As the National Football League continues to emphasize player safety, they are listening to their past players, not thru voice but thru current sickness and injury history. With concussions and brain trauma related injuries on the rise, player safety is at the top of the list for those playing the game in particular to those currently suffering from years of service in the NFL. The NFL is taking special precautions to protect the players, the product, from themselves against violent acts involving direct shots delivered to the head.
Per the NFL “Game related safety presents special challenges to the league because it requires dealing with the rules in a manner that not only offers optimum player protection and prohibits gratuitous violence, but also maintains the intense action and physical contact which are part of football broad appeal.” The league understands that players are extremely talented, well-conditioned, and trained to compete at a high level year around.
The league sent a harsh message, that illegal acts of violence that jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of a player will not be tolerated. The league will continue to work with the Competition Committee to stress and enforce personal foul rules, with special emphasis on defenseless positions, including low hits on quarterbacks in the act of passing, receivers moving one direction while reaching back to make the catch, running backs whom forward progress as be stopped as in the grasp of a defender, and the returner (Punt or Kick-off) that is attempting to catch a ball. Others that will be targeted include; use of helmet and facemask, launching or leaving feet, blindside blocking, and roughing the passer.
The league is forcing the players to promote from within through interpretation of existing rules or adoptions of the new rules and regulations or legislation, and that the players on the field are responsible for carrying out the rules while policing each other as teammates, and as a league. To help all NFL players with the understanding of their responsibilities about player safety, video and illustrations of illegal roughness acts were hand delivered to the head coaches, GM’s, and Ownership.
The power granted to game day officials allows them to throw flags for unnecessary-roughness situation without hesitation. The officials can eject a player if the foul warrants it.
Discipline may be and was imposed for first offense and without any prior warning or notice. Repeat offenders can expect more severe discipline in the way of a fine and possible suspension.
As we have witnessed with the fines, over $100,000 handed out to James Harrison (Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker) for excessive contact in the way to injure or create catastrophic injury. Harrison is now the poster child for the new rules on safety moving forward. The rest of players have taken notice, because of the fines and possible suspensions, and for their own future medical history as well.