Dez Bryant believes safety rules will turn off fans

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Players continue to talk about the new rule regarding use of the top of the helmet in the open field.

None who have discussed it seem to like it.

“[T]hey keep making these rules, people aren’t going to want to watch football any more,” Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said Saturday, via the Dallas Morning News.  “I don’t think that rule is going to last long.  There’s going to be so many penalties in this league.  Too many guys getting fined.  It’s hard for somebody to pay attention to trying to not to use their helmet.”

Another Cowboy who may benefit from trying to tackle tailbacks who aren’t ramming them with the tops of their helmets is skeptical about the implementation of the rule.

“Are they going to call it?” cornerback Brandon Carr said.  “I think they’re trying too hard on that topic.  It’s one thing to improve safety but it can’t just challenge the integrity of the game.  I don’t see too many running backs out there running with their heads down intentionally trying to spear you or anything with their helmet.  Most running backs lower their shoulder anyway.  You’re taught to lower the shoulder and bring the boom.”

Tailbacks can still bring the boom with their shoulders, face masks, sides of helmets, and hairlines of helmets.  The only thing prohibited — outside the tackle box and three yards or more down the field within the tackle box — is the use of the top of the helmet as a battering ram.

That’s all the rule is.  And despite Dez’s concerns, the rule is going to last a lot longer in the league than he will.  So it makes sense for him and all other players to understand what the rule is, what the rule isn’t, and prepare to adjust accordingly.

79 responses to “Dez Bryant believes safety rules will turn off fans

  1. I’ll be watching streams on the internet. No way I’m supporting this new product.

  2. Easily solved, Dez, players shouldn’t wear a helmet in practice, they’ll soon learn not to lead with their heads. Even at half speed a direct hit to the top of the head by a 300+ Lb. lineman would provide quite a jolt.

  3. 5 years ago I would have never considered doing anything else with my Sundays but watching my fav team. The fact that a hard core fan like myself is even considering using that time for something else speaks volumes. This is coming from some who has seen everyone of my teams games since 89′ w/o missing one.

  4. How many ridiculous calls for helmet hits against D players are called every week? Some change the complexion of the game. Refs can’t get that right so they “err on the side of safety”. Now they will do the same thing on the O side. Goodell must be drooling over all the new fines he will be passing gout. Power hungry …….

  5. The NFL is becoming a game of touch football. I’m not going to watch it for much longer. If the officials actually call this stupidness the NFL won’t be on my watch list anymore.

  6. Another thing Dez. There are these people called lawyers. I’m sure you’ve heard of them. Like most people there are good ones and bad ones. The bad ones tend to exploit situations for their own greed. Especially when there are deep pockets. So they’ll go in pretending to be doing something forthr greater good when all they are doing is lining their own pockets and their fellow lawyer pockets. These people have been making our country soft for the past century. Can’t believe they got to football. Actually now that I think about it I can’t believe it took them this long.

  7. “Tailbacks can still bring the boom with their shoulders, face masks, sides of helmets, and hairlines of helmets. The only thing prohibited — outside the tackle box and three yards or more down the field within the tackle box — is the use of the top of the helmet as a battering ram.”

    Yeah, watching/calling these penalties wont be any problem at all.
    I’m already sick of the fuzzy feel good rules.

  8. Isn’t it amazing how much all these offensive players have to say now that a rule finally went against them?
    Where was all this concern for “the future of the game” each time the defense got limited by a new ruling?
    I agree with what they say completely but they just sound like a bunch of babies after remaining silent for so long when similar rule changes were made that helped them.

  9. With what these guys get paid they should be happy they might have the opportunity to play longer rather than risking their career and brain to injury.

  10. Will a ref be able to accurately differentiate between the hairline and the top of the helmet in the heat of the moment? Sure the NFL reviewed two weeks of tape and didn’t find too many of these penalties; however, would a ref on the field, without the benefit of review, be able to call this penalty with the same degree of accuracy as the suit-and-ties at the league office can with their slow-mo reviews? That remains to be seen…just glad the replacement refs won’t be implementing this change.

  11. Fans won’t be turned off. What might happen is the game might return to its roots, a fine game of strategy, as opposed to a game of simple violence. The league allowed the game to turn into a WWE-style freak show where “hits” were more important than “tackles”. Where uncommonly sized humans attacked each other in some kind of Medieval freak show.
    Ask yourself this: you often see the games first players…from the 1920’s and ’30…living to a ripe old age. Why is it many of the modern players can barely make it to 60? Many, like Mike Webster, had or have mental problems?
    It’s time for the “fans” to wake up and realize it’s not their bodies being sacrificed, it’s others. The game is just a game, and the players deserve to be protected, regardless of the mindless ramblings of some players.

  12. hodag54501:
    I agree with just about everything you’ve said. However, there is no substantial proof that NFL players’ mortality rate is less than than the average male.
    You cite Mike Webster. Webster’s name keeps coming up in two different arguments: Steroid abuse and/or head trauma. The bleeding-hearts can’t have it both ways.
    Most of the Steelers of the ’70s are still alive and very well. The ones who have parished died from either car accidents or complications unrelated to football.
    No one took more of beating than Terry Bradshaw; yet he can be found weekly during the season, talking football on network television.
    Whether or not today’s players will be seen 30 years after their playing days have ended remains to be seen.

  13. The NFL gains more fans each year than it loses. With the popularity of fantasy football, pools, betting, etc. I would say less than 5% of people who actually threaten to replace their Sunday’s with something else actually do.

  14. Today the NFL is the most popular sport but too many safety rules threaten to water down the end product and reduce fan interest.

    I think NASCAR took a similar course. More safe than ever but not as popular as before.

  15. Unless they want to install sensors in the top of the RB helmets this rule will be a disaster.

    It will be a total discretion call by the refs and since the refs have shown themselves to be awful year after year, I can only imagine the inconsistency and unfairness in which this will be called.

  16. Now, if we could just get a rule passed that prevents players from taking a shot of HGH before stepping onto the field…Oh, wait, that would mean RGIII wouldn’t be allowed to play, somewhere, logicalvoices is jumping off a building thinking about taking HGH and RG3 out of the game, since it’s one and one.

  17. But never fear, RGIII fans, goodell is only worried about rules that prevent the owners from getting sued, not the actual integrity of the game, that’s why RG hasnt been tested yet even though his recovery is ” superhuman “. Somewhere Shanny has that dubious smile on his face, knowing he has another QB that he can destroy their knee with impunity, due to his incompetence, since his owner is even more incompetent than him.

  18. I like the rule, but my concern is the officiating of the rule. An inch could be difference between a penalty and not a penalty and you’re asking the refs to
    Make that call at full speed and with other players involved.

  19. Because of this rule, I have decided:

    1) not to renew my Sunday Ticket subscription

    2) not to attend any games this year (possibly forever)

    3) not to buy any NFL merchandise

    4) to hope/wish/long for a new football league that markets and delivers traditional, hard-nosed, blue-collar football.

    I am also 75-90% I won’t watch any NFL games on TV.

  20. Then sign a waiver releasing the NFL of any wrongdoing after you can’t play no more !

  21. I use to be an avid sports fan for all the major sports. I could tell you the names of every starter for every sports team. I quit being a fan of the NBA when players like Bird, Magic, etc. retired and the NBA went from sport to entertainment where the “stars” would never be allowed to foul out and could travel etc…….baseball I lost interest in during the 90’s when the “juice” took over and average players were setting all kinds of previously hallowed records. Football is heading in the same direction with all the rule changes to make it purely an offensive game and I no longer stay “glued” to the TV on Sundays and two years ago I canceled my NFL Ticket. The NFL may think they are invincible but I am losing interest……

  22. Bradshaws run over brodney pool and igniting another improbable Super Bowl run would have likely been flagged under this ridiculous rule. This rule will be the nfls death knell

  23. If the NFL keeps slowing the games down with new rules and new penalties, we will see a day when people wll be talking about “remember when they used to have 2 games on Sundays?”

    Games have already increased by 30 minutes. Sunday football used to run from 1 ET until 7 ET and they fit 2 games in that time. Now it runs from 1 until 8. Pretty suoon it’ll be 1 until 9. The Sunday night games are on the verge of being pushed back a half an hour because of the afternoon games.

    Anyway, the longer the games last, the faster people will lose interest in them. It was bad enough when the games were 3 hours long to play 60 minutes of Football. Now we get to watch another half an hour of commercials. Soon we will get to watch an extra hour of commercials and the games will last 4 hours.

    The NFL better start thinking about how they will attract new fans.

  24. Another “err on the side of caution” safety rule that will be called way too frequently and incorrectly. More games decided by the refs instead of the players. Can’t wait until the greedy ex-players put together a class action lawsuit targeting knee injuries and imbecile Goodell is cowed into trying to eliminate contact below the waist. Wave goodbye to football as it was meant to be played.

  25. tizomps says:Mar 24, 2013 9:28 AM

    The NFL gains more fans each year than it loses. With the popularity of fantasy football, pools, betting, etc. I would say less than 5% of people who actually threaten to replace their Sunday’s with something else actually do.

    Ummm, people are moving away from NFL football as fans. Look how common black outs are now days. teams can’t sell enough tickets to get the games on local TV.

    Then, the black outs get fans into different Sunday habits. Can’t watch the game, might as well do something else.

    The NFL will find out what MLB found out. It is hard to get fans back to your product when you ignore them and they walk away from your sport.

  26. It’s so pleasant to watch the NFL Network when they’re showing older footage, where players tackled properly, instead of worrying about delivering a shoulder or helmet to a player so they can be a punishing tackler.

  27. They won’t turn anyone off. No one will seriously stop watching NFL football because of safety rules. I’ll go as far as to say that even if NFL games remotely resembled the Pro Bowl, if that was all we had, we’d keep watching. It’s in our blood.

  28. @tizomps:

    The actual number is zero percent. Not one single football fan in America will actually stop watching the NFL.

    Every offseason for the last 3 years there has been some new safety rule passed. Every year a hundred drama queens come on here and say they will never watch the NFL again, and every year the sport gets more popular.

    When they passed the defenseless reciever rule, so many said they were swearing off football that I decided to make a little list of screen names that said it.

    Every single one of them posted comments about games the following season.

    Listen people, you are NOT going to stop watching the NFL. Deal with it.

  29. I am a niner fan and even the past two seasons have not been as enjoyable in the past just because the offense has such a huge advantage in the game. Dashon Goldson (like Ronnie Lott) should be a top 10 player- and he would have been in the 80’s or 90’s- but the 15 yard penalties that come (inconsistantly) from Goldson’s best plays ruin it.

    I used to watch Baseball religiously until the 1994 strike. Now I might catch a handful of games a year. Major league sports can lose their audience- The NFL should be careful.

  30. It’s already a chore to watch a game anyway. There are flags on every play. The refs throw them, just to give themselves time to deliberate before saying that there was no foul on the play.

  31. The one thing that disturbs me more than the rules is the absurdly horrific officiating.
    I watched the Steelers-Giants game this past season in complete shock; shocked by the blatantly bad officiating.
    Even though the Steelers somehow won in spite of the one-sided officiating in favor of the SuperStormed home team, I felt the game had been fixed.
    Should I ever stop watching and/or following the NFL, it will not be because of dumb rules but because of horrible, the-fix-is-in officiating. That will kill interest quicker than anything.

  32. “Not one single football fan in America will actually stop watching the NFL…

    Listen people, you are NOT going to stop watching the NFL. Deal with it.”
    You are missing the point. As I diehard Patriots fan for as long as I remember, I’ve watched every game since 1994 (yes, some of us predate 2001). I’ve also made an effort to watch every other Sunday afternoon, Sunday night and Monday game for nearly two decades not involving my team.

    While I find it hard to envision a time when I will voluntarily miss a Pats game, I am already to the point where other, random NFL games are no longer must see TV. Particularly since the NFL has decided to play games every Thursday night (clearly another way to increase player safety, yes?) I found myself finding other things to do/watch on a significant number of Thursday and Monday nights and even Sunday afternoons last year.

    The combination of the oversaturation and watered down product, to me, means the NFL is no longer a special event that I need to put aside three plus hours for anymore, particularly with the unappealing matchups frequently featured in prime time.

    So yes, while I will not claim with a straight face that I am “done” with the NFL, the time and energy (and money) that I invest is steadily decreasing year after year.

  33. shlort says:

    The NFL will find out what MLB found out. It is hard to get fans back to your product when you ignore them and they walk away from your sport.

    MLB set attendance records last year and is healthier financially than at any point in it’s history.

    The Yankees are worth more than any team in the NFL (per Forbes magazine rankings) and the Dodgers just sold for 2 billion dollars.

    You’re right, the NFL did learn from MLB: You can pretty much do whatever you want to your fans, and eventually, they’ll get over it.

  34. i use to think the nfl was #1 but i enjoyed watching the major league baseball playoffs than any nfl football games including nfl playoffs last season.

  35. If helmets are such a weapon then get rid of them. Get rid of all pads in fact. Just make it a glorified version of rugby. It’s headed in that direction anyway. They already want to eliminate the kickoff, the running game, and any defense whatsoever. Why hold back now?

  36. ENOUGH! Ever time there is a rule change we have to put up with people who know nothing about the history of the game they play or follow as fans. This is what happens in sports–evolution. Do the people complaining want to go back to the good days when the players wore leather helmets and no face guards? How about when you could chop block and close line your opponent? Oh wait, that’s right, since the NFL started there have always been rule changes made in order to make the game more exciting and safer.

  37. the NFL just wants to control who plays in the Super Bowl. I’m sure they will do all they can to get Peyton manning to retire a Super Bowl champ

  38. Hate to say it, but I’m done. This new NFL isn’t football. I’m sure my wife won’t complain about my free Sundays, Sunday nights, Monday nights, & Thursday nights now. I’m not even excited about the draft, and I love the NFL draft.

    Hopefully a new league will come along. A lot of players make a lot of money in contracts and endorsements. Why can’t former and some current players start their own league? Yeah, it would start small, but I bet a lot of guys would jump ship from the NFL if a league started that actually played real football. Hopefully it will happen soon.

  39. @giablommi:

    And you are missing mine. You can throw all the anecdotal evidence you want at me about you and some other people on here watching less and less football, but you can’t supply one single number to back it up. Football is simply getting more and more popular and generating more and more money.

    It’s true that there has been a slight drop in overall attendance, but it is offset by increased TV ratings. More people are watching the games at home because with new technology it is simply a better experience.

    Look at the bottom 15 teams in attendance last year and tell me what, with a couple of exceptions, they all have in common.

    Then look at the top 15 and do the same thing.

    And now you know what affects attendance, and it ain’t rule changes.

  40. And for anyone else who was interested, all 32 teams are each more valuable than the 5th most valuable MLB team, the Phillies

  41. At 27 years old, Ive missed 3 Pats games since 2000. Now with Goodell’s reign of terror, I will have my tv off Sunday mornings. There has to be something to do on a weekend in Southern California

  42. My dream of soccer becoming popular may be sadly coming true. Perfect timing since my skins will have to change their name and not have a healthy QB.

  43. I tell you what, if its wasn’t for the DVR/Tivo I would have stopped watching football already. Way too many comercials and stoppages in the game to justify sitting through a whole game and all the crap that comes with it.

    Me thinks the NFL and the Owners should be fined a little bit.

  44. The powers to be can make any rules and the fans WILL NOT be turned off as long as you have the fantasy football geek roaming the earth. The fantasy football geek is ruining the game. Pretty soon the game of football in the NFL will resemble an NBA game played on a football field. More scoring is what the fantasy geeks want and more scoring is what the fantasy geeks will get. This rule is just another brick in the wall that is standing between me and the NFL.

  45. The few supporters on this site of the new rules I honestly doubt if you guys are fans of football. I bet these posters don’t watch games or have a team to follow but come on here to be a contrarian. I have a hard time believe anyone wants to see more subjective flags determining the outcomes of games and more stoppages. High hits-low blocks-5 yards contact- defenseless receiver and this new ball carrier rule will be called even when a back runs clean & hard with his head up because they have the same blown calls on clean hard hits Reggie Nelson & Cam Chancellor come to mind because the game is too fast. The competition committee already replaced kick return with a commercial. I used to go to 3 or 4 games a year and have been doing 1 and don’t bother with Sunday Ticket these days. Florio says this going to be around. When NFL starts its decline like the NBA they are going to be scrambling to recreate football to get back viewers but it will be too late.

  46. Isn’t it funny how Florio supports all these “saftey” rules. He knows his bread is buttered by the NFL and he knows that sleazy lawyers, like he used to be, will tear the game down.

  47. Just love the “I`m done with the NFL” and “Wish someone would start a new league where maiming your opponent is allowed” comments.
    We have had multiple attempts over the years by those who would create a “better brand of football” for those fans who want bloodshed and crippling hits and injuries and cartoffs, and all have failed. If you want to watch people beat the heck out of each other, cripple each other, and attempt to kill each other, go watch extreme cage fighting. Football was originally designed to enable people to watch properly coached and trained FOOTBALL players block, tackle, run, pass and kick their way down the field and back. It wasn`t intended to become what it has become. So for all of you fans who claim “I`m done with the NFL”,well the rest of us won`t miss you, because you aren`t really interested in watching FOOTBALL anyway.

  48. “Not one single football fan in America will actually stop watching the NFL.”

    Sorry Skippy. They’ve already lost me. I didn’t watch a single game from start to finish last year. They lost me several years ago.

    “Ever time there is a rule change we have to put up with people who know nothing about the history of the game”

    Nice theory you have there, Champ. I’m pretty sure that those people wouldn’t be commenting here and those who do seem to have more knowledge than you.

    “Now with Goodell’s reign of terror…”

    Please. This is all on the owners. Goodell doesn’t have a vote in this. Goodell only exists with the explicit approval of the owners. I actually support the owners vs the NFLPA but we don’t get a guy like him without their okay.

  49. It is such a shame that games will be decided and running curtailed over such a stupid idea as this rule. Maybe it surprises some in the media but theres a reason why football people are nearly unanimous in criticizing this rule.

  50. I think what will prove to most “interesting” is when one team is flagged for it during a game, but the opposing team isn’t. That’s the real problem with rules that require an on-field judgment call. Too often, infractions are not seen by the zebras and therefore not called. Since the refs are only human, they will make mistakes, but when those errors potentially cost teams the games and perhaps their chances at making the play-offs, you can count on it, that the partisan uproar will be loud and long.

  51. The NFL doesn’t want to do this. There are 4000 former NFL players that are suing the NFL for concussion related issues. If you want to blame someone, blame the players too. You think Dez would miss out on that same lawsuit if he had the chance?

  52. I quit watching the nba because of the commissioner and owners. Basketball and baseball have really fell off in my opinion.

    The nfl might end up doing this to itself too.

    As a big fantasy football player, i might find it hard to quit paying attention to football altogether, but it is possible to watch less.

  53. You people who claim you’ll stop watching football are full of crap. You’ll be spending your money just like before. Stop kidding yourself. These teams love to get rich off your hard earned money.

  54. I am not going to sit here and say that I am not going to watch any football games next year because of this rule, but the NFL has gone downhill the last few years with their rule changes and there ARE people, die hard fans, lovers of the game, that are getting tired of it. Problem is, a lot of your season ticket holders and most fans don’t fall into this category. They are just looking for somewhere to go on the weekend. A reason to sit down and have a drink with some friends. I don’t remember where it started, but between the ‘tuck rule’, TOUCHING a quarterbacks helmet, hits on a defenseless receiver, and now a RB can’t lead with the crown of his helmet? Nobody has any faith in the officials these days as it is, and the NFL admitted a few years ago when they changed the ‘forcing a receiver out of bounds’ rule, that they need to take as many judgment calls away from the officials as possible. The officials have trouble doing their jobs as it is, and this isn’t another thing they need to watch out for, because most of the time, that head will be lowered in a split second, and they won’t be able to tell whether the RB was using his helmet as a battering ram, or just preparing to get hit by the defender. When they have to watch for that, on top of where a player steps out of bounds, horse collars, tripping, holding, facemasks, etc., they are going to miss something or call something they shouldn’t. I hate this rule no matter what the intentions are. Making this judgment on the field without the benefit of instant replay is going to be VERY hard.

    This is what happens when a bunch of lawyers and bureaucrats decide to get together and implement rules in an attempt to cover their ass for future lawsuits involving head injuries and the like. This way they can say ‘we did everything we could do, despite heavy resistance from the players. We are trying to protect the players, and they don’t want to be protected’. In reality they are just protecting the institution and their money. Of course, if any player goes on record of objecting to these rules, it could take away any possibility of that player winning a lawsuit in the future involving injuries, as it shows a lack of regard for safety. It’s always about money.

  55. lambeauandlombardi says:Mar 24, 2013 2:32 PM

    “…all have failed. If you want to watch people beat the heck out of each other, cripple each other, and attempt to kill each other, go watch extreme cage fighting. Football…”

    You sir or madam, are a complete ignoramus. As both a high level football player and martial artist, I am here to tell you that I have suffered more, more severe, and longer lasting injuries from football than I EVER have from participating in martial arts. As to “cage fighting,” I am assuming that you are refering to Mixed Martial Arts, or “MMA,” the sport men and women participate in in certain international organizations, such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship, World Series of Fighting, Super Fight League, ONE Fighting Championships, and countless regional promotions from the U.S. and around the world, as well as countless (now defunct) organizations such as PRIDE Fighting Championships, Strikeforce, and Pancrase.

    I love both football and MMA, and it truly pains me to know that there are people in this world who are as ignorant of a legitimate sport such as MMA, and claim that the male and female participants are out to kill each other. For the record, there are over 86% more concussions (per capita) in the NFL over the last five years than in all three of the leading MMA promotions during the same period COMBINED. Educate yourself before you speak.

    As my father always told me, “better to keep your mouth shut and be thought an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

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