Show of hands: Who is enjoying the NFL’s new player-safety rules?
Hello? Anyone? I know you’re out there — I can hear you cracking your knuckles.
Truth: No one likes the new rules of engagement, designed to reduce collisions on kickoffs, on helmet-to-helmet contact and on hits to the quarterback. Not the fans, though the fans don’t have much of a stake in player safety beyond the gladiator-on-gladiator mayhem that goes so well with pizza rolls and chip and dip. The players don’t seem to like them. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews hates them with the white-hot intensity of 1,000 suns.
In the Packers’ first game, Matthews was called for roughing Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The following week Matthews was flagged for roughing Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.
If we’re being honest here, we’ve all seen more contact at a 7th-grade dance.
Then last Sunday, Matthews sacked Washington quarterback Alex Smith on a hit as clean as a whistle. He got flagged again. Matthews asked the league for clarification and was sent this instructional video:
Count Dolphins’ defensive end William Hayes a big fat no. In trying to tackle Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr in a manner consistent with the new rules last Sunday, Hayes tore his ACL.
Matthews opined that the league is getting “soft.” Richard Sherman of the San Francisco 49ers termed the helmet rule “idiotic.” Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger aren’t big fans of the changes. But you’d expect that. NFL players are predisposed to competition in which they can put their breath-taking speed, strength and manly-men toughness on full display. Their whole lives they’ve been the biggest, baddest brutes on the field. They enjoy the distinction. They are aware, but largely unmoved, of game-related trauma and how it affects NFL retirees. Knees, hips, backs, shoulders and brains are concerns for another day. Which is why …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports