The NFL does not have a rule requiring players to leave the game when they’re bleeding. That may change soon.
Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt continued playing as blood gushed out of the bridge of his nose on Sunday, and former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira said he believes the sight of Watt bleeding on the field will make the NFL’s Competition Committee queasy.
“The NFL does not have a blood rule,” Pereira said. “Hockey has it, college football has it, the NBA has it: If you have blood on your person you’re asked to leave the game and it has to be stopped and your uniform cleaned up. Should the NFL have a blood rule? I think they should. In this day and age of infectious diseases it makes sense, and that’s exactly why all the other sports have gone in that direction. . . . I’d bet you that they address it in the offseason, especially after seeing J.J. Watt.”
Given the league’s emphasis on player safety, it’s surprising that such a rule doesn’t already exist. It’s also surprising that the NFL apparently doesn’t require medical professionals to wear latex gloves when treating players who are bleeding, but the trainers on the Texans’ sideline were not wearing gloves as they treated Watt’s cut.
As the NFL tries to change its image, the sight of players with blood streaming down their faces will likely become a thing of the past.