In today’s NFL, safety is becoming the highest priority. You see this in the way the league is creating, and adapting, their current rules. Whether it is the new kickoff rule, or the targeting rule, players are reacting across the league to the new set of standards which will be upheld in the upcoming regular season.
The helmet-to-helmet rule might be the one discussed the most, especially from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Earlier this offseason David DeCastro and Alejandro Villanueva went on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh and talked about how ridiculous they thought the new rule was going to be. In fact, DeCastro talked about how he is curious to see how it will be enforced, suggesting linemen might resemble sumo wrestlers more than football players.
It makes sense, but not all members of the black-and-gold feel the same way. Ramon Foster, who has suffered four diagnosed concussions during his NFL career, is a supporter of the rule.
“Every time has been a D-lineman or a linebacker head first,” Foster said, from Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Last year when we played the Patriots, 52 [linebacker Elandon Roberts], the same thing, head first. He’s a heady guy. I hate heady guys.”
“I’m not opposed, not even a little bit,” Foster said. “It’s because I know what the safety of the game is, and if I can pull my head out of the situation — meaning my helmet — then I will do that. If they’re trying to protect it, I’m not going to fight that.”
New member of the Steelers, safety Morgan Burnett, also sees the rule change as a positive for the league.
“You can tell that the league is taking control of player safety, and that’s really big for players,” Burnett said. “You don’t want to see any guy get hurt or have any effects from this game once they leave the game. So I think that’s real big and very important, to make player safety first.”
The vast majority of players are very much like DeCastro and Villanueva though. They want to see how the rule will be enforced before drawing a proverbial line in the sand of whether they love, or hate, the new rule. Ultimately, while it may take a while for players to adapt to the new rule, the league is at least making an attempt to slow down the head injuries which have become front page news with concussion data and CTE becoming more and more rampant in former players.
Do you think the NFL has to be careful with rules like these, considering how it could impact the actual game itself? Or do you feel the game needs to be made safer? Let us know in the comment section below!