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NFL morning after: Concerning concussions

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 08:  Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers is hit by defensive end Derek Wolfe #95 and defensive end Jared Crick #93 of the Denver Broncos in the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 8, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

As football fans we seem to have an on-off switch about brain injuries. The top story in the NFL on Friday and into the weekend was that Cam Newton took several shots to the head on Thursday night, and the response to those shots to the head is now the subject of a league investigation. And yet as soon as the games kicked off on Sunday afternoon, we all stopped thinking about brain injuries.

I watched football all day on Sunday and was on Twitter reading what everyone was saying and I saw literally nothing about hits to the head or concussions or any of these other concerns. The game itself is so great that we simply turn off our concerns when we turn on our TVs and sit back and enjoy the games.

And yet the concerns about brain injuries are real. And so before I get to what a great Sunday of football it was, I want to present to you my thoughts on how the NFL can reduce the number of helmet-to-helmet hits and the brain injuries that go with them:

MAKE IT A PENALTY WITH REAL TEETH. Right now, helmet-to-helmet hits are penalized with 15 yards and an automatic first down. That’s not enough. It should be 25 yards and an automatic first down for hits to the head of a quarterback, and 25 yards or the spot of the foul — whichever is farther downfield — for hits to the head of a defenseless receiver. The NFL should also eliminate the half the distance to the goal line provision for hits to the head: Under current rules, if the offense is at the 24-yard line and a defender hits a quarterback in the helmet, they move the ball to the 12-yard line. I’d like to see the ball moved to the 1-yard line for any penalty where the line of scrimmage is inside the 25. If pass interference penalties can be more than 15 yards, and can give the offense the ball on the 1-yard line, why can’t penalties for the infraction that is threatening the future of the sport?

ALLOW COACHES TO CHALLENGE. If a coach thinks one of his players took an illegal hit to the head, he should be able to throw the challenge flag and ask the ref to review it — including in the last two minutes of a half, when other plays can’t be challenged. Ron Rivera surely would have thrown a challenge flag on when Brandon Marshall brutally hit Newton and the officials didn’t see it, except that the rules don’t allow Rivera to challenge that particular missed call.

HOLD THE OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE FOR MISSED CALLS. The officials are already graded on whether or not they make the right calls, but they need to be instructed by the NFL that blows to the head will be the calls for which they are most closely scrutinized. An official who misses a blatant hit to the head like Marshall’s on Newton should have his chances of getting playoff assignments lowered. Miss calls like that too often, and an official should be out of a job. In college football, a crew of officials was suspended this weekend for mistakenly giving Central Michigan an extra play to beat Oklahoma State. The NFL should have that kind of accountability for officials who miss hits to the head.

MAKE TWO HITS TO THE HELMET IN A GAME AN AUTOMATIC EJECTION. It’s ridiculous that the NFL automatically ejects players for taunting twice in a game but not for hitting an opponent in the head twice in a game. If you were an NFL player, would you rather get taunted, or drilled in the head? I don’t recall the NFL spending around a billion dollars to settle any lawsuits brought by players who got taunted on the field.

MAKE THREE HITS TO THE HELMET IN A SEASON AN AUTOMATIC SUSPENSION. Simple: A player commits three illegal hits to an opponent’s head in a season, he’s suspended for a game. Repeat offenders will learn that way.

HAVE A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL TAKE THE FIELD AFTER EVERY ILLEGAL HIT TO THE HEAD. The NFL has concussion spotters who are supposed to call for players to be pulled from games and checked if they fear that a player has a concussion, but those spotters clearly don’t feel empowered to use that authority very often. A better solution would be to have medical professionals on the sideline ready to run on the field and check a player immediately any time a flag is thrown for a helmet-to-helmet hit. This wouldn’t have to be particularly time-consuming: If the player appears to be fine and says he’s OK, the medical professional leaves him out there. If the player is glassy-eyed or has trouble answering if he’s OK, the medical professional takes him out for further evaluation.

Those solutions won’t eliminate all brain injuries in football. There’s no solution that will do that. But the NFL can, and must, do better.

Now on to my thoughts on Sunday’s games:

Dak Prescott is no Tony Romo. Prescott, the Cowboys’ rookie quarterback, is an impressive young talent. But he’s a long way from being as good as a healthy Romo, and any Cowboys fan who thought Dallas would be fine without Romo is kidding himself. In their last 37 games, the Cowboys are 17-5 with Tony Romo and 1-14 without him.

Adam Vinatieri is ageless. Vinatieri, the 43-year-old Colts kicker, is the oldest player in the NFL. But he appears to be as good as ever. Vinatieri went 2-for-2 on field goals including a 50-yarder yesterday, which was the 28th field goal of 50 yards or longer in his career. What’s really amazing is that Vinatieri is making long field goals far more now than he used to: Of his 28 career 50-yard field goals, 20 have come during his 11 seasons with the Colts, while only eight were during his 10 seasons with the Patriots. In his 20s, Adam Vinatieri was 8-for-13 on 50-plus yard field goals. In his 30s he went 8-for-19. And in his 40s, through yesterday, he’s 12-for-15.

Kudos to Jack Del Rio. NFL coaches just don’t have enough guts when it comes to going for two. So I was glad to see Del Rio go for two when the Raiders scored a late touchdown in New Orleans, and glad to see it work, as the Raiders made the two-point conversion and won 35-34. (It’s also nice to see that Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is developing into an excellent young quarterback.)

Shaun Hill is just fine. It was a huge blow to the Vikings when they lost quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for the season, but I will always maintain they panicked when they responded by trading a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick for Sam Bradford. The Vikings should have just stuck with Hill, who completed 18 of 33 passes for 236 yards, with no turnovers, in Sunday’s win over the Titans. Bradford will eventually take over for Hill, but I’m not so sure Bradford is any better. Certainly not so much better to make him worth a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick.

It’s a great time to be a football fan. Sitting there yesterday watching four TVs, with Red Zone Channel on one screen, DirecTV’s Game Mix on another screen, and the two games of my choosing on the two other screens, I thought back to how different being a fan was 20 years ago, when we were saddled with one NFL game at a time. There’s never been a better time to watch football. Now the NFL needs to take the steps to make the game safer, so that it lasts into the next generation.

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60 Responses to “NFL morning after: Concerning concussions”
  1. kcchefs58 says: Sep 12, 2016 8:30 AM

    Easier solution: put flags on them.

  2. thisonesforpat says: Sep 12, 2016 8:31 AM

    That ref in the Carolina/Denver game, Gene Steratore, who never called ANY of the headshots, he’s the man responsible for the “Calvin Johnson Rule” AND — and the Dez Bryant catch. And it was a catch, Gene.

    What a resume, pal. You spent the off-season working on the guns instead of studying the rule book.

    Better rules? Better refs.

  3. elyasm says: Sep 12, 2016 8:34 AM

    I disagree with all of the draconian measures proposed to reduce hits to the head. The penalties have far too high a potential to completely change the outcome of a game.

    NFL players are grown men that can make their own decisions. Football is a dangerous game and they are well compensated for playing it. While I encourage the NFL to take all reasonable steps to minimize injuries, at some point you just have to accept a certain amount of risk of injury and call it a day.

    If we wanted an injury-free sport, we would all watch synchronized swimming. The more the NFL tries to dull the edges and pad the corners of an inherently dangerous sport, the greater the risk of us all simply losing interest.

  4. livenbreathefootball says: Sep 12, 2016 8:36 AM

    The only reason the Cowboys are so bad without Romo is because usually the back up stinks. Prescott is as good as Romo was when he was rookie. If the “veteran” Williams goes out of bounds, the Cowboys win the game. That was not on the rookie QB.

  5. bc781kcchiefs says: Sep 12, 2016 8:38 AM

    Absolutely agree that they need a rule like this on spearing and concussions. Except with a defenseless hit on anybody like the one on Cam the other night, eject the player immediately & they forfeit the next games paycheck to the concussion fund.

  6. pma501 says: Sep 12, 2016 8:46 AM

    These rules would shine too much light on concussions for the NFL to ever implement. Imagine if the outcome of a game turned on one of these calls, and that was the headline the rest of the week? These rules are great, but sadly the incentives aren’t there.

  7. greg2geez says: Sep 12, 2016 8:56 AM

    Rule changes won’t mean jack. Thursday night was a complete breakdown of the system intended to protect players. The biggest positive change is enforcing the rules in place.

  8. jsavage58 says: Sep 12, 2016 9:03 AM

    You can’t take the physics out of human physiology. Your head is where it is… It gets there first. To play a tackling game, your head needs to be there first, whether you move it to the side or not.

    You cant run without the bottoms of your feet hitting the ground first, no matter how hard you try.

    Make the shoulder pads smaller, go to a soft helmet.. That is the truly only effective way to possible get players to change the mentality and relearn how to play.

    also, when was the last time you saw a RB get called for lowering and leading with the head? Because they do it on pretty much every short yardage play.

    The game is now called by sound.. Refs hear a loud hit and the flags all go.

    Oh hey,, we also really need more commercials.. Just werent enough yesterday… I missed the 4th Q of the late game because I had to turn away.

  9. intrafinesse says: Sep 12, 2016 9:06 AM

    Dak Prescott looked ok. He’s a rookie 4th round pick. It would be interesting to see how he progresses. He looked better than some of the NFL starters some teams have, but maybe that’s because there is no tape on him, and he has a good OLine.

    If a player is inflicting multiple hits to the head, they should be suspended *BUT*
    make sure they are intentional, not incidental, like if the player is aiming for the ball carriers body, and the ball carrier ducks, and then there is head to head contact.
    The current rules are fine, as players are penalized for that sort of unavoidable / incidental contact.

    If you make it impossible for a defender to jar the ball lose, the game will suffer as there will be more catches. You will need to give something back to the defense if they can only wrap up a receiver by the legs and not try and jar the ball loose.

  10. doctorrustbelt says: Sep 12, 2016 9:06 AM

    You can’t increase the penalty for helmet to helmet hits WITHOUT allowing teams to review.

    The football media are like coal energy lobbyists.

    The NFL as we now see it will not be around in the next century (2101)…. but.. keep on beating the drum without the ability to immobilize the brain from bouncing around in the skull.

  11. buds4grant says: Sep 12, 2016 9:07 AM

    “Shaun Hill is just fine.”
    No, no he isn’t.

  12. trubroncfan07 says: Sep 12, 2016 9:09 AM

    This is were the NFL will probably start losing watchers, we are now at the point any time someone gets hit, we want to call a foul. It is a contact sport. People will get hit. Everyone crying about the hits should go watch non contact sports like baseball.

  13. epauley424 says: Sep 12, 2016 9:17 AM

    So let me get this straight. The refs in the Carolina Denver game were paying strict attention to Trai Turner who had the audacity to jump up and down after a touchdown and was flagged. But they ignored the multiple hits to Cam Newton’s head- a penalty that Goodell said is a focus this year. After the game, the refs said they saw no indication of a concussion so they did nothing. With all of this in mind, the NFL wants to investigate WHAT THE PANTHERS DID OR DIDNT DO?????? Are you serious?

  14. archermaggot says: Sep 12, 2016 9:20 AM

    In addition to fines, if the illegal hit to the head results in a player leaving the field. The defender who laid the hit should also have to go to the sidelines. If the player misses plays/games due to the concussion. The defender who laid the hit also sits out those plays/games.

  15. hammers01 says: Sep 12, 2016 9:22 AM

    The Vikings should of stuck with Hill.

    Check back with that statement in November and see if it holds water.

    I’m guessing no.

  16. patsfanforlife says: Sep 12, 2016 9:22 AM

    Vinatieri’s success later in his career on longer field goals probably is at least in part impacted by having 8 home games indoors now as opposed to outdoors in harsh NE winter weather.

  17. liverpoolred04 says: Sep 12, 2016 9:26 AM

    “It should be 25 yards and an automatic first down for hits to the head of a quarterback”

    Wrong about this one, only because they won’t be able to call it evenly over the NFL, there are certain QB’s who will get the calls over others.

  18. kcflake says: Sep 12, 2016 9:27 AM

    Jaleel Addai should be suspended for hits to the head. Every single time the chiefs play the chargers, addai knocks someone out with a helmet to helmet hit. You would think the league would say something at some point about his numerous dangerous helmet to helmet hits.

  19. truthfactory says: Sep 12, 2016 9:31 AM

    How about anyone who plays assumes the reasonable risk for playing football in exchange for their millions paid? If they don’t like it, they can try out for baseball or go sell used cars. There are many jobs out there with health hazards but people still do them to earn a living… And for much less than the millions that these players earn.

    The rules you proposed are so over the top, that virtually every game will be decided by who hit the other team less with their helmets. Thats not football and I would never watch it.

  20. eagleswin says: Sep 12, 2016 9:37 AM

    livenbreathefootball says:
    Sep 12, 2016 8:36 AM
    The only reason the Cowboys are so bad without Romo is because usually the back up stinks. Prescott is as good as Romo was when he was rookie. If the “veteran” Williams goes out of bounds, the Cowboys win the game. That was not on the rookie QB.

    =========================

    Two things :

    1. While Williams brainfart ended the game, if he had gone out of bounds the cowboys would’ve needed another short completion and a long field goal all with 6 seconds left to win the game. Bailey was in the zone yesterday but it was not a sure thing they win if Williams goes out of bounds.

    2. It’s a given that Dr. Jerry Jones will rush Romo out on the field too early in an effort to save the season causing a season ending injury within 3 weeks, most likely to the back, again. Jerry needs to embrace Prescott and a rebuilding year.

  21. cardinealsfan20 says: Sep 12, 2016 9:43 AM

    @thisonesforpat – Steratore is one of, if not the best, NFL refs. He is also an outstanding college basketball official. Coaches have stated they are very happy upon finding out that GS is reffing their basketball games.

  22. aljack88 says: Sep 12, 2016 9:43 AM

    How about having personal foul penalties only being able to be “offset” by personal foul penalties. The fact that a typical 5 yard penalty for offsides or illegal motion, etc, will offset a personal foul is crazy. If a D player sees that a ref is throwing a flag on the offense, they know they can do anything they want to any player on the O and the worst that happens is that the play is redone for the “offsetting” penalties.

  23. albloch says: Sep 12, 2016 9:47 AM

    Completely disagree on concussions. Yes, it’s a very serious problem and yes, something needs to be done about it, but going after it with rules & penalties isn’t the answer. The game is too fast and the players are too big to think that these things won’t continuing happening no matter the price. Think about pass interference, which right now is about the harshest penalty in the game (yardage wise) and it still happens at least 2-3 times per game.

    They have to go after this via equipment – either create equipment that will adequately protect the head, or take away the equipment that turns their heads & shoulders into more powerful weapons. If a defensive player doesn’t have a helmet, the odds of them purposefully using their head as a weapon is much smaller.

  24. hawks52 says: Sep 12, 2016 9:51 AM

    Always a problem measuring intent and severity. not all helmet to helmet hits are targeted that way. So how do you determine that? We complain a lot on PI calls – we want to ADD to that?

    Replay doesn’t help much except to verify the helmet contacted the other helmet. Again, are we going to be OK with a 25 yard mark off every time replay shows a helmet grazed another? How will we define “graze” vs “hit” vs a real intent?

    How is it that football gets more and more messy as time goes on? I’m not insensitive to the issue – but it seems the solutions will in fact weaken the game. Maybe that’s necessary.

    Obviously there should have been calls made against Denver Thursday. Enforce the rules as they exist – and punish the refs that don’t. Let’s start there before we potentially ruin the game even more with non-football related “offense” (25 yard judgement call penalties.)

  25. redsoxu571 says: Sep 12, 2016 10:01 AM

    “But he’s a long way from being as good as a healthy Romo, and any Cowboys fan who thought Dallas would be fine without Romo is kidding himself. In their last 37 games, the Cowboys are 17-5 with Tony Romo and 1-14 without him.”

    I hate it when idiot non-Cowboy fans speak for Cowboys fans. 1) Dallas fans didn’t think he was going to be close to Romo, largely because they know how good Romo is 2) Prescott is a heck of a lot better than what Dallas has had behind Romo in the past, and that is why Dallas fans thought it would be “fine”. Last I checked, fans aren’t actually hoping for “fine”, but “fine” is better than “disaster” 3) 1-14 without Romo in the last 37 games is irrelevant, because most of those came with a bunch of OTHER players missing (including this game), and because again the replacements for Romo were awful.

    Only fools thought Prescott would slot right in and set the world on fire. Dallas fans didn’t expect that, and they largely got what they were looking for. More than anything, the team lost because its vaunted 4th overall pick wasn’t the game-changer people were making him out to be and didn’t look even close to as good as a 4th overall pick RB should.

  26. mypostsalwaysseemtogetdeleted says: Sep 12, 2016 10:01 AM

    I LOVE Adam Vinatieri! Vinatieri is by far the best kicker in the history of football and deserves to be in the NFL Hall of Fame.

    I am curious about your 50 yard plus analysis. I am curious how many of the 28 are completed indoors vs outdoors. It makes sense he would have more attempts and greater success with the Colts, an indoor team in a warm weather division as opposed to with the Patriots, an outdoor team in a cold weather division…

  27. bc781kcchiefs says: Sep 12, 2016 10:08 AM

    I don’t get these comments about a harsh penalty for spearing with the crown of the helmet (which is taught to be illegal since pee wee football), generally they say oh those penalties might be too harsh and influence the outcome of the game – but it is ok for a cheap shot artist like the Bronco’s LB to knock out the opposing QB with a completely cheap shot to the head and knock him out of the game? Hello, how is that not trying to influence the outcome of the game with a completely cheap shot – spearing to the head is ok?

  28. switchwitch59 says: Sep 12, 2016 10:11 AM

    What I’d like to see them do is shift more games into the late afternoon, yesterday was 9-3. Why can’t we have 6-6? Make it more even, I can’t watch 9 games at once. You miss too much action when there are too many games at once and I won’t waste time recording them to watch later. I know I’ll get many thumbs down for saying this but… There is more to life than football.

  29. daramsman says: Sep 12, 2016 10:16 AM

    Dak started his first NFL game. What are we expecting him to 41 of 47 for 347 yards and 4 TDs? Geez. the kid was solid against a pretty good defense that blitz him all day long. And he can take a hit. Stood tall in the pocket and was fairly accurate all day. I think the Cowpokes win that game if Dallas could stop the run even for a little bit.

  30. chesswhileyouplaycheckers says: Sep 12, 2016 10:17 AM

    Spot on with the hits to the head comments, the future of the game is at stake. When more high profile guys like Seau are afflicted and more and more parents know why many are not going to let their kids play.

    Of course Prescott is no veteran Romo but neither was Romo out of the gate.

    Got a lot of love for Adam-atic but a big part of the success he has seen in the back half of his career has to do with playing a minimum of 9 games a year indoors. It was no accident he signed with a dome team when he left NE. Real football is played outdoors.

    Damn skippy kudos to Del Rio, and not just because it worked.

    MN absolutely overpaid for Bradford but they believe they are on the cusp and if they are right then it would be unwise in the extreme to be betting the farm on a 36 year old journeyman.

    It is a great time to watch football. No sport lends itself to TV better and the technology has just built on that. Yet I fear the supposed ‘stewards of the game’ almost as much as I love the game itself. All too many times while immersed in my enjoyment of the games the nagging is this legit demon comes to call. I may not have had all the games and ways to enjoy them under Rozelle and Tagliabue but I seldom questioned the legitimacy of what I was watching. Under the rule of the gang that can’t shoot straight’s ‘oversight’ that doubt never quite goes away and I hate them for that.

  31. 250dollarnflowner says: Sep 12, 2016 10:19 AM

    there are too many penalties already. the game is damn near unwatchable. NO ADDITIONAL RULES.

  32. lowlifenebula says: Sep 12, 2016 10:20 AM

    What happens to nfl players over the course of their careers is horrible. Between their brain and joints they can and do in some occasions become ruined both physically and mentally. Of course, now more than ever they are aware of this, and are still WILLING to play. I don’t feel any new rules should be added, and if anything some should be removed. These players are understanding the risk these days a lot more than twenty years ago and are still ready to go out and play. I find this similar to a boxer and their career. Yeah it is a dangerous sport but you know what is happening. The NFL should just agree to take full care of their veteran players who decide to stick it out.

  33. conantb says: Sep 12, 2016 10:21 AM

    pma501, So it’s ok if a game turns if an illegal helmet to helmet hit takes out a key player, but not if a penalty moves the ball into scoring position? Your logic is flawed!

    There should have been multiple call for head hunting in the Carolina game! Denver has to be the dirtiest team since the old days of the Raiders! Multiple time they went for knees (against Benjamin for one ) and took head shots at other players!
    and saying Cam runs the ball has nothing to do with head hunting while he is in the pocket!
    The NFL does not care about player safety! the Refs definitely show favoritism to white QBs!!

  34. jayhawk6 says: Sep 12, 2016 10:23 AM

    Your suggestions certainly do have teeth…now if the Commissioner just had some balls.

  35. xxsweepthelegxx says: Sep 12, 2016 10:37 AM

    greg2geez says:
    Sep 12, 2016 8:56 AM
    Rule changes won’t mean jack. Thursday night was a complete breakdown of the system intended to protect players. The biggest positive change is enforcing the rules in place.
    —–
    Couldn’t agree more. The rules in place just need to be enforced.

    Reminds me of the ‘clock’ imposed on pitchers in MLB to throw a pitch, or a batter needing to stay in the batters box, etc….just enforce them and players will adjust and follow suit. And if they don’t, what exactly are they going to point to other than themselves?

  36. crewchief15 says: Sep 12, 2016 10:44 AM

    “Prescott, the Cowboys’ rookie quarterback, is an impressive young talent. But he’s a long way from being as good as a healthy Romo,”
    —————————
    Thanks for the insight Captain Obvious, no Cowboy fan believes he’s better than Romo, but I feel he can win games. He did not get the luxury of playing the Cleveland Browns, like Wentz…

  37. webofbelief says: Sep 12, 2016 10:48 AM

    Unfortunately, your proposed rules changes don’t do anything to address the problem of repeated, sub-concussive blows that defensive and offensive lineman suffer every game.

  38. jackedupboonie says: Sep 12, 2016 10:54 AM

    Hats off to the Vikings yesterday…I didn’t think they could win with that old man behind center….the D won the game all by themselves.

  39. bucsorbust says: Sep 12, 2016 11:00 AM

    This won’t work unless there is also an assessment on motion by the person getting hit in the head. That is, if that person drops, jukes, or otherwise moves the hit may be as much his fault as the guy who hit him. As for sending someone onto the field? This is football. Let’s not hold med school or court in between plays.

  40. steves11 says: Sep 12, 2016 11:10 AM

    “In his 20s, Adam Vinatieri was 8-for-13 on 50-plus yard field goals. In his 30s he went 8-for-19. And in his 40s, through yesterday, he’s 12-for-15.”

    Just goes to show…..kickers can age like a fine wine. I don’t think it so odd that a kicker should be effective into his 40s. After all, he doesn’t do anything else but kick. It’s not like he’s out there trying to run or pass or catch or block or tackle.

    As for your Draconian penalties for hits to the head, you have to remember that many, if not most of them are accidental, not intentional. I might agree that it a particular hit seems flagrant in nature, that might call for a stiffer penalty, but other than that…..let’s not get carried away with this. It is football, after all.

  41. 69goatboy says: Sep 12, 2016 11:15 AM

    I say adapt hockey rules.

    A player makes a helmet to helmet hit, he sits out for 5-10 minutes of playing time, and the side of the ball he’s playing on does with 10 instead of 11.

    These paltry fines of 10 grand or so for guys making 8 and 9 figures means nothing.

  42. In Teddy We Trust says: Sep 12, 2016 11:17 AM

    Shaun Hill may be just fine for you, but the Vikings have Super Bowl aspirations this year. They aren’t looking for a “just fine” season. He played a good game yesterday, but how many touchdown drives did he lead? Once Bradford is up to speed, he’s much more likely to convert some of those six field goal attempts into touchdowns.

  43. denverdave3 says: Sep 12, 2016 11:18 AM

    It’s football, dude, not hopscotch. I could see throwing a guy out for two such hits in a game, but the rest of these changes are too harsh.

  44. nflgtcfl says: Sep 12, 2016 11:23 AM

    Some of the hits in the last few years are vicious cheap shots.

    But the reality is a lot of these should not be called. Slowing it down to fractions of a second slo mo, it seems so obvious the tackler was trying to hit him in the head.

    From the time the player leans in till contact lots can happen. The QB can fall slightly by slipping or contact with a third player.

    I understand the QBs are the stars of the league. But i think it has gone to far over on a lot of these hits.

    It is football.

  45. jbraider says: Sep 12, 2016 11:30 AM

    I can’t disagree with anything in this article, which is surprising given the volume of opinions therein. I would add a few things:

    1. If you are going to hold officials accountable for missed calls, that better include calling a penalty where none is warranted, otherwise you’ll see a penalty on incidental contact plays

    2. I agree with archermaggot that a player who commits an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit that causes the recipient to miss game time under the concussion protocol should be out for an equal amount of time. This would be the penalty that would put an end to deliberately targeting other players for these hits – and make no mistake, Denver was purposefully targeting Cam Newton for hits to the head. Multiple defensive players launching themselves clearly targeting Newton’s head doesn’t just happen.

    3. Which brings me to my final point, there needs to be severe punishment against an organization when you see these penalties being committed in a systemic fashion. In terms of the number of blatantly illegal hits, the Broncos assault on Cam Newton was worse than the treatment Brett Favre got in the game against the Saints that kicked off that ridiculous Bounty Gate investigation.

    As always. my Raiders will have at least two games against the Broncos. If I am Jack Del Rio, after seeing this game, I would start preparing my defense to be ready to respond in kind if Denver pulls any of this crap against Derek Carr.

  46. corkspop says: Sep 12, 2016 11:43 AM

    2 hits, helmet to helmet, by the same player is an ejection is a good change. The others, not so much.

  47. ranlgon says: Sep 12, 2016 11:57 AM

    Football players wear helmets because they get hit in the head, most which are incidental contact.. Have you ever watched some players celebrate after a TD, they bang helmets. Depending on the official, a minor blow to the head could result in a game changing penalty. Right now the officials can’t even call any blow to the head consistently much less helmet to helmet.

    Right now all QB’s are not treated equally. A QB that plays in a read option offense is treated differently then a QB that is a known pocket passer.

  48. mmack66 says: Sep 12, 2016 12:12 PM

    Just do it like they do in college. 15 yard penalty and a review. If the headhunting is is egregious, the player gets the rest of the game off.

    That way, the Donkeys players will either learn proper behavior, or have to finish games with 3rd stringers.

  49. jsavage58 says: Sep 12, 2016 12:14 PM

    We need more rules.. I especially thing we need more reviews. We should review every play, sponsor the replay, and play another viagra commercial while the every play review is occurring.

  50. TedHurtz says: Sep 12, 2016 12:31 PM

    amazing how the donkeys head hunt and dont get flagged for it, yet other teams do far less and have game changing calls against them.
    the fix is in people.
    this sort of thing is not an accident, any more than the tuck rule. this is blatant bias to help the nfl’s flavor of the day. was the pats, now its the donks, previously the stealers.
    the nfl under goodell is biased and fixed.
    if you have an average team and can show up in a game, and you are goodells darling, he alone can help you to that next level.
    college is a far superior product, and thats just a sad sad statement.

  51. thingamajig says: Sep 12, 2016 12:32 PM

    When you have 4 TV’s on you have none.

  52. statlaw says: Sep 12, 2016 12:46 PM

    Why not just forfeit the game for a H2H hit. Geez. Oh, and on the vikings notes; uhh, who goes in if Hill is injured and Bradford isn’t on the roster, then who goes in?

  53. skawh says: Sep 12, 2016 1:16 PM

    I couldn’t agree more strongly FOR every rule change emphasized in this article. It’s common sense. No wonder common sense isn’t so common NFL. What happened Thursday night was a referee travesty!

  54. patriotsticketssince1978 says: Sep 12, 2016 1:30 PM

    It’s a hard game to officiate. Mistakes are made all the time for every team. I do believe that human nature can influence officiating (not in a purposeful way). Good teams/players may receive the benefit of the doubt. Bad teams/bad players/disliked teams and players/players and teams with histories may not.

    When I saw the “roughing the passer” call that was called against Arizona last night and compared it multiple hits Denver inflicted on Newton on Thursday it was hard to reconcile what is and isn’t a penalty.

  55. bronco1st says: Sep 12, 2016 1:51 PM

    Ya, let’s get rid of boxing, soccer, hockey and any other sport that is dangerous, then we can all watch golf and synchronized swimming for entertainment.

  56. mmack66 says: Sep 12, 2016 2:11 PM

    bronco1st says:
    Sep 12, 2016 1:51 PM

    Ya, let’s get rid of boxing, soccer, hockey and any other sport that is dangerous, then we can all watch golf and synchronized swimming for entertainment.
    ————————-

    Nah, let’s just get rid of the Bronco’s players that are dirty.

    Oh wait, then you couldn’t field a defense.

  57. jamesefallen says: Sep 12, 2016 2:45 PM

    A 25 yd penalty is too much. A player committed the infraction, not the team. Why not penalize the person responsible for that player being on the team – the owner. $100,000 for 1st violation, etc. The rest of your suggestions are good starting points. Your best suggestion is to hold refs accountable.

  58. cougar69rt03 says: Sep 12, 2016 11:17 PM

    Just bring back leather helmets . It will stop ALL blows to the head in the first or 2nd practice !

  59. morbidtaint says: Sep 13, 2016 12:43 AM

    elyasm says:
    Sep 12, 2016 8:34 AM

    I disagree with all of the draconian measures proposed to reduce hits to the head. The penalties have far too high a potential to completely change the outcome of a game.

    NFL players are grown men that can make their own decisions. Football is a dangerous game and they are well compensated for playing it. While I encourage the NFL to take all reasonable steps to minimize injuries, at some point you just have to accept a certain amount of risk of injury and call it a day.

    If we wanted an injury-free sport, we would all watch synchronized swimming. The more the NFL tries to dull the edges and pad the corners of an inherently dangerous sport, the greater the risk of us all simply losing interest.

    ——————————————————————————–

    You misunderstand what draconian means, and you believe that your entertainment is so important that players should be eating out of a tube by age 45 as long as it pleases you.

  60. gianthater says: Sep 19, 2016 9:22 PM

    Who ever runs the site can take down my post if they like, but they can’t surpress the truth. And that is clearly the owners and the commish don’t want contac for fear of lawsuits. They have taken the physically out of the game of football and are destroying the game we love. There’s no flow to the game because there’s a penalty on what seems like every other play. Believe me when I say, cause it’s happening already, the lingire league is becoming the new NFL. What a disgrace what has happened to this great game. You reap what you sow, and the owners and Goodell are beginning to reap with declining TV viewership. I hope I’m wrong, but the game is stopped so often, it gets harder and harder to watch, especially with all the ghost peanaltys. There’s so much more I could say, but I’m disgusted. What a shame what their doing to this game.

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