Recently, there has been talk about changing policies regarding “violent” hits in football, but what can be defined as a violent hit? Concussion? Paralysis? Broken bones? Mark Maske from The Washington Post writes, “The NFL’s rules prohibit hits to the head of a player in a defenseless position, including a quarterback delivering a pass or a receiver trying to make a catch. The league first barred helmet-to-helmet hits on a defenseless player, then last offseason extended the protection given to a vulnerable player and prohibited hits to the head delivered with the shoulder or forearm. A helmet-to-helmet hit on a ball carrier is legal under NFL rules.” It is a professional football athlete’s job and obligation to play the game the best they can. Player safety is extremely important, but is the crackdown on policy, astronomical fines, and singling players out the right answer to this problem? Is it all just a risk-factor? Several Juniata students give their opinion on this recent crackdown and whether or not the NFL is, in fact, going soft.
Thomas Eck ’12, Columbia, Pa.:
I think the NFL has the right interests, the interests of player safety, in mind. However they are going about implementing the rules the wrong way. They need to address it more specifically, not rush to the wrong judgment.
Jason Greenberg ’12, Redding, Conn.:
The NFL is a violent league. The players get compensated very well for the risks incurred. Although precautions with equipment used should be a priority, alterations to the style of play that makes the NFL intriguing should be considered detrimental to the sport.
Andy Wolfe ’12, Carlisle, Pa.:
The recent tackles where defensive players have been leading with their helmets are unsafe not only the ball carrier but also to the defensive player. Restrictions should be put in place to protect the player’s careers and also their health in the future.
Tyler Sasala ’11, Homer City, Pa.:
In my opinion, I think it’s a little ridiculous to the extent they have been taking it to. Granted you have to protect players but when you play football, no matter what level, when you put the pads on and button your chin strap, you know the risk that is involved. Football is a violent sport and the players in the NFL, the ones giving the hits and receiving them are the best in the world at what they do. So let them do it. The game is so fast in the NFL. The players are making split second decisions at full speed; they shouldn’t be punished to the level they are for doing their jobs.
Jake Hartberger ’12, Temple, Pa.:
I feel that the recent changes in violent hits are way out of line. Football is football, this isn’t croquet. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
~Mary Munion ‘12, Juniata Online Journalist