Goodell: Allowing replays of helmet-to-helmet hits not the answer “necessarily”

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell knows that the league’s officials “missed at least one” helmet-to-helmet hit on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton during last Thursday’s game against the Broncos.

Goodell is likely referring to Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall leaving his feet and hitting Newton in the head and said the league is reviewing the hit with a decision on discipline in the form of a fine for Marshall coming “in the next day or so.” Goodell said Monday that the fines are a way to push for the elimination of such hits from the league and also said that the league wants “to make sure it’s not” coached that way.

One way to help make that happen would be to make sure that teams are hurt on the field by penalties for such hits. Had the Broncos been penalized last Thursday, perhaps the outcome of the game is a loss for them and the way games are coached will be impacted a lot more by losses that threaten coaching jobs than by players paying fines. Goodell still isn’t in favor of allowing replay reviews of hits to the head, however.

“The [competition] committee and the membership [owners] have discussed that a lot,” Goodell said, via the Washington Post. “And they really did not feel that they wanted to go there. We had a discussion again this spring about that, and they just didn’t want to expand replay into that area. I don’t think that’s the answer necessarily. Sometimes it’s a tough call.”

These can be tough calls. That would seem to be an argument for more chances to look at a play rather than the alternative, but the league doesn’t see things that way.

29 responses to “Goodell: Allowing replays of helmet-to-helmet hits not the answer “necessarily”

  1. This is, of course, complete nonsense and demonstrates that the NFL does not care about player safety. All they need to do is look to international rugby that has a TMO (television match official). One of the primary jobs is to watch for unsafe plays, they have the power to stop the match, call down to the ref and recommend an action, including red and yellow cards. It takes under a minute.

    If the NFL cared about player safety they would institute a similar system. It would eliminate most unsafe hits to the head pretty quickly. Not holding my breath.

  2. So,here’s the challenge. Defender is going for the hit. Receiver ducks/turns away/turns towards the defender and then they hit helmets. Is the defender guilty of headhunting? Probably not.

    In this something you can coach the defender to do differently?

  3. Most calls like this that need to be reviewed are for the defence. How many times last year was a defender penalized because an offensive player lowered his helmet just before impact.

  4. Suspend the players who pull this crap–put the heat on the coaches who coach that way and their GMs.

  5. Because when you keep showing the hits on replay, it demonstrates how incompetent the NFL truly is.

  6. Fines are worthless, especially when the refs are looking the other way.

    Nothing is going to change until these bozos start getting ejected from games, college style.

  7. That wouldn’t necessarily solve the problem. Early in the Super Bowl, Can threw a pass to Jericho Cotchery. He dove and caught the ball. Even those who were lifetime Broncos fans starting Feb. 6 knew he caught the ball. Everyone watching knew he caught the ball. It was called a drop. Rivera challenged, and the idiot ref said the call stands. So, with whatever anti-Cam agenda the officials are employing right now, even the most blatant video evidence of a foul will result in “the ruling on the field stands as called.”

  8. This man is a waste of oxygen. Maybe when a player suffers a permanent injury on the field because of a helmet to helmet hit then something will change.
    I agree with Gregg Olsen about the NFL talking out of both sides of their mouth. On one hand they preach player safety and on the other they take “minimal” steps to appear as though they care.
    I am not a Panthers fan either.

  9. Using replay for penalties is a huge can of worms to open. If you use it for helmet to helmet hits, you should almost certainly use it for defensive pass interference, considering the impact those calls can have, and from there the argument can be made that roughing the passer should be open to examination and then once you get to offensive holding, it’s all over, the games now take five hours to play because virtually every play would have the potential for holding on either side.

  10. jag1959 says:
    Sep 13, 2016 7:14 AM
    “I don’t think that’s the answer necessarily.”

    But as soon as 21 of 32 owners do then it will absolutely be the right answer and will have been the right answer all along. Sometimes a commissioner needs to actually lead and not just be a front man. If we are supposed to accept player safety means anything to the league then this should be one of those times. What an empty suit shill that clown is.

  11. At least 3 of the four hits to Newton’s head should have seen flags… but it was the Broncos, who always seem capable of stepping through the raindrops when it suits them.
    Without a doubt, other teams will be flagged for similar hits – a fact that should be surprising to no one.

  12. The Comp Committee is a joke and always has been. It’s basically a bunch of losers who want to try to shape the league the way their team is run.

    Polian mad a career out of it, changed a bunch of rules because of it, and now the game is far worse than it used to be.

    Nothing logical ever gets done and they’re far busier changing rules under Goodell than under Rozelle or Tagliabue.

  13. Adopt the college targeting rule. If you take a head shot you leave the game. The replay would look at if there was actually helmet to helmet contact and whether the offensive player caused it by ducking/turning. It would also get rid of those cheap shots where the defender uses their shoulder or forearm to intentionally target the head. If the player does it again that season, he also sits the next game. A third time and he is done until next season.

    Too many defenders just don’t try to tackle. Many try to hurt the opposing player with a big hit because that has an effect throughout the game. They also get a bunch of praise from teammates and coaches for those bone-jarring hits. Until players are tossed, they will continue to target the head. In fact, the recent concussion protocols actually encourage those hits in the hopes of forcing a guy out to be evaluated.

  14. As far as changing the game, this is equivalent to outlawing overhand throwing in Baseball.

    NFL is listing and taking on water.

  15. This is only week one and we are already firmly back into the twilight zone in rule application.

    Flawed game

  16. I think it is obvious that the Broncos defense was trying to knock Newton out, and that they were willing (and may even have planned beforehand) to use illegal “spearing” type hits to the head to accomplish that.

    I strongly suspect that the current penalty structure, under which it is very unlikely that you would even see a player ejected, is not a real deterrent to defenses using this tactic. After all, if you knock Newton out, pretty much you’ve won the game, and every game counts for a lot.

    For those reasons, I am inclined to favor much stiffer penalties including greater yardage, enhanced player ejections & suspensions, and team penalties for systemic violations (like what we saw in Thursday’s game)

    I am however extremely worried (as are many people posting here) that even good, fair officials (assuming there are such things) have a terrible track record of distinguishing between instances where the helmet-to-helmet contact is caused by a defender diving headfirst at the other player’s head versus those where the contact is incidental. This is further compounded by the widespread incompetence and bias in the NFL officiating corps.

    So I am not sure what the best solution is. Yesterday, I enthusiastically the laundry list of enhanced penalties and mostly game-time changes that MDS proposed in his opinion piece. Today I am wondering whether there should be (either instead or in addition) a separate layer of review for player safety violations on top of the existing rules.

    Maybe after the games are played, a dedicated group of officials at the league would be tasked to review every play of every game (using all available film). They would identify instances where players individually, or units collectively, committed recklessly or intentionally dangerous violations and hand out penalties (in the form of suspensions mostly) for upcoming games (or maybe parts of games).

    The NFL had better get on top of it now, because if they don’t, you will start to see teams policing each other (you take out my QB, I’m going to take out yours). I’m telling you, this is human nature for pro athletes.

  17. Red card for spearing. You’re out for the rest of this game and the next one.

    Money won’t fix it, you pay these guys too much for it to matter.

    Maybe knew about 2 team’s balls being a tiny bit under inflated, biggest crime of the century.

    Attempt to change the course of a game with illegal head shots, end a career and possibly a life, couple o’ grand should fix it.

  18. losingisnotanoption says:
    Sep 13, 2016 8:35 AM
    Why shouldn’t every play be reviewable? Yes, they should be.

    Isn’t truth the ultimate goal? Laughable, see deflategate aka Framgate.

    As usual, the question remains: what is the NFL trying to hide? Everything and anything.

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