New NFL policy

I have absolutely no problem with the idea of the NFL attempting to protect players from serious harm and permanent injury. I remember the outcry when helmet-spearing was banned, but that didn’t harm the sport in the least much less turn it into a girl’s game. And no Vikings fan who remembers Duane Rudd playing linebacker is going to confuse hard hits for good tackling; hitting someone hard and then celebrating the hit as the ball-carrier keeps his feet and runs past you is not what football is all about.

But, as the Vikings’ locker room has noted, there is a tremendous amount of hypocrisy in the league’s current posturing. It is ludicrous to claim that the concerns are primarily driven by player safety when chop-blocks at the knees of offensive linemen are still permitted. (Note that this was the pet cause of noted NFL softie Dr. Z; a rule requiring blockers to face what they hit above the knees was his perfectly reasonable solution.) It’s hard to argue that quarterbacks don’t require some protection when few starters manage to make it through a season anymore, but over the years I’ve noticed that it’s usually the special teams players, not the stars, who wind up with the most serious injuries.

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