Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner has no desire to see a targeting rule added in NFL

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Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner had a visceral reaction regarding the idea of college football style “targeting” rules being implemented in the NFL.

“It’s terrible,” Wagner said on Wednesday. “You can just see it now, you watch the college games and they kicking players out for clean hits because they can’t tell what is a clean hit from certain angles. I would rather that rule stay in the colleges then come up here and start messing up our game.

NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent said earlier on Wednesday that the NFL would consider adopting similar rules following a weekend that saw a brutal contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, and a head shot delivered by New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski on Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White. Any such rule changes would need to be approved by the league’s competition committee over the season.

Regardless, Wagner isn’t fond of the rules seen in college football, which require ejections of players should an illegal hit be deemed to have occurred. While not an exact comparison, head shots against defenseless players, blows with the crown of the helmet and launching into an opponent are some of the plays that result in targeting penalties and automatic ejections. If a player is ejected in the second half of a game, they are also forced to sit out the first half of the team’s next game.

“I just think there is a better way than bringing that rule into (the league),” Wagner said. “I would just hate to see rule come into the pros because it makes me not want to watch the college game because I know at any second, a guy could be kicked out for a hit and I don’t know how it is, but they possibly be suspended for half of the game or something like that. Nobody wants to see that.”

In his six seasons with the Seahawks, Wagner hasn’t been penalized for a single play that would have come close to being a targeting penalty under college rules. He’s committed just eight penalties in six years with two roughing the passer penalties being the closest thing he’s committed over that span. Only one of those penalties was even close to an opponent’s head. That came on a late hit of Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor last season when he leaped into Taylor and rode him to the ground after a pass.

“I mean you can be conscious all you want of how you hit a player and what shoulder you are going to hit with the player or anything like that,” Wagner said. “But as soon as the offensive player lowers his shoulder or lowers his head or puts his head into it, I can come with my shoulder and he can lower his head and his head hit my shoulder, but they still say it’s my fault. It’s hard to be conscious of that. You can (be) conscious of it but I don’t think it’s all on the defense even though I feel like we are trying to do a better job of making sure we’re not using our head.”

15 responses to “Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner has no desire to see a targeting rule added in NFL

  1. He is 100% correct but he should embrace the inevitable. The NFL favors its QBs and receivers. It punishes defense. QBs and receivers will exploit any targeting rule to get key defenders kicked out of a game. As far as I’m concerned, since 2010 ish, all the offensive records and QB and receiver stats are not much different than the circumstances in MLB when players in the 90’s started breaking home run records. MLB players cheated and broke the HR records, but the rules in the NFL are so skewed to QBs and receivers that it practically is cheating these days if you compare it to earlier than 2010. The new NFL rule book is practically like giving steroids to your QB and receivers.

  2. Yeah Wagner don’t want to see a targeting rule because he knows the whole Seabags defense would be ejected every game.

  3. The only thing I like about the college rule is using instant replay to determine if it was really a personal foul. So many of these flags would be picked up on replay because the refs are erring on the side protecting players. I wouldn’t mind waiting on the replay if it would make it fair for defenders making clean but hard hits.

  4. The NFL is literally “rule Changing” itself right out of existence in the name of making the game safer. There is a flag thrown every other play… or more ! It is not the same game as it was even ten years ago.The product is grossly over priced and about to sink itself as fan interest continues to wane. Give me the NFL of the 60-70’s a product that was exciting to watch…unlike today !..I watch less than 1/10 of the football I used to watch and was considered a rabid football fan back in the day.db

  5. I see QBs and receivers crouch down just before contact. The defensive player was coming in at chest level and because the target crouches down their head is now a foot lower and they get hit in the head.
    The refs call a personal foul and 15 yard penalty, first down.

    If the NFL implements this rule, defensive players should always target the knee, since that won’t result in any fines or penalties, and is more likely to cause the offensive player to drop the ball than hitting them in the hip.

    Should defensive players be allowed to try and jar the ball loose with a hit? Does the NFL just want a tackle with no hitting? Thats actually easy to do.
    Remove helmets and padding, a la Rugby.
    Then you have a “safer game”.
    Of course I will no longer watch the games since I’m not interested in Rugby.

  6. kamthechancellor says:

    December 7, 2017 at 6:32 am

    The only thing I like about the college rule is using instant replay to determine if it was really a personal foul. So many of these flags would be picked up on replay because the refs are erring on the side protecting players. I wouldn’t mind waiting on the replay if it would make it fair for defenders making clean but hard hits.
    ————————
    Disagree- Refs still make bad judgement calls when reviewing the plays in replay anyway. They can’t seem to know what constitutes a catch, a lateral pass, or a fumble what makes you think they’re going to be able to determine if a hit is targeting….This will never happen but if you want to take injuries seriously and limit them, remove a lot of the gear the players wear. They feel indestructible with the amount of equipment on them so they play more reckless. Remove that and they will play safer.

  7. Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker’s man
    Bake me a cake as fast as…

    Oh, I’m sorry Bobby…did you not hear about the annual offseason rule changes? Please be sure to grab your flags for your uniform by the 2020 season. Not only will targeting be an ejection/suspension, tackling QB’s, WR’s, and RB’s will also be a flag and a fine.

  8. 8 penalties in 6 years might be something to overlook if you’re just a special teams player or a receiver, but to be a MLB and lead the league in tackles in back to back years that is just down right impressive. Another reason Wagner should be DPOY, but that stat won’t be mentioned or even a topic of conversation when it comes to voting for DPOY.

  9. The only thing these guys understand is playing time. Money means nothing to these guys. If they were to miss playing time AND lose the money tied to that playing time they’d change the way they hit

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