Darren Woodson is the leading tackler in Cowboys franchise history, but he wonders how today’s player are going to make tackles at all, after the NFL passed a new rule banning lowering the head to initiate contact with the helmet.
At an event sponsored by the Cowboys, Woodson bashed the rule (which Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and all 31 other owners supported) as unrealistic for the game of football.
“The way the rule is written right now, it’s basically saying that if any player that lowers their head – offense, defense, quarterback, it doesn’t matter who it is – if any player lowers their head and receives or dishes out contact, that player will be either fined or ejected,” Woodson said, via the Cowboys’ lifestyle website. “That’s the way it’s worded. The rule could include a running back who is going through a hole and lowers his head. There is no way you can play football like that. That’s why I think they’re going to back this rule down a little bit and the wording is going to change a little bit because you can’t play a game in the National Football League without lowering your head. If you’re running the football, or you’re making a hit as a defender, your natural reaction is to pull your head down. Maybe not pull down all the way to make contact with the top of your head, but to pull down your head to brace yourself. That’s the natural reaction.”
Woodson’s reaction has been a common one among players. Unfortunately, the NFL really hasn’t explained what this new rule entails, and so there’s really no way for anyone to know just how players are going to play football without lowering their heads. Perhaps with time we’ll see that the rule is manageable — or perhaps we’ll see that Woodson and the rule’s other critics are right.