Fundamentals Not Suspensions is What the NFL Needs For Player Safety | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Fundamentals Not Suspensions is What the NFL Needs For Player Safety

This week the NFL made a midweek decision to start suspending players for helmet to helmet contact. This comes after a weekend of play saw several players leave the field due to hits.

No one is questioning player safety but no one wants to talk about the big elephants in the room either. There are several things that need to be discussed that the talking heads over on the four letter sports network are not talking about.

ESPN's Collin Cowheard and Rick Reilly have been very vocal the last couple of days over the hits players took in last weekends games. Citing that the sport of football has become too violent and the NFL is doing the right thing by threatening to suspend players.

Reilly even in an article yesterday said that the violence in football would lead to people turning off the games. "What shoved boxing off the console TVs in this country was the I-can't-watch-this-anymore of it, and the wife turning away at the sight of slaughter.

Now the same thing is starting to happen in the NFL. The only difference is, the slaughter takes years to get here. It shows up later, when the retired tight end can't remember where he parked his truck or the 45-year-old receiver forgets his niece's name. It gets worse from there."

This comment is no longer in Reilly's article. Why, because Reilly's comment is wrong for a couple of reasons.

First of all boxing, took boxing off of TV's and on to pay channels and Pay Per View. People would still watch boxing if they could find it or did not have pay huge fees to see it.

Secondly, I love my wife but there is no way in the world she is going to make me turn off football because she thinks it is too violent. Trying that would lead to one of my favorite phrases "Lacey, that's a you problem and not a me problem."

Finally, let's get into the tight end who can not remember where he parked his truck. For people like Reilly they believe what they want to believe.

He thinks football is too violent because that is what he wants to believe. In the same token he believes that Muhammad Ali's problems are from Parkinson's disease and not his famed rope-a-dope strategy.

This leads me back to the studies on tight ends who cannot remember where they parked their trucks. These studies are missing some key information for me to take them seriously.

Mainly, because none of these studies have documented the possibility of other factors leading to brain damage other than playing football. Call me crazy but shouldn't we ask how much alcohol, illegal drugs, and performance enhancing drugs these athletes used.

I am not saying football did not cause some brain damage but the effects of how these men lived their lives is not being looked at either. The long term effects of drinking and drug abuse might be a major part of the equation.

One of the biggest elephants in the room is the lack of fundaments in football today. The tackling in college and pro football is terrible.

Players do not make form tackles and wrap up with their arms. They do not keep their heads up when they make tackles.

This weekend, a Rutgers player was paralyzed in a game against Army. I have seen the play in question and the player ducked his head when going to make the tackle.

Football 101 teaches players to never, ever duck their head. To always look at the ball carrier when making a tackle.

Compounding the poor tackling is offensive players who instead of being the hitter have become the hittie. They want to go to the ground as quickly as possible so they do not have to take a big hit and leave themselves open to helmet to helmet contact.

Just watch a football game this weekend and you can see the poor tackling and lack of fundamentals. If you do not believe me watch the Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware.

Ware was taken off the field last year against the San Diego Chargers and this season as well for ducking his head in the attempt to make a tackle. Instead of talking about how violent the game is, we should be talking about the lack of fundamentals.

There is nothing that truly can be done to change the game of football with the players who play it now. They have been allowed to practice poor fundamentals so long it has become habit.

Colleges can try to break the cycle with underclassmen but it might be too late for seniors. The biggest change has to be made at the high school level.

Coaches in high school have to be willing to bench players who play the wrong way until they prove they can play the right way. High school coaches also have to make sure players are wearing proper equipment.
I see way too many helmets flying off during college and pro football games. The reason for this is that players are not wearing properly sized helmets.

The NFL is right to try to make the game of football safer but they are not doing it the right way. Football has always been a violent game and will always be a violent game.

Anyone who does not like the violence in football does not have to watch. That remote control lying on the couch will change the channel.

Fix fundamentals in football or change to touch football. But do not lay the blame for hits in football solely on defensive football players.

We could just play soccer instead. But wait before you do that and check out this study on college soccer players and concussions.

Previous Comments

ID
160486
Comment

We need Hairston to make sure we (the Steelers) don't lose again this season. He was hitting those boys too hard, though. That kind of violence isn't necessary. It's got to be stopped.

Author
Walt
Date
2010-10-22T18:53:58-06:00
ID
160490
Comment

@ Walt, Then go play soccer. Football has always been a violent sport. The only thing about the game that needs to changed is the fundamentals. I am so tired of hearing juke like this guy's article. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/commentary/news/story?page=hruby/101022 By the logic these people are spewing everyone who has ever played football should be near death. Well guess what, I played as far as my God given talent would take me and I am still here. These guys seem to forget that half the guys in the broadcast booths used to play football and they are functioning just fine. Half the coaches in the NFL used to play the game. Violence is a part of football and if you do not like it Walt. Then do not watch the game. There was nothing wrong with Harrison's hits last Sunday. If you believe that then we will be watching flag football one day.

Author
Bryan Flynn
Date
2010-10-22T20:01:18-06:00
ID
160491
Comment

Soccer is for people who can't play football. Football can be played without human missiling, close-lining, or unnecessary violence. I bet you wouldn't want your own child to be hit that way even if he played in the NFL. Hairston could have tackled and stoped the guys without acting like a maniac or assasin. I'd like to see him take a couple of those types of hits himself. I'm all for the power, speed and strength it take to be good at the game. This is football not a gladiator showdown of sending people to the hospital. Our great safety Palo-mall-him hits hard all the time, but he's not trying to hurt or kill anyone as Hairston and others appeared to be trying to do. If you want the unnecessary and unmitigated violence let's get rid of the referees and judges and let them fight to death. Let's see how many players will sign up for this. The players are humans trying to feed their families and live a fruitful and mobile life, not die on the field.

Author
Walt
Date
2010-10-22T20:16:48-06:00
ID
160492
Comment

I do agree that fundamentals need to be stressed more. However, I also agree with suspending and expelling crazy and unnecessary violent nuts or goofballs. It also shows manhood to do what is right under the circumstances. A fool doesn't live long!

Author
Walt
Date
2010-10-22T20:21:29-06:00
ID
160493
Comment

@ Walt, How many players have you ever seen die on the field? None. If you do not like the game or how it is played, just do not watch. There is nothing wrong the sport except for the lack of form tackling. Yes, I would let my son play if I had one. I played, why wouldn't I let my own child play. I would make sure he played the game the right way. No one is trying to put anyone in the hospital. They are just playing a violent game that sometimes causes injuries. I remember watching a Monday Night Football game featuring the Raiders and 49ers. Running back Napoleon McCallum's leg bent the wrong way on a hit by Ken Norton Jr. No one said the game was too violent then. If you think your Steelers play to rough watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ8yOie0BY8 Besides, how can anyone who cheers Big Ben's return (because of his off the field behavior) complain about what happens on the field.

Author
Bryan Flynn
Date
2010-10-22T20:26:51-06:00
ID
160494
Comment

The Napoleon McCallum injury was nasty, as was Thiesmann's ( I still like to say of certain politicians "he's as crooked as Joe Thiesmann's leg") but those injuries were not the result of a safety or LB launching themselves head first at the opposing players head. And Bryan, Darryl Stingley didn't die but he came damned close and eventually died from complications of his quadraplegia (sp?). The NFL markets the violence to the nth degree, yet does nothing to care for the guys who have suffered countless concussions. I guarantee you Troy Aikman ain't gonna be all there in his older years. It seems like form tackling has given way to stripping the ball and "kill shots". And Walt, you'll appreciate the fact that the first NFL game I ever watched from kick to finish was the Immaculate Reception Game back in 72. I was the only kid at school rockin Franco Harris gear. Having said all that, when I was at Brinkley, Coach Shearer taught us to hit low with your shoulder pads and wrap up.

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2010-10-22T20:44:43-06:00
ID
160495
Comment

Big Ben is a lover not a killer or glorifier or practitioner of violence. He got in trouble for loving too fast and hard. He is guilty of loving before courting, cuddling, dating, buying her some shoes, some outfits, drinks and telling her he loved her. I simply don't like Hairston's hits on the guys or his attitude afterward.

Author
Walt
Date
2010-10-22T20:48:26-06:00
ID
160499
Comment

Walt, I do not see how you can defend Big Ben and complain about Harrison. Ben got away with sexually assulting a woman in a bar bathroom, while Harrison was just playing a game. I am sorry, he is not a lover but a sexual preditor. I hope you are not serious about your respect for Big Ben. If so I cannot take your comments seriously about Harrison.

Author
Bryan Flynn
Date
2010-10-23T10:23:24-06:00
ID
160503
Comment

I'm not defending Big Ben, the quarterback I'm counting on for a couple of more Super Bowl rings. I'm merely pointing out that the league investigated the situations, suspended him 4 games and neither the women nor the police followed through with any charges or prosecutions. I know you're not trying to tell me those women are as innocent as the driven snow in either situation. All jokes aside I don't believe he raped them, but I don't beieve either that he treated them with the proper respect, courtesy and countenance. Alcohol often obscures the good judgment of all parties. Bryan, I like Hairston. I'm a Steelers' fan completely. I want Hairston as well as all Steelers playing and doing a devastating job against the opponent. Based on those plays involving Hairston on those particilar plays,I believe Hairston was playing with a wreckless disregard for life, safety and sportmanship. He was in a position to tackle them without hurting them but he chose to be a gladiator or missile. We will just have to disagree on this one. You're probably right in that the correct fundamentals could have substituted. We have to play the game according to the rules. The rules got him suspended a game. Hopefully, we won't lose the game in his absence. Police work is dangerous too and we have to have rules and mete out punishment including jail and prison when the job is done knowingly and intentionally contrary to the rules and policy.

Author
Walt
Date
2010-10-23T14:42:28-06:00
ID
160514
Comment

Walt, Good points but yes your right we will have to agree to disagree on this one. Still that does not mean we can not have lively banter next time.

Author
Bryan Flynn
Date
2010-10-24T01:01:14-06:00
ID
160550
Comment

Speaking of fundamentals I expect the New York Giants to beat the cow dookie out of the Dallas Cowboys tonight. I heard a song this morning patterned after a TSOP song called Cowboys and Girls that was made some 30 years or so ago. The version made for the Cowboys says "Cowboys play like girls, shoot em up and bang bang, baby. I remember when Micheal Ervin use to play full of coke...." If you desire to hear the whole song go to the Tom Joyner Morning Show. If the Cowboys lose as I, them, Golden Eagle, Queen and ITodd expect them to tonite the TJMS will probably be playing the song tomorrow. I won't even tell Donna what the Steelers are going to do to the Saints next week. Sadly the Super Bowl Champs have already regressed back to the Aint days. Nonetheless, we got a job to do, and do it, we will.

Author
Walt
Date
2010-10-25T17:47:02-06:00
ID
160557
Comment

Everyone living near or around the New Orleans area, please do not send your wifes, girlfriends, or daughters to hotel or bars. Remember Ben Roethlisberger is coming to town. Hey Walt, Big Ben got away with theft last week in Miami. Who knows what the will get away with this week.

Author
Bryan Flynn
Date
2010-10-25T23:37:33-06:00
ID
160569
Comment

Walt....SMH!!!! I have no words and now Mr. ROmo is hurt....we just can't buy a break!!! I'm taking a trip to Dallas and first on my list is take a meeting with Jerry Jones. This has got to find an end!

Author
Queen601
Date
2010-10-26T13:00:13-06:00
ID
160573
Comment

Well my Browns were in a lot of the discussion the past two weeks, either for receiving dirty hits or beating the New Orleans Saints. I was so glad to see the Cowboys go down, because they are one of the biggest bandwagon teams in the nation. I will be glad to see those stankin Steelers, another bandwagon team, get the beat down from the national champs, because after losing to my lowly Browns - "Who dat be" Drew Brees will be looking to tee off on someone's defense! lol!!!

Author
Duan C.
Date
2010-10-26T14:21:29-06:00
ID
160574
Comment

Duan C., before I commense to replying to your post insulting MY Dallas Cowboys, please tell me what you deem a bandwagon team? Just want to be clear.

Author
Queen601
Date
2010-10-26T15:33:59-06:00
ID
160575
Comment

I've been a STEELERS' fan since the early 1970s or earlier. Most Cowboys' fan are long termers as well and quite sadistic, I might add. While they have enjoyed great success, they have also suffered through very rough times with the Steelers being the architect of some of it I'm happy to report. I have a first cousin who has been a Cowboys fan since the early 80s and he never waivers no matter what. He's often in a house with everyone hating the Cowboys but him. If the Saints whip the Steelers I'll wash dishes at T's and D's house for the rest of the season. I'll even wash their cars and play with their dogs and cats although I don't particularly care for animals beyond feeding them and letting them run wild and free. I'm just that confident and I'm hardcore, just like the Steelers who don't take prisoners either. Bryan, Roughburger didn't take any sex from those temporary girlfriends of his. Neither Steelers' players nor fans have to take ay. They all want us to have it. Who would give up a chance to drop a zero and get with a hero. Who is your team, Bryan? Have you ever declared? Scared or what? Duan if you're a Browns' fan then you certainly know Saint-like pain, and faith without works or evidence. Surely, your faith was enhance by the miracle of the Saints last year. There won't be any miracle this year. We're taking back what's rightfully ours. Queen you have my greatest sympathy. I wanted the Cowboys to lose, but I didn't want them to lose their quarterback. I wanted to see them go 1 and 15 with him at the helms. The State of Arkansas is calling for TI to return to federal prison, but the National Football League is requesting that his prison return is delayed until season end in case they need him to talk more Cowboys fans out of jumping from tall building. There is a Dallas-wide suicide watch in effect and it's spreading throughout the cracks and crevices of other places around the country. Queen I believe I can still talk the Steelers into letting you come aboard with us if you deny your love for the Cowboys publicly here on he JFP and pay a hefty fee to join up with us. Nothing good in life is free, and you ought to be glad I saved a space for you. It's like that at the Loo.

Author
Walt
Date
2010-10-26T16:50:03-06:00
ID
160580
Comment

Thanks for the laugh this early morning. A) You know better; B) NEVER EVER WILL I TURN MY BACK ON THE COWBOYS...winning or loosing - they are my team - FOREVER; no matter what other fly by night teams blasts onto the scene. I will never faint from the DALLAS COWBOYS. C) If i did wake up one morning and loose all my whole mind and made the choice to get behind another team, it would NOT be the steelers (although, I really don't dislike them - just don't really care about them); it would NOT be the Saint/Aints. Of course not the Giants or Eagles, 49ers, any of that craziness. Maybe I might be persuaded to get behind Peyton and the Colts. I like his swag. But we all know that will never happen. I have very often been the only Cowboy fan in a room and hell, even on this board. Doesn't bother me at all. I don't have two or three different teams. All Cowboy fans are lifers - do or die. If not, they are likely player fans, not team fans.

Author
Queen601
Date
2010-10-27T08:35:21-06:00
ID
160583
Comment

Duan C., before I commense to replying to your post insulting MY Dallas Cowboys, please tell me what you deem a bandwagon team? Just want to be clear. Queen to me a bandwagon team is a team that has numerous championships, in which, hanger-ons try to attach themselves to just to say they are a winner. It amazes me in Mississippi how many Cowboy and Steeler fans pop up, when I wear my Browns attire. In my office, I have hats, mugs, helmets and posters - even to the extent of Brady Quinn and Kellen Winslow were up, until they got traded. The first thing someone says, "You root for the Browns!? How do you do it? I don't know nobody who roots for them?" Now if you were born in either of those cities, had an uncle or cousin, or family friend play for either of those teams, perhaps even a favorite player you had at Jackson State, Alcorn, Valley, Ole Miss, Miss State or Southern Miss - was drafted by one of those teams, then excuse me for saying what I said. But you see so many people jump on the swing and roll, wether it was the Rams, the Packers, the Buccaneers, the Eagles, the Colts, the Patriots, the Ravens or the 49ers, last but not least - the cowboys and the steelers! But it is what it is, you root for who you root for. My wife's father roots for the Chargers, simply because a guy he played football with @ Greenwood High, got drafted by them. Me, I was born and bred in Cleveland, therefor I bark hard and loud.

Author
Duan C.
Date
2010-10-27T08:59:04-06:00
ID
160592
Comment

Okay....Duan, that's exactly what I thought you were talking about except that I've never used or heard the term "bandwagon" used to refer to a team. I have heard bandwagon "FANS". At any rate, this is MISSISSIPPI, do we have a pro team? NO. Therefore, it's highly unlikely that we will have a team that we are attached to based on it being based in our home state. So, here, we are an exception where you have all kinds of people with teams from all over. Maybe it's the team their family likes for whatever reason and they grew up on them. Maybe it's because they have ties to the team or the town. Maybe it's because they lived there once. whatever the reason, it's simply impossible for us to have a "TEAM" when we don't have a team here. I think this is why so many people have associated themeselves with the saints. Because NOLA is right around the corner and they used our city to practice...so there is a level of ownership .....to some. However, I (and I can only speak for myself) have never been a fan of any other team other than the cowboys. I lived in Atlanta and still didn't cheer for the Falcons and that was during the time when they were really hot...what's that guy's name - Anderson.... Anyway, you can't make such a generalization in this state because it doesn't fit. You can go to a sports bar on any given Sunday and it'll be a fan in there for each team playing. So what? We DO NOT HAVE A PROFESSIONAL TEAM...so does that mean that we shouldn't have any teams to support???? Ok...too far....i get excited talking about football and in particular the Cowboys. And I absolutely love to have to defend my love for them boys....LOVE IT! I understand your frustration as I spent many nights highly pissed when the Saints fans starting coming up out the wood works...I mean people that I KNEW didn't know anything about the Saints AT ALL before it became the in thing to be a Saints Fan. THEN, they had the NERVE and the AUDACITY to talk crap throughout the entire season....COMMO NOW! This from some folk I couldn't pay to even watch football the year before and certainly would not have traveled to see the Saints. LOL!!! BUt, having said that, you shouldn't jump to the conclusion that everyone here are bandwagon fans and I know that not to be true for the Cowboys. As Walt said earlier, Cowboy fans are lifelong. I really and truly haven't met any that are bandwagoners...I have met one or two who desserted us to go to the heavenly saints...but you know.....it is what it is....:-)

Author
Queen601
Date
2010-10-27T15:43:48-06:00
ID
160593
Comment

Walt, You guys will never know who I root for. I am not one of those sports writers who gush about their favorite teams or players. To me everyone and every team is fair game for praise or scorn. Give it time and I will put up a blog post for LeBron James to add to his mental notes. But yes I do have favorite teams.

Author
Bryan Flynn
Date
2010-10-27T16:11:17-06:00
ID
160594
Comment

@ Queen, "Bandwagon Team" is a term we (Browns Fans) came up with for select teams, especially in regards to the Steelers and Cowboys. "At any rate, this is MISSISSIPPI, do we have a pro team? NO. Therefore, it's highly unlikely that we will have a team that we are attached to based on it being based in our home state." Actually you do and that team is the New Orleans Saints, because all their games get precedent in our television market, they had training camp here over the years, so the Saints are Central and Southern Mississippi's NFL team. North Mississippi is fair game. But I respect the fact that you are ride or die with your said team.

Author
Duan C.
Date
2010-10-28T07:16:51-06:00
ID
160608
Comment

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! New Orleans Saints ARE NOT our team because they get precedent in our television market. As I stated in my post, I understand that they are close to us and that they have practiced here. I have no problem with folks aligning themselves with the Saints for that very reason. Still though, they are the NEW ORLEANS Saints - NOT, the Jackson Saints! Therefore, they do NOT belong to us. They are "ours" by default. Don't get me wrong though, if I were not a cowboys fan, I'm sure somewhere along the line of my life I would probably have become a Saints fan too. But, it's too late for me. I have nothing against the Saints at all, but your reasoning for throwing them to Mississippians is just simply hogwash. Until we have a professional team HERE, Mississippians still will have teams all over the country (and after that too). You're argument is that we should only pick teams where we live -- well, I counter that argument by saying we don't have one so we have to choose teams based on other reasons (like the ones I mentioned before). Not to mention that it's just crazy to say that one has to like the team where they reside...

Author
Queen601
Date
2010-10-29T09:40:09-06:00
ID
160610
Comment

Queen this is America - you should be able to run naked down State Street if you choose to. If you want to root for the cowboys that's your god given right, your own free will and accord. But it's also of my opinion to question why someone roots for a particular team? Just like Lebron James - he has the right to go and play for whomever he wants, he is a grown a** man and he can do whatever of his own free will and accord, but I still think he's a chump for dissing Cleveland the way he did. But you seem like a legit Cowboy fan, good luck to you in the future - long as you not playing the C-Browns!

Author
Duan C.
Date
2010-10-29T10:13:04-06:00
ID
160611
Comment

LOL Duan C. Don't get me started on the Lebron Shames dude. I will never be one to say the dude is without skills. Anyone, basketball fan or not, has to give the man his props for his ability to play. However, I have never been a fan of Lebron's. Simply because of his terribly big ego. And before everyone throws out that I am a ride or die Lakers fan and Kobe is the same way....let me address that. HE IS NOT! There was a time when Kobe (in his younger days) was a bit of a ball hog; made terrible decisions; was a bit heavy on his own abilities - thus considerably arrogant. However, he is NOT anymore and he never has made powder puff balls as if he was in the WWE. He has never dissed LA and he never would. Even when he was considering leaving, he still didn't dis LA. That "the decision" stuff Lebron pulled was way over the top. He prooved to be ill-advised and simply immature. Hopefully he will get that together soon, as Kobe did. However, I think he is hard-headed and it'll probably take a very hard hit for him to realize that he will one day need to apologize to America and Cleveland for being a complete jerk. His day is coming. Adding to that, I think the newest Big 3 is a bunch of hype just like the Boston Big Three - yes they got a ring in 08 but they're not repeaters, now are they? The Heat will visit the same destiny because we all know who the best team in the NBA is.....you got it.....LAKERS BABY!

Author
Queen601
Date
2010-10-29T12:23:35-06:00
ID
160616
Comment

Queen and you are a Laker too!!!!!!????? Gosh! Yes indeed! The only thing I like about the Lakers is Artest - a true blue collar baller in the paint and then can get you on the parameter too. Kobe - ahhhhhh,he aight - I got respect for him now, because he's matured and is considered an old man in the league, but the Laker's are a bandwagon team too! lol!!! But right now if I got to say who I pulled for it would be of course the Cavs, even more so - now that The Fraud dissed us, the Bulls (I lived in Chicago from the 5th grade until my sophomore year at J-State), and I am currently a big fan of Kevin Durant a.k.a The Dagger - I gave'em that nick name because of the way he finishes games. Queen is a Laker and a Cowboy, yes indeed! But you are still alright with me, I don't care what they say about you, lol!!!

Author
Duan C.
Date
2010-10-29T13:07:50-06:00
ID
160619
Comment

I am indeed....and there are no regrets. Been down for both teams for as long as i have cared about either sport, which is a good number of years. And being a lifer for both teams, I got to tell you, neither one of these teams are bandwagon teams. No body chooses to like the Lakers or the Cowboys just for the heck of it. Both of these teams are HATED thoroughly, trust me I hear it. So, if you ever had a team (both teams) that had fans who just were down with them regardless it's both of these teams. We don't have any NEW fans. Matter of fact, we've had fans who've vamped to more popular teams than Lakers and Cowboys. Like Miami and New Orleans. Nobody is jocking the Cowboys this year and there aren't many jumping on the Purple and Gold bandwagon either because they are all jocking Lebron. Now the Heat, that's where you have a bandwagon team - by your own definition, sir (and the Saints, Vikings, Eagles, etc...). So yes sir....you got me LAKERS AND COWBOYS, lifer, I am and damn proud of it!!!! Yep, yep! :-)

Author
Queen601
Date
2010-10-29T14:52:49-06:00

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