By: Alex Kamel
The NFL is a different game than it was 5 years ago. The recent head trauma studies in the NFL has gained nationwide media attention and is now the leading concern for the future of the game. Roger Goddell and the NFL have done what they must by making the game safer with rules that disallow blows to the head, whether it is moving kickoffs to the 35-yard line to encourage more touchbacks or hitting a defenseless receiver. It is great to see that the NFL cares about making the game safer for their players, but after this year’s newest rule change, you have to wonder: Are these rule changes taking away from the sport we know and love?
The newest rule that has been implemented is guaranteed to change the game. “It is a 15-yard penalty if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.” When the rule was announced to the public, players were more confused than anything about how they would change their style of play to accommodate the new rule. Washington corner back, Josh Norman, gave his opinion and said, “I don’t know how you’re going to play the game.”
Retired star corner back Asante Samuel also had something to say about the newest change to the game.
This season is setting up to be one of the most controversial yet. The NFL has also hired six new refs this season. The combination of these two factors will lead to a number of close games being decided by this new rule change and it will cause even more headache for the NFL (no pun intended).
Although all of these factors will change the game, there is no doubt that the NFL needed to be more careful with head collisions. Even though the game needed to change, I can’t help but think about my favorite plays from legends like Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, and Patrick Lewis. These players prided themselves on their hard hits to any offensive player who dared to come near them.
This was the kind of hit long-time NFL fans knew and loved:
The game is changing. The old NFL was all about power and grit, but the new NFL will be more about elusiveness, finesse, and fundamentals. We’ll have to wait and see what true effect this rule change will have on the season and judge for ourselves if it will be the one that changes the game forever.
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