Like many Americans I laid low yesterday and soaked in a bit of Holiday rest. I also watched one of my first NFL games this year. Despite many thinking all I do is watch Football I rarely watch an NFL game and only watch College when I can. At NWPR we are all about the High School athletes and their experience and chance to gain education through a scholarship.
There is no debate that I am a fanatic when it comes to player Safety. That began in 2009 when our own kids were suffering and I attended two funerals for kids killed on the field of battle playing the sport they loved.
Many people are lauding the NFL for spending 100 Million on Concussion / Traumatic Brain Injury research and talking a good game. BUt they were the last to the party after waiting decades to embrace the problems that were first brought forth from the High School ranks. And $100 Million seems small compared to the number of players dying and the Billions the league is earning annually.
Last night as we all watched Dallas Punter Chris Jones de-cleat and obliterate Detroit's Andre Roberts we saw a wild celebration unleashed all over the Stadium. That spilled over onto social media and the News channels with the Video below going viral. The facts are that most people and most of you celebrated openly or quietly as Jones delivered a violent and purposeful helmet to helmet shot on Roberts crumpling him to the ground. That blow had enough force to cripple or kill Roberts and was as illegal of a hit as you will ever see. I include it below for your view and make sure to watch the replay at about 36 seconds.
Now this is most certainly targeting and is a personal foul. The issue in the NFL is that unlike High School and the NCAA where this sort of blow can get you ejected from the game the NFL has left this as a violation that a player can get away with twice in a game.
This is why I say the NFL is all talk and no action. Do you think this punter would worry about delivering a cheap shot like that if he could be ejected? You better believe he would.
The fact is the NFL Officials did not even flag Roberts who to me is just another Punk looking to wreck the game. They should have flagged him 15 yards and then the League should have fined him. Instead he is Hero for the Day in Dallas. The Culture is the problem and is exactly what is killing the game and why viewership is down. People are sick and tired of this and some of them are turning the TV dial.
The Rule with Emphasis this year in the NFL reads-
We all saw it and yet many believe it was just great! It was not and I challenge any of you that believe that to check yourself. You are as big of a problem as the current situation is.
If that does not convince you consider Cam Newton being targeted not once, not twice, but 3 times by the Denver Broncos earlier this season. Each of these hits was a penalty and only 1 was flagged. The reason these defenders do this is that 1) it has the potential to knock out or maim a player who if stunned will not be able to return to the game and 2) It is illegal but there is almost no penalty for it and they all know they are not getting tossed out.
Have a look.
Read a great story on this very issue. NBC SPORTS - http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2016/09/14/why-doesnt-the-nfl-have-a-targeting-rule-like-college/
Look I love the game as much as anyone. But we are loosing control and much of the work being done at the highest levels is falling way short. Time to get serious on this one everybody because as much as the Dallas Fans, Coaches and Players, and the football community at large want to celebrate this hit the truth is that it exposed the League for still being more form over substance.
These issues and how we resolve them will decide the future of the game.