The NFL, which is strongly for player safety asides from untraceable steroids, trying to push for an 18 game season, and actually forcing players who have concussions to not play, approved another step towards the wussification of the sport yesterday.
In addition to a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty, under the new rule, the launching defender can be ejected from the game if the action is judged flagrant by the officiating crew.
The league also announced plans for another safety initiative that will result in teams being fined if their players accumulate too many penalties for illegal hits.
Prohibited contact against a player in a defenseless position was further defined as “forcibly hitting the neck or head area with the helmet, facemask, forearm or shoulder regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or grasping him.”
Fact: at some point during the next NFL season, whenever it is, some team will get hurt by a questionable penalty or ejection stemming from these new changes. Then there will be controversy. Then it will be amended ad nauseam until people find something new to complain about.
The NFL is concerned enough about their image with player safety that they’re willing to risk that. At least for this year. Of course, there are certain lines that shouldn’t be crossed on a field, but the more one looks at all these new rules, the more one wonders why they can’t just be uniform and simple rather than vague and abstract.
If you can’t properly and consistently define the level at which a football hit goes from clean to dirty, then why are you trying to legislate it so much?