In America, we like to see action. Most people watch NASCAR for the wrecks, hockey for the fights, and football for the bone shattering hits.
The problem is, those bone shattering hits are becoming less figurative and more literal.
After this past weekend in the NFL, these helmet-to-helmet hits have to stop. It seemed like there was a letter that went out to all defensive players to try and kill an offensive player this week.
While that is drastic, look at this past weekend. Joshua Cribbs (Browns), Mohamed Massaquoi (Browns), DeSean Jackson (Eagles), Todd Heap (Ravens), and Dunta Robinson (Falcons) all suffered concussions this week, that we know.
Robinson, who suffered a concussion on the hit he delivered to Jackson, Brandon Meriweather (Patriots), and James Harrison (Steelers) all deliverd some of the most brutal hits seen in the NFL in several seasons.
In each situation, the defensive player was head hunting. Only New York Jets’ safety Jim Leonhard and Robinson were given penalties for their hits.
After such a brutal week, the NFL has announced that they will start suspending players for helmet-to-helmet hits that appear intentional and deliberate in injuring an player.
James Harrison, Brandon Meriweather, and Dunta Robinson all have been fined on Wednesday by the NFL for their hits on Sunday.
The NFL has to be strong in their enforcement of their new policy. They cannot let players get away with these hits anymore. They must stand tough, much like the implementation of the Player Conduct Policy.
James Harrison helped his cause by saying that he goes out there not trying to injure anyone, just hurt them. The NFL is thanking Harrison for making it easier to fine him.
What had to get the NFL’s attention was the comments of two defensive players, who were somewhat considered dirty in their time, Tony Siragusa and Rodney Harrison.
Siragusa said on FOX’s telecast of the Falcons and Eagles that the Robinson-Jackson hit was one of the hardest he had ever witnessed. Rodney Harrison said on NBC’s Sunday Night Football postgame show that this was one of the worst weeks he has seen for devastating hits. Harrison also added that fines meant nothing to him when he played, but the threat of suspensions deterred him from making the hits.
While a different situation, the consequences of this game are remebered with the injury to Rutgers’ defensive tackle Eric LeGrand. LeGrand is paralyzed from the neck down following a tackle he made on Saturday. While he was not a trying to injure himself or another, it is certainly a reminder of the costs of the game of football.
So one wonders, will it take the death of a player, in game, to get the NFL’s attention? Or is the announcement of possible suspensions enough for the NFL to be proactive, rather than reactive, if the unthinkable occurs?