll be too late. Nobody wants to go to games anymore, so the league has to adjust its blackout rules. That’s just the beginning.

  16. leaguegonesoft says: Dec 17, 2013 5:53 PM

    Anyone that thinks a flag should have been thrown there will have no problem when the NFL becomes flag football. That is a good football play period.

  17. Stiller43 says: Dec 17, 2013 5:53 PM

    If theyre defenseless, have them kick the ball and run to the bench immediately. Problem solved

  18. rgwhodey says: Dec 17, 2013 5:54 PM

    not only did they “miss” that penalty, but there was a blatant block in the back they missed too…

  19. ghjjf says: Dec 17, 2013 5:57 PM

    Punters and kickers aren’t really football players so it makes sense that they’re classified as defenseless. In fact a lot of players at skill positions aren’t really football players. When you can only line up on one side of the ball and can only do one very specific task you aren’t a real football player. Specialized players is slowly turning football into a joke.

  20. leaguegonesoft says: Dec 17, 2013 5:57 PM

    Pat McAfee was so “defenseless” when he laid out Trindon Holliday. That was all over the news with everyone saying who great of a tackle it was by the punter. But when the punter gets laid out they are defenseless? Seems to me the hit by McAfee PROVES they aren’t defenseless.

  21. Deb says: Dec 17, 2013 5:58 PM

    That has never been the rule. Once the ball leaves the punter/kicker’s foot, he is no longer a defenseless player. If he chooses to play defense, going after the ball carrier and trying to bring him down, he is fair game.

    So the league is now saying kickers/punters have a free shot to tackle the ball carrier and no one can touch them? And if a QB throws an INT, he gets a free shot at the returner and no one can touch him?

    Then why allow punts, kicks, or INTs to be returned?

    I’m not defending Garvin’s hit on Huber, but blockers must be able to block the people who are going after the ball carrier. How does a corporate guy with no football knowledge–Goodell–wind up making the rules?

  22. joetoronto says: Dec 17, 2013 5:58 PM

    Punters shouldn’t be in the middle of the action if they can’t be hit.

    He should stay where he is then after punting the ball, instead of running down the field, with the same uniform on that all his teammates have.

  23. thundastormz says: Dec 17, 2013 5:59 PM

    The Steelers sure have fallen fast. Their coach and their players have resorted to Busch league moves to try and stay relevant. Pretty pathetic to see this out of such a historic franchise.

  24. mumakata says: Dec 17, 2013 6:02 PM

    vicbronco says:
    Dec 17, 2013 5:28 PM
    Stupid rule, unless you give a punter a different uniform then it’s unrealistic to expect everyone on a punt return team to know exactly who the punter happens to be if he’s not in the process of punting and otherwise engaging in the same activity as the other players on the field wearing the same uniform.

    ———————-

    Little hint for you, its gonna be the skinny guy with the low uniform number and two different shoes on who just kicked the ball and looks lost.

  25. sidneyz says: Dec 17, 2013 6:02 PM

    This is the same as if 5th grader sucker punched a kindergartener during a game if tag. A 100% cowardly move. Not only should he get fined, he should also have to pay the family of the kicker at least 5 years of salary if he never plays again. When is the NFL going to have full time refs instead of these incompetent weekend warriors?

  26. ridnaway says: Dec 17, 2013 6:04 PM

    Let’s not lose sight of the fact that regardless of who got hit on that play, it should have been flagged, and maybe with a disqualification.

    That hit was an intentional, brutal, and cheap helmet to chin shot and it might end that young man’s career. He should be HEAVILY fined and suspended at least 6 games at a bare minimum. If there ever was a time for Goodell to bring the hammer down this is it! Garvin is just a punk.

  27. floratiotime says: Dec 17, 2013 6:04 PM

    Steelers fan boys have to stop the whining. It was a dirty hit, and unless you live in Pittsburgh you’d say it was obvious.

  28. cinvis says: Dec 17, 2013 6:05 PM

    For those commenting that players can’t ID punters during the play… Are you kidding????? 10 guys who look like athletes… 1 guy who looks like a newborne calf struggling to keep his feet under him as he runs… That would be the punter!

  29. prostock75 says: Dec 17, 2013 6:06 PM

    Did anyone bother to read the rule? You can still block a punter or kicker, you just can’t block him from the neck up. No where does it say a kicker can’t be blocked, just that they are defenseless and protected against certain blocks
    I love all the flag football comments, it was a helmet shot in the mouth that broke his jaw, an illegal hit anyway you look at it, but continue on with the tough guy act. Heaven forbid a league that wants to take head shots, that serve no purpose but to injure players, out of the game

  30. fearthehoody says: Dec 17, 2013 6:07 PM

    Just another piece of the eventual fall of Rome! NCAA football get ready, you’re on deck to wear the crown!

  31. bigbenownsthenfl says: Dec 17, 2013 6:07 PM

    that dude got “jacked up” and you know wherever you were when you saw it you wanted to see it over and over again! im not gonna lie I absolutely loved it and am thinking about making it my wallpaper on my computer! #bengalshavesoftplayersandfanbase……

  32. tedmurph says: Dec 17, 2013 6:11 PM

    If punters and kickers are able to make tackles, they can’t be regarded as defenseless. Can’t have it both ways. You could have a kicker be the 12th man, ineligible to get involved in the return play, or it’s a penalty. Belichick said RAllegre used to run off the field after kicking off.

  33. kingpel says: Dec 17, 2013 6:11 PM

    The guy on the Steelers could have eliminated the punter from the play with a good fundamentally sound block. It wasn’t illegal what he did, but it sure was classless.

    I think the NFL really needs to get back to emphasizing the fundamentals of tackling and blocking. It may not be as glamorous as the ESPN hits and crushing blocks but its safer and more effective. Time to bring REAL defense back to the NFL.

  34. bloodisred says: Dec 17, 2013 6:13 PM

    Oh this is crap. If they don’t want kickers to get hit prohibit them from pursuing the play (dumb friggin idea) … in the meantime, act like a football player, get treated like one.

  35. jkampel20 says: Dec 17, 2013 6:14 PM

    Bengals fan here.

    I have no problem with kickers and punters being fair game to be hit. Why should they be deemed defenseless when they can make tackles?

    What I have a problem with is dirty players, of which the Steelers have been full of for YEARS. It starts at the top and goes down from there.

    What I have a problem with? Garvin hitting Huber as hard as he humanly could when Huber wasn’t looking, specifically leading with the crown of his helmet up high, blasting Huber’s face. Good job, Garvin. You’re a great human being.

  36. footballfan01 says: Dec 17, 2013 6:15 PM

    Any block that knocks down a player should be a penalty. Use only enough force to impede the potential tackler without injuring them. That will make everyone happy.

  37. jr507 says: Dec 17, 2013 6:15 PM

    get rid of them outright. the league has effectively eliminated the kick return, so eliminate the field goal and extra points. Frankly, it’s a joke that real athletes fates are subject to the results of a Justin Tucker or Steve Weatherford run kick or punt.

    Leave football to actual football players. Otherwise don’t be surprised when nobody sweats an injured kicker with a physique similar to a 15 year old.

  38. kevinroach2011 says: Dec 17, 2013 6:18 PM

    Listen its pretty simple what the NFL is trying to do, they are protecting players.

    You cannot honestly hit here and say its part of the game or that they are trying to take away the “toughness” there is no conceivable reason to hit someone in their head or neck area, its plain dangerous.

    There are about 100 different ways he could have delivered that hit, without hitting the neck or head area and still destroyed the punter. Larry Fitzgerald leveled Richard Sherman earlier this year in AZ in a crack back block that was absolutely brutal, yet legal in every way of the rule, he didnt lead with his head, didnt launch, targeted the chest area, and put Sherman on his a**S.

    Lower the shoulder dude, aim at the chest, blow the dude up, but stay away from the neck and head.

  39. stealthjunk says: Dec 17, 2013 6:19 PM

    For those keeping score at home:

    NOT OK to hit punters/kickers in the head when blocking
    OK to hit non-punters/kickers in the head when blocking
    NOT OK to hit WRs attempting to make a catch in the head
    OK to hit ball carriers in the head
    NOT OK to hit QBs in the head when they’re in the pocket (though OK once they become a “ballcarrier”)

    Simple enough. Is there a “cheat sheet” like the one teams use when deciding whether to get for a 2-point conversions? Players can wear it on their wristband and consult it before making contact with another player. Just to be extra safe, they can also include a list of the jersey numbers of opponents’ QBs, Ps, and Ks.

  40. fancyleague says: Dec 17, 2013 6:20 PM

    It has to be impossible to remember who can and can’t be hit on the field during a play. The league should do something to identify these no-touch players. They should have to wear something with an easily distinguishable color or pattern. Maybe a pink polka dotted skirt.

  41. davidschap says: Dec 17, 2013 6:22 PM

    Two words. Darren Bennett

  42. leaguegonesoft says: Dec 17, 2013 6:26 PM

    Love all the comments how the league wants to eliminate dirty hits and how this was dirty. How about offensive lineman being allowed to dive at defensive players legs right after the snap? That never results in injury? The problem everyone should have is all these rules protect the offensive players and special teamers. No protection for defensive guys.

  43. csilojohnson says: Dec 17, 2013 6:26 PM

    Get them off the field then. Immediatly after kickoff or punt they should have to exit field. Last thing the NFL needs is MORE “defenseless” players on the field….

  44. leaguegonesoft says: Dec 17, 2013 6:28 PM

    Was Pat McAfee a “defenseless” player (punter) when he put his helmet into Trindon Holliday?

  45. Go-Hawks! says: Dec 17, 2013 6:33 PM

    It’s not that hard! Having played football before, I know that you can tackle any player correctly without using your helmet as a hammer. And the excuse that “if I can’t go high, I have to go low” is BS. When everyone on the field is moving as fast as they can accidents happen. That is what it is. But don’t freakin’ lead with the helmet and don’t dive at the knees! How hard is it to understand?

  46. kgunforhire says: Dec 17, 2013 6:34 PM

    How hard is it to really block a punter? No way did Garvin have to resort to that blocking technique on a punter. Hands up and lock it up with the guy who all players on the field outweigh and overpower. Hell, everyone on this site could hold off a punter with a stiff arm.

  47. randomguy9999 says: Dec 17, 2013 6:40 PM

    you guys are being ridiculous with these comments…

    it is easy for the players to tell who the punter is during the play, no they dont need a different uniform etc….

    it’s not that huge of a rule… you can’t whack a kicker in the head, ever….

    you can still block him or completely wipe him out with a body block as hard as you want, you just can’t spear him in the head…. it’s a very reasonable rule.

    you guys really think its that hard to understand and is so damaging to the game that its turning it into flag football?

    please

  48. 2ruefan says: Dec 17, 2013 6:41 PM

    he guy on the Steelers could have eliminated the punter from the play with a good fundamentally sound block. It wasn’t illegal what he did, but it sure was classless.

    I think the NFL really needs to get back to emphasizing the fundamentals of tackling and blocking. It may not be as glamorous as the ESPN hits and crushing blocks but its safer and more effective. Time to bring REAL defense back to the NFL.
    *****************************
    How was that “NOT illegal?” He blasted the CROWN of his helmet into the chin/face of the other player. That is illegal this year no matter who/when/how/why. Period. Watch the replay. The FIRST thing that hits Huber is Garvin’s helmet to the chin.

  49. winorlose6burgh says: Dec 17, 2013 6:41 PM

    Cry babies nice hit in my book regardless if he was a punter or receiver

  50. Moudabo says: Dec 17, 2013 6:45 PM

    Poorly thought-out, worded and written rule that needs to be re-written. Just have them put on lime green Yield signs on their Unis instead of numbers.

    Initial contact was forearms to the chest and
    the helmet contact only occurred because Huber, not bracing for contact, folded as Garvin drove through to finish his block. Watch it again.

  51. tlippert says: Dec 17, 2013 6:46 PM

    If punters/kickers are defenseless then make them immediately run off the field after they kick. Stupid rule, they’re all men out there.

  52. whocares69 says: Dec 17, 2013 6:47 PM

    This was a classless, ruthless and unnecessary “block” .. then again it’s the Steelers.

    I’m dumbfounded now as I was when it happened why there wasn’t a pile of yellow flags on the field and the touchdown called back.

  53. pooflingingmonkey says: Dec 17, 2013 6:48 PM

    cinvis says:Dec 17, 2013 6:05 PM

    “For those commenting that players can’t ID punters during the play… Are you kidding????? 10 guys who look like athletes… 1 guy who looks like a newborne calf struggling to keep his feet under him as he runs… That would be the punter!”

    Darren Bennett (ex-Chargers) would like to have a word with you. 6′ 5′, 240 lbs.

  54. wwwmattcom says: Dec 17, 2013 6:52 PM

    Too many people worried about the punter kicker being defenseless. The flag wasn’t thrown.

    Was that hit necessary? Please. The players union should kick Garvin out for hurting one of their own. In fact lets get on the players being responsible for their actions. Forget the NFL and the medical staff. The players union should remind these guys that they hurt each other. And when the pay checks stop coming…..

  55. drbandkgb says: Dec 17, 2013 6:55 PM

    You guys seem to be missing the point..

    Yes the Punter was on the field and ready to make a play..

    The guy that nailed him did a cheap shot to the punter… The idiot came from almost behind the punter and head first hit him… A head first hit is illegal no matter what.. Im all for the punters are legal to be hit but THIS WAS A BAD cheap shot!

  56. blindmansaidwhat says: Dec 17, 2013 6:57 PM

    Hold on…the punter was engaging in trying to tackle the return man, you can see it in the replay. He would have very well takled Antonio Brown had he not been touched.

    If the kickers are off limits for potential brutal hits then everyone saying they should kick the ball and then sprint off the field are right! That he was blasted, whether it was dirty or not, is what happens on almost every single punt and kick return in the NFL. You’re playing at 100 mph out there and taught to hammer the opposing players now all of the sudden you have to look and make sure it’s not the punter? Kick coverage IS brutal, if punters are off limits they shouldn’t be allowed to tackle.

    The NFL is becoming absurd…every week they see something new and every week they take a reactionary approach and try to change the rules as they go this time it’s because some punter got jacked up.

  57. blackandbluedivision says: Dec 17, 2013 6:59 PM

    You wear helmets & pads. You keep your head on a swivel! You are NOT defenseless.

    This argument is lame. Keep your head up and know your surroundings.

    Receivers defenseless when the ball is thrown in the middle of the field? Then don’t throw the ball in the middle of the field. I remember when QB’s were criticized for throwing the ball to where the WR was outstretched and defenseless in the middle of the field. That’s a bad pass. Put it on his numbers on in his hands or look off the safety/linebacker.

  58. joeknowsnada says: Dec 17, 2013 7:01 PM

    This is too funny, in a way. The negative commenters are reacting mostly to the rule, not the actual circumstance. Hey, no flag was thrown, folks! That means the refs a) missed it, or b) just plain did not consider it an illegal hit (although the league did, once again showing how bad the refs are at this, and how complex the rules have become).

    The hit was illegal and unnecessary, of course.

    The league needs to clarify all this stuff, once and for all, and, I agree, either do all or nothing – either “all” are defenseless, or “all” are NOT defenseless.

    As for some deciding to not spend money on the game, or watch it, etc., you are severely in the minority, my friends. Fantasy football and gambling are what it’s all about. As long as both exist, football will prosper. And, the stadia where folks traditionally have attended in force are still packed, and the stadia where folks traditionally have stayed away are still less crowded, and are subject to blackouts (which are only local in nature, of course). Never changes.

  59. blackandbluedivision says: Dec 17, 2013 7:01 PM

    A punter shouldn’t be running down the field making tackles anyway. He’s the last resort. No one is supposed to get past him. If he gets hurt making a tackle then it’s on him and the entire Punt Team.

  60. peed1 says: Dec 17, 2013 7:05 PM

    Have them not wear helmets, then see if they want to tackle anybody. Actually have all the players not wear helmets. The game is going down the toilet. 10-12 years ago Warren Sapp his some GB Packer offensive lineman in a similiar fashion. They said the lineman’s injury was like being hit by a car. Sapp didn’t get a penalty or a fine and it was a feature hit on Jacked-up. The nfl cannot figure out what it wants to be and in the process it is getting difficult to watch.

  61. igotsanduskied says: Dec 17, 2013 7:07 PM

    Deb says: Dec 17, 2013 5:58 PM

    That has never been the rule. Once the ball leaves the punter/kicker’s foot, he is no longer a defenseless player. If he chooses to play defense, going after the ball carrier and trying to bring him down, he is fair game.

    So the league is now saying kickers/punters have a free shot to tackle the ball carrier and no one can touch them? And if a QB throws an INT, he gets a free shot at the returner and no one can touch him?

    Then why allow punts, kicks, or INTs to be returned?

    I’m not defending Garvin’s hit on Huber, but blockers must be able to block the people who are going after the ball carrier. How does a corporate guy with no football knowledge–Goodell–wind up making the rules?

    Deb, Goodell does not make the rules, there is a rules committee that decides these things. Also, he works FOR the owners, not the other way around. If they were unhappy with him (which they are not because he is making them a boatload of money) then they would simply replace him. Goodell’s actions, whether anyone likes them or not, are the will of the owners.

  62. orivar says: Dec 17, 2013 7:09 PM

    The fact that people agree with this shows just how soft the game is and how people are front runners.

  63. Deb says: Dec 17, 2013 7:22 PM

    floratiotime says:

    Steelers fan boys have to stop the whining. It was a dirty hit, and unless you live in Pittsburgh you’d say it was obvious.

    ———————————————–
    Okay, fine. It was a dirty hit. But what happens when your team is playing and your returner is running back a punt? The only person between your returner and the goal line is the opponent’s punter. Your special teamers could knock him out of the way. But now he’s been classified as defenseless no matter what he’s doing, so no one can touch him. Oops … there goes your TD.

    Why can’t you guys grasp that this isn’t all about your hatred of the Steelers? It’s about how everyone has to play the game.

  64. steelcityjoker says: Dec 17, 2013 7:26 PM

    —Although common sense presumably would prevail if a punter or kicker gets hit in the head or the neck by the may with the ball, the rule as written means that guys like Garvin can’t drive their helmets into the heads of punters or kickers who are trying to move toward the ball.

    Common Sense would imply a man who get paid to tackle someone is NOT defensless. If he goes after the ball carrier, he should be legal….if he didnt want to get hit, take himself out of the play after he got the kick off.

  65. Kolo Jezdec says: Dec 17, 2013 7:33 PM

    mumakata says:
    Little hint for you, its gonna be the skinny guy with the low uniform number and two different shoes on who just kicked the ball and looks lost.
    ======================

    you mean like the late Reggie Roby, a really skinny 6’4″, 250+ pounds in his playing days as a punter with Miami? Saw him play a lot, never noticed the 2 different shoes…

  66. patrickcody says: Dec 17, 2013 7:42 PM

    So in other words, the NFL is saying that they’re not really football players.

  67. Deb says: Dec 17, 2013 7:50 PM

    @igotsanduskied …

    We all know Goodell doesn’t personally make the rules, but he is pushing these rule changes. As someone with a corporate mindset, he focuses on the league’s image–and making the league appear to be safer. Never mind that the rule changes he promotes don’t necessarily reduce the number and severity of injuries.

    The owners are happy because Goodell has increased revenues. As a fan, I am more concerned about the quality of the game.

  68. whodey420 says: Dec 17, 2013 8:06 PM

    Steelers rookie linebacker playing in his first superbowl!! I’m sure he saw the punter as a threat!

  69. ydousuk says: Dec 17, 2013 9:10 PM

    Deb says:Dec 17, 2013 7:50 PM

    @igotsanduskied …

    Never mind that the rule changes he promotes don’t necessarily reduce the number and severity of injuries.
    ———————————————————-

    Can I ask where you obtained the information backing your post?

  70. ydousuk says: Dec 17, 2013 9:16 PM

    Deb says:Dec 17, 2013 7:22 PM

    floratiotime says:

    Steelers fan boys have to stop the whining. It was a dirty hit, and unless you live in Pittsburgh you’d say it was obvious.

    ———————————————–
    Okay, fine. It was a dirty hit. But what happens when your team is playing and your returner is running back a punt? The only person between your returner and the goal line is the opponent’s punter. Your special teamers could knock him out of the way. But now he’s been classified as defenseless no matter what he’s doing, so no one can touch him. Oops … there goes your TD
    ———————————————————-

    Well the problem with your post is that the rules don’t say you can’t touch the punter. So if it were my team, I would hope the blocker knew the rules, and would put a legal block on the punter so that the returner can make a TD.

  71. maalea says: Dec 17, 2013 11:40 PM

    Deb says:
    Dec 17, 2013 7:22 PM

    Okay, fine. It was a dirty hit. But what happens when your team is playing and your returner is running back a punt? The only person between your returner and the goal line is the opponent’s punter. Your special teamers could knock him out of the way. But now he’s been classified as defenseless no matter what he’s doing, so no one can touch him. Oops … there goes your TD.

    Why can’t you guys grasp that this isn’t all about your hatred of the Steelers? It’s about how everyone has to play the game.
    ———————————————————-

    Why cant’ you grasp that the point of impact was the crown of the gold helmet to the chin.

    Very much like the Hines Ward cheap shot to Rivers.
    I’m not a fan of any team in the AFC north but I find it odd that the last play I remember like this one was a Steeler breaking the jaw of a Bengal.

  72. buddyboy98059 says: Dec 17, 2013 11:57 PM

    It will be only a matter of time that someone will have their neck snapped right there on live TV. I remember watching the play Daryl Stingley was paralyzed on. It caused me to quit high school football. It will take a death on the field for some real change to happen. And it will come at some point soon as these players continue to get stronger and faster. I don’t want it to happen and I still enjoy watching NFL football but it is getting harder.

  73. fancyleague says: Dec 18, 2013 12:10 AM

    It may have been illegal, and it may have been dirty, but it sure was satisfying to watch. I haven’t seen something that enjoyable since Hines Ward knocked Ed Reed’s head off. It’s awesome watching Bengals getting the snot knocked out of them.

  74. nflr92 says: Dec 18, 2013 12:47 AM

    Maybe if they bumped the “real” refs pay to $179,000 per season, they could master the entire rulebook and remember this rule. Or, if they remember it – enforce it.

    Wait – they did bump their pay to that level. Read the rulebook and do your job.

  75. cup1981 says: Dec 18, 2013 3:19 AM

    OK, give all kickers a pink uniforms and they must run off of the field following the kick and a new player runs onto the field at the same time. This is the only way to correctly write the rules, as players cannot differentiate between the punter and any other player in the heat of battle.

  76. bpearse230 says: Dec 18, 2013 10:11 AM

    Why not just start every kicking play with 12 players on the kicking team, and have the kicker immediately leave the playing field after the kick is off. The designated tackler has to stand behind the kicker until the ball is kicked. The designated tackler cannot be involved in any fakes or recoveries of blocked kicks.

  77. gallopinggilmore says: Dec 18, 2013 10:40 AM

    It’s a weird rule but makes more sense than the ridiculous amount of QB protection that is actually called. Punters are have relatively low pay scale in the league and are often trained soccer players

  78. Deb says: Dec 18, 2013 1:45 PM

    @usuk …

    I’ve been following the issue of concussions, traumatic brain injury, and other health issues regarding NFL players since long before it became a public crusade. At the time Goodell began implementing his fining program, Congress had taken an interest in the issue and was threatening government oversight. Former players were talking lawsuits. And the league needed to be seen as proactive despite–as the courts have now found–ignoring the issue for decades.

    In order to determine how helmets popping off during games would impact head injuries, the NCAA implemented a year-long study of the problem with specific parameters in order to collect the relevant data and determine the best course of future action. By contrast, the NFL made no effort to collect data to show how the most serious injuries occurred and how best to avoid them. Instead, the league just began fining players. It got a lot of publicity–thus the league was seen as being proactive. But the number of concussions increased by 29 percent during the first year of this fining folly (2010) and remained virtually unchanged the second year.

    If you see someone bleeding, you don’t just start throwing bandages at them. You start by finding out exactly where the blood is coming from so you can treat the right thing. Goodell didn’t do that. And now we have players suffering catastrophic leg injuries. This could have been approached in a better way if the league had been half as concerned about player welfare as about its public image.

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