Head Check: Football fans debate fines over ‘dangerous’ tackles

Jordan Burtch/Staff Writer

Recently, the new rule of no head-to-head contact has been being enforced in the NFL more frequently than ever. Whether it be an intentional or coincidental incident, referees are cracking down on each case under the new rule.

The rule is set up to protect defenseless players from being severely injured, whether it be preventing a concussion or a spinal cord injury. If a player makes such a hit to a player’s helmet or neck area, they will undergo an immediate suspension and fine.

Senior Johnathan Beckman said he thinks the new fines are misplaced.

“I’m not in support of it. I think it is totally being blown out of proportion because, like it or not, they are making NFL players spend tens of thousands of dollars for that when sometimes it’s incidental. There is a fine line between purposely laying your helmet into a player as a weapon and accidental,” Beckman said.

“I think the rule should stay as it was before where refs could throw flags if it was blatantly obvious, but is it really necessary to throw a flag on a linebacker when the running back lowers his head and they just happen to collide helmet to helmet? Probably not.”

Beckman said one of the key considerations of playing football is the free choice of each player’s consent to play and accept the risks of that consent.

“Football is football. They make their money on the sport based on the fact that people want to watch big strong men beat on each other. Soccer players can go play their soccer. As for football, it’s a free for all. To prove a point to the NFL, the Packers and Cowboys might as well have played two-hand touch on Sunday.”

The NFL is constantly changing as far as game-play and rules, and some argue that these rules should be utilized by younger age groups too, especially so they don’t run the risk of losing the rest of a natural life over some reception attempt, but Beckman doesn’t see it as any different for high school players.

“I think that if high school football doesn’t adopt this new rule, that is great and the way it should be, but at the same time, I can understand why a ref would want to throw a flag if he saw an 18-year-old 200-pound kid leading helmet first into a 16-year-old 140-pound kid, but only if it was clearly intentional,” Beckman said.

Senior Nick Hullermann said he is more open to the safety intentions in the new rule. “It’s a good rule and probably somewhat of a necessity for the safety of the players. However, football is football and unless a player was blatantly trying to go for the helmet or the hit was exceptionally dangerous, you have to let the boys play ball,” Hullermann said.

Hullerman has mixed feelings about having high schools enforce this rule stricter than in the NFL.

“Yes because you want to learn good habits young, and no because the level of hitting is considerably different from a high school to an NFL game,” Hullerman said.

These two individuals have played enough football to know what’s crossing the line and what’s not. If the receiver wants to go up for a tough grab, he has to expect to get blown up by a defender.

He has the choice of whether he wants to go up to grab that ball or not.

Yet, from a safety standpoint, if you were the receiver, wouldn’t you want a safe trip up and a safe trip down without getting knocked out cold?

Class of 2014

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