Trent Richardson a poster boy for ban on runners lowering heads

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As the NFL considers a rule change this week that would penalize runners for lowering their helmets into tacklers, Browns running back Trent Richardson is being presented as the poster boy for the proposal.

Specifically, a play in the September Eagles-Browns game, when Richardson was making his rookie debut, has been used as the example by the Competition Committee of the kind of play that needs to be banned, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. On the play in question, Richardson lowered his helmet into Kurt Coleman of the Eagles, sending Coleman’s helmet flying.

Mortensen said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants the rule passed and added, categorically, “It’s passing.”

But if the NFL is going to pass this rule specifically because of Richardson’s hit on Coleman, it’s worth noting that Coleman didn’t suffer a concussion on the play and didn’t sound after the game like he wanted any kind of protection from that kind of collision. Coleman said he got cut when his chin strap scraped his face as his helmet flew off, but other than that he had no effects from the hit.

I didn’t have a concussion,” Coleman said. “My head was fine. . . . I was fine. It got a little bloody. It’s a man’s game and I love it. I thank God for being able to play this game.”

But football is a game that’s changing, and that hit may result in a major change to the NFL’s rules.

123 responses to “Trent Richardson a poster boy for ban on runners lowering heads

  1. The NFL should make a rule saying that defenders must tackle the player with the ball from behind. That should eliminate any unnecessary head-on collisions.

  2. Prior to the rule passing, Goodell should be required to scrimmage 20 plays in full pads while playing running back and not lowering his head while being tackled. Then let’s see it he’s still willing to pass this rule.

  3. Coleman just made the point……It’s a mans game and knows the risks…and thanked god for being able to play it…and he was on the business end of this example……..leave it alone, please……. Goodell is the only man in this country that wants this passed……

  4. Ya know, if these fellas tightened up their da*n chin straps their helmets might stay on.

  5. This is absurd. A RB lowering his head/shoulders does so instinctively and to protect himself and the ball. These guys aren’t lowering their head to knock defenders out. How exactly are the runners supposed to protect themselves if they can’t lower their head/shoulders? If the RB can’t lower his head into a defender, then defenders shouldn’t be allowed to even make contact using their head….

    The NFL goes out of its way to protect WR’s and QB’s, why are RB’s all of a sudden the ones causing a problem? These guys are going to get killed and its going to be ridiculous that the NFL is trying to take away an instinctual move kids grow up mastering.

  6. Kurt Coleman should be the poster boy for how to NOT wear your helmet.

    If you watch the play, when Coleman comes in, his chin strap is already over his mouth. The collision looked a lot worse because Coleman was not properly equiped.

  7. They already put skirts on the QB’s, handcuffs on the DB’s, what’s next, putting flags on the jerseys? You may be the greatest sport in America , NFL…….but I hope you don’t start thinking you are invincible.

  8. I can’t wait till everyone is running around looking like Forrest Gump. Should make for excellent football.

  9. Goodell wants tampons to replace Gatorade.

    The NFL can’t legislate this rule. Lowering the shoulder pads happens on every running play.

  10. Anybody remember Walter Payton , he lowered his pad level and dropped his head to avoid big hits all the time . It was one of the reasons he was healthy most of his career . and in my mind Mr Payton was the BEST !

  11. In related news: The NFL is considering adding an additional flag as well. The proposal would have the flag attached to a belt that would then be loosely tied to each player. Upon removal of the flag from a ballcarrier, the play would be dead. The intent is to create a safer game with fewer injuries.

  12. I watched this play quite a few time and don’t see Trent Richardson doing anything wrong. Coleman wasn’t in position and Richardson’s helmet caught the bottom of his face mask.

    When a running back is surrounded by defenders, what are they supposed to do from now on? slide like a quarterback so the defenders don’t tee off on them?

    This sport might not exist because of concussion lawsuits and the violence, but it will not exist if Goodell keeps making his changes.

  13. Well I guess we’re just not going to run the ball anymore. Might as well just line up five WR every play and replace linemen and a the pass rush with a shot clock

  14. Let’s take poll and ask players if they want to be protected. If the majority say yes it happens. If not, it goes away. What makes NFL “leadership” think they can make decisions for full grown adults?

  15. “Next thing players will have to support their pecks with padding that is worn from straps.”

    Almost lost my drink on that one.

    I have been for almost every rule protecting the players. I know the rule changes are changing the game, but always felt it was necessary as more and more information came out about the brain issues long time players have shown to get. It’s getting a bit out-of-hand now. There is an inherent risk, and these players know those risks coming out of college, when they sign their first contract. Maybe every rookie contract should come with a 2 week class on the types of life changing injuries some ex-NFL players have to deal with. Then, being over 18, they can weigh the health disadvantages to the $$$, and make a completely educated, adult decision whether to sign by the X. Then make 20% of all proceeds (before its split between Players/Owners) goes to health and support for all retired players.

    Everybody is informed of the risks, everyone agrees to the plan, and we move on to playing the game.

  16. I’m okay with trying to make the game safer but this exposes the running backs and is going to far Godell should back off.

  17. Just wait until the first player gets paralyzed from having his head snapped back from keeping his head up. It’s human nature to tuck your head down like that before contact for a reason. It’s called protection which Goodell claims is his priority. The commish is a joke.

    Not that it will, but I hope if this rule does pass the players strike or even retire stating the inherent danger the rules leaves them is the basis for refusing to take the field.

  18. If defenders cant lower their head, runners shouldnt be able to either. It was VERY hypocritical, and made little sense logically to not allow tacklers to lead with their head but to continue allowing runners.

    That said, football isnt football if you cant lead with your head

  19. There is only one person I really hate in this world, and that is Michael Moore….Roger Godell is quickly being added to my list. He will destroy the NFL. Don’t the owners have the ability to fire this idiot?

  20. I understand that defensive players need some protection too but if they pass this rule they might as well just play flag football for real.

    Collisions of any kind will cause damage to a players head, its the the helmets hitting that cause brain injuries its the brain bouncing inside the skull that causes the injury.

  21. I think Goodell should be the poster boy for condoms. He’s really into protection especially at the cost of physical enjoyment and the world would be a better place if his dad had worn one.

  22. As if NFL running backs didn’t have a short enough career as is. This is will definitely kill them, how else are they supposed to protect themselves now? What a bunch of idiots this will lead to more injuries.

  23. In other news, QB’s are no longer allowed to throw the ball over hand, and DB’s can’t leave their feat to deflect the pass. Goodell is ruining this game.

  24. On one hand I’ve admired Goodell for his business sense. He is after all CEO of the league and his job is to maximize the owner’s wealth- multi billionaires became multier billionaires and he had a lot to do with that. On the other hand he’s really become meddlesome always tweaking his product with rule changes. Makes you long for Tagliabue and Rozelle. How often did we hear their names in the news?

  25. If a helmet comes off than it wasn’t being properly worn. All of these rule changes have seemed to only increase the number of penalties, not change the way players play. This all stinks of moves to prevent lawsuits and nothing to actually make the game safer.

  26. So are players supposed to run straight up then? I agree with them only when the offensive player is blocking for someone then you shouldn’t lower your helmet but if your running with the ball then whats the big deal???

  27. I don’t want to sound like the crazy guy in the group, but boys, until we hit them where it hurts, they will keep crapping all over the fans.

    Until Roger and his crew quits ruining the greatest game on earth, people (myself included) need to quit supporting this kind of garbage.

    1 weekend of empty stadiums will get them to change their tune in a hurry and give football back to the fans!

  28. As a running back, from the day you first learn to play the game, you are taught to get lower than the defender. Keep your shoulders down. And… I’m no expert on anatomy, I think your head is somewhat near your shoulders. And, I think, when your lowering your shoulders and running forwards, your helmet would be the first thing to make a collision with a defender.

    This is flippin ridiculous.

    Goodell just doesn’t want to get sued. But he’s going to lose a lot more money when the league’s revenue starts to decrease because of how much he’s changed the game.

    The players choose to play. They choose to subject themselves to risk. And in this case, none of them want to see this rule change. Players don’t, fans don’t, media doesn’t, coaches don’t. This is utter BS. And it’s the first time I’ve said that it’s gone too far.

    The NFL is ruining the game, and I hate it.

  29. Thought I heard someone on espn saying this play wouldn’t be flagged under the new rule? They certainly showed this clip any time they discussed the rule…

    Props to Coleman for taking it like a champ, giving Richardson his due props, and loving hard-nosed football

  30. They are slowly killing the game,you expect a RB to just sit there and take the blow,this commish might as well turn the game into 7 on 7,get rid Goodell please

  31. This may be a good thing, but it fails the smell test for me. I would have had more respect for the rule if there were more evidence than a X-box video image of the player and some jerk of of a commissioner yells, ” That’s what I want to eliminate!”

    I just listened to Jim Brown (perhpas the greatest RB of All-Time) suggest on Sirrius to Pat Kirwan that the committee never talked to any of the runnings backs, past or present to form an opinion. This meeting could have been used to set the stage for the discussions, not to make the decision.

    On the other hand, Jim said he used his shoulders and his forearms, never his head. (played 9 years and never missed a game) But he also likes what he’s seen in Trent Richardson. He does have an opinion worth listening to.

    Goodell is a tool! As Mother Teresa once said, “common sense has died!”

  32. This is dumb!! Running Backs Knees will be the talk of the league. We’ve had a league high 87 ACL tears this year and it’s due to running backs not being able to lower their heads. I mean C’mon…..that’s how RB’s protect themselves. That’s why everyone preaches “get low” dang. This is a really stupid rule. Imagine….the Ray Rice play last year at the end of the game. What happens on that play, Ray Rice lowers his head to protect himself and try to get the extra yard for the first down…NOPE..>FLAG…15 yard penalty. END OF GAME…………
    I know that’s not how it went down, but that could be how a play could go down. JUST DUMB!!!

  33. I can’t wait to see the first QB sneak with this rule in place. Some QB is going to get lit up!

  34. Once all the good ol players retire before the cam newton draft class, the nfl will be boring to watch because then it will be flag football

  35. Richardson is a beast. Trucking Coleman only proved that Coleman doesn’t know the proper way to tackle.

  36. Asking a running back or any other player in that matter to not lower there head is rediculous. So what the NFL is saying is don’t lower your head to the offense and defenders can not lead with there shoulder, use there head or tackle low? why not just give the men who make millions to catch a ball, run and tackle a pair of flags and let them play cuz that’s what it’s turning into. football is losing a lot of fans as the days go on. the players dedicate there lives to the game and know what to expect. There gonna get injured, there gonna get hit in the head. They shouldn’t even be aloud to sue the NFL.

  37. I would be scare to run the ball in the NFL and not lower my head. What other way can I run and evade a tackle. I think the fan base needs to go on strike and not attend any NFL games until Goodell resigns. This dude is pathetic, and it makes me sick.

  38. I’ll say it once again. Coleman’s helmet was jarred loose from fighting off the blocker before Richardson hit him. However, since this doesn’t agree with the point the author is trying to make my first comment got deleted.

  39. It’s only a matter of time before Roger Goodell declares no more winners of losers in fear of discouraging the players.

    Please, before the NFL starts drafting players from the Girl Scouts, just bring back the XFL. They at least understood that this is a man’s game.

  40. Any boxer will tell you that the best way to knock someone out cold is a blow to the chin. I get that the league wants to reduce concussions, but this rule might increase them.

  41. I hate complaining about the NFL changing and all that… But how do you lower your shoulders without your head coming down at the same time? When you’re running that fast directly at each other sometimes your head will hit before the shoulders do..


    Tell the sports media why “you and the NFL” refuse to even test a device that worked nearly perfectly to protect those players who wore it, dating back to the 1980s.

    The ProCap successfully protected NFL players in the past, yet the Goodell and the NFL would rather screw up the game of football with their ridiculous rule changes, just put on a show.

    Goodell and the NFL won’t even test the ProCap against the existing helmet makers products…some in the media need show enough courage to ask Roger Goodell , WHY he refuses to test the ProCap or try it on a trial basis.

    Stop messing with the game of tackle football and FIX THE HELMETS, ROGER !!!

  43. this is getting out of tired of ppl in general blowing things out of proportion,which is what The head Nazi and the NFL is doing.Its absurd and cant believe this has any followers at all

  44. Anyone consider there might be less concussions if the league passed a rule requiring players to buckle both sides of the chin strap like we were all taught in the pee wees? When did it become to halfway wear your chin strap which holds your helmet on? I was always told my helmet was my best friend on the football field and to wear it properly

  45. I like watching football. I just hope I can still be interested in it. The more judgement rules the more the refs dictate the outcome of the game.

  46. Commish be a smart man. Ban it now, forestall lawsuits later.

    Just take a look at the physical wreck that is Earl Campbell, the ultimate lower-your-head-and-bash RB. Only now, the players are bigger and faster than before.

    RB’s just have to revert back to the lost art of the stiff-arm.

  47. I think South Park predicted the future. They’ll all be playing with bras on and tinfoil hats kicking a balloon around and complimenting each other. No Fun League…

  48. I think the NFL should ban all tackling, period. They could replace it with flags, and call it “flag football.” Then they should replace all those top-tier athletes with fat middle-aged men, put a keg in the middle of the field and make a picnic out of it.

  49. The Saints wish this was a penalty a few years ago in the playoffs against Seattle, Lynch would have got flagged three times on that one play.

  50. If the rule is intended for “clearly outside the tackle box”-purposes, I have a hard time seeing a ref throwing a flag on that play 100% of the time (could easily be as low as 50%). That hit happens one yard earlier, I don’t see it being a penalty at all.

    And one question that nobody seems to be asking: If young defenders are being taught to play with their “heads up” or are not supposed to “lower their head,” why shouldn’t offensive players be conditioned to do the same? I’m not saying I’m for this rule (I am not for it at all), but if the rule is strictly intended to be enforced “clearly outside the tackle box,” how many collisions will actually fall under it?

  51. The hit in this case is exactly like the James Harrison hit on Colt McCoy. It is a natural instinctive bracing for impact. Every guy does this & cannot help it. Go run at someone and just before colliding, you’ll both lower your heads/shoulders as you brace for impact. To ban this is silly.

  52. Worst commissioner in the history of sports. Doesn’t have a clue what his fans want and doesn’t care. Sounding more and more like Bernard Pollard was right when he said the NFL will be gone in 30 years?

  53. Everyone keeps complaining about how the rules to protect the players are changing the game. Well wake up! The game has been changing since it started and if you haven’t noticed, the sheer size and weight of the modern player has changed the game immeasurably whether you like it or not. Whether Goodell said it or not, someone is going to get killed on the field sooner or later just from a hit, and when that happens, it isn’t a game anymore. You talk about problems, wait till someone is held accountable by manslaughter charges. It could happen. And have you looked at the rule, it only applies outside the tackle box and only if the head is lowered to deliver a forceful blow. Back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, extreme hits by defenseive backs on receivers was rare, so rare that when it happened, usually by George Atkinson of the Raiders, it was big news. Now these plays are a staple of every football game. The game is changing whether you like it or not. Oh and if you want a poster boy play for this type of hit, re watch the Seahawks vs. the Bears from this past year. I think it was M. Lynch who lowered his head into a Bears defensive back and put him out for the season. The Seahawk knew before the Bears player hit the turf it was a serious injury.

  54. First Goodell failed with proof of Bountygate, even though he claimed to have 50K pages of evidence (like Wilt Chamberlin and his 100K women) and now this. This will p off every running back in the league.

  55. I’m all for player safety, but I think they’re going about it the wrong way. I mean they already have too many commercials and now they want to waste more time with more penalties. They need better equipment and better testing for steroids and HGH.

  56. Theres a difference between getting low to brace yourself for a hit and using your helmet as a battering ram. Apparantly most people against this rule don’t understand the difference.

  57. Goodell is such a tool. I am all for protecting players, but this is a CONTACT sport. Your massive fan base Mr. Goodell, loves the product you have now. If you go and keep watering it down, you won’t have a fan base, but you will be unemployed. Jack*ss

  58. How is this going to work around the goal-line and in short yardage downs?

    If the runner can’t lower his helmet it effectively removes any attempt to dive over the line. Hell, runners wont even be able lean forward.

    I am no fan of head shots. I am glad they’ve cracked down on defenders delivering cheap shots to the heads of defenseless players.

    I want to see cheapshot blocks taken out of the game as well. Defenders shouldn’t have to fear having their knees taken out.

    I want to see blockers and tacklers forced to take on the full momentum of the opposition player. Let the strongest man win the battle. I don’t want to see someone knocked out or crippled by someone they couldn’t even see coming.

    But this “Richardson Rule” is rediculous. It’s going to provide minimal protection for defenders, and force running backs to run upright.

    What do you hear about any running back in the draft who runs with an upright style, that they wont last very long in the NFL.

  59. Roger Godell is quickly being added to my list. He will destroy the NFL. Don’t the owners have the ability to fire this idiot? To answer your question: yes, they do. And if the rule becomes reality it will be because of the owners who will vote at the owers meeting needing at least 24 votes to pass.

  60. If you want the perfect runner you may have to watch tape of Eric Dickerson. If anyone runs the way Goodell wants them to run in today’s league, look at Darren McFadden. Guy runs exactly what Goodell wants, head up and stood tall, but with bigger, faster defensive players, the guy takes so many open shots he’s failed to stay healthy for a full season.

  61. You gotta give Goodell credit – people said that football was impossible to kill. Damn if he isn’t going to do his best to do so!

  62. Sorry Rodger but you just don’t seem to learn anything from your mistakes. Players, coaches, and fans overwhelmingly reject this idea but since you like it “it’s passing”. BS Bubba. You are not the Czar of football and I believe that the competition committee has a say. What’s that called? Oh yeah, a VOTE. You stick your finger in places beyond your authority and get them cut off only to do it again. Even a 2 yr old won’t touch the stove twice. Starting to think you have a extra chromosome or two boy.

  63. Why can’t people understand it doesn’t apply to the tackle box and therefore wouldn’t apply to goal line plays up the middle. Also, it wouldn’t apply if the runner was outside the tacle box and just lowered his head to protect himself. Read the rule before you start condemning it.

  64. Mortensen said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants the rule passed and added, categorically, “It’s passing.”

    On a previous thread re this topic someone posted the names of Competition Committee members and urged us to bear in mind this is their doing and not Goodell’s. I hope no one else tries to sell us that bill of goods. As this quote makes clear, EVERYTHING that happens in Goodell’s sphere of influence is Goodell’s doing. And it is all about corporate PR: convincing the public, the government, and the courts the league cares about safety.

    Nothing about this has anything to do with achieving actual safety. To do that requires collecting quantifiable data to show exactly what rule changes will make players safer–something the league has never done. Instead, the Commish picks out a visually jarring play that injured no one and uses it to whip people into a frenzy for arbitrary rule changes. This won’t reduce the number of injuries. But it will help him sell football to those who don’t know any better.

  65. The thing I hate worst about this rule is that it places even more discretion in the hands of the referees. They will now have to judge whether the runner’s head was lowered or not. How do you determine that?

    For those like me who like to say the fix is in, this gives the ref yet another tik-tak picky flag followed by yet another time wasting debate between the refs.

  66. How on earth are the refs going to be able to call this consistently, given that on every run play, the runner will likely be hunched around the ball as he makes his way thru the line?

  67. Just a random thought: Why doesn’t the NFL allow the players to vote on all rules related to ON FIELD rule changes.Since they are the ones affected,shouldn’t they be the ones to decide,not 40-60 y/o men in an office? This would help the NFL as well. If the players voted against alot of these changes the last cpl years, they could point to that in any future lawsuits by current players. If the players voted against the rule, how could they later sue the NFL?

  68. Soon the Lingerie League players will have to show the NFL players how its done. Or maybee they can unite as one league, and then just maybee I sign up. Would’nt mind having one of those girls as my center.

  69. I don’t know if a RB should get penalized, but if the RB lowers his head and then a flag is thrown for head to head contact then the penalty should be negated. I saw a defender get flagged a few times last year when he would have hit the RB in the chest, but the RB lowered his head and that was the reason for the head to head contact.

  70. Goodell professes to hate the effort players give in the Pro Bowl, but is turning the regular and post season games into that very same thing.

  71. Who wants to try to tackle a 230 pound wrecking ball? Just get out of his way and you won’t get hurt.

  72. I have been a die hard football fan since I could walk. Grew up going to every Raider game. Spent the past 20 years of fall Sundays glued to my TV. Played fantasy football since I was 9. Coached high school football for 7 years.

    If this rule passes, I will walk away.

    What a travesty that do-gooders, politics and litigation has ruined a truly beautiful game that is the essence of why America is different (better) than any other country.

  73. Roger Goodell you are out of control. What the heck. I say convert the NFL to a video game league. You can have the All-Maddens vs the Techmo Bowlers. Think about how much money you’d save the owners in concussion tests and potential litigation then… and don’t get me started on player salaries and health insurance.

  74. Trent Richardson is a BUST

    #3 overall pick and only averages 3.6 yards per carry, showing no signs of speed/agility/explosiveness whatsoever. Also a below average pass-blocker.

    The Browns’ 2012 draft is one of the worst of all time.

  75. I wonder if all you tough guys would see things differently if you were responsible for defending the league against a 1000+ retired players (former tough guys) suing for head injuries?

  76. I was at that game as a Philly fan. Brutal hit…thought Coleman’s head might be in that helmet. I’m often opposed to some of the “safety” changes, but to be honesty don’t see why this hasn’t come up earlier. Why is the defender prevented from using his helmet while the runner is not? It never made sense to me.

  77. Do it goodell. Pass this through and watch as the NFL and therefore your paycheck are gone. I love football. I was born and raised a giants fan, my first daughters birthday was a week after the giants won the sb. They won one other time when I was sick and once when I was born. The giants bleed through my vains but I will not spend another dollar on giants or any NFL memoribilia if this rule passes and will not watch another game. I’ll be counting down the days til a true rival league that plays real football opens up and does it right so I can watch football again instead of this joke call the nfl

  78. Just end it. Who cares? It was fun while it lasted. Hey did you see Barack Obama is the devil? I saw it on the History channel.

  79. I can imagine a headline from not too many years from now:

    “In an effort to protect wide receivers from the many violent hits they receive after catching passes, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has proposed a new rule that will outlaw the forward pass.”

  80. This is garbage. From grade school football players are taught that by getting low, they have more leverage. This lesson is ESSENTIAL in learning to play football.

    If I see rbs getting flags for running hard, I don’t think I’ll have any choice but to turn it off.

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