Ed Reed was suspended by the NFL for repeat offenses of the leagues mandate on blows to the head. Some former players are taking serious umbrage with this decision by Ray Anderson, NFL Executive VP of Football Operations. Fortunately I had the opportunity to listen to an interview with Anderson on Mike & Mike this morning.
The synopsis, in my opinion, was that the League is now looking at hits to the head and neck as an aggravating offense and will take serious steps to eliminate this type of hit from the game. More striking was Mr. Anderson’s statement (paraphrased) that; we know now that hits to head are not only a problem we know now that they are life altering, he emphasized that the evidence was now clear to this.
Ray Anderson kept hammering home that “times have changed” and hits like Ronnie Lott made and that were common place years back have no place in today’s game. He also mentioned that fines are not working as they had hoped, so other measures will need to be taken, including suspensions.
I really feel that the NFL is playing good lip service to this issue, and really are taking baby-steps to change the culture of football. Now getting on to Continue reading
In last week’s preseason game between the Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh acted in a way that opened the doors yet again to the debate regarding illegal hits in the National Football League. A conversation that was fueled by contrasting opinions sparked uproar in the football community, in relation to the professional establishments themselves as well as the game’s followers, revived itself at the sight of Suh’s withholding of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton’s head in his chest, and tearing him to the ground as the quarterback’s helmet snapped off of his body. Where most defensive players would say they witnessed a play that should be applauded for its fearsome nature, others may say that Suh’s pursuit and finishing of Dalton would be clear and deserving of punishment. From my own perspective, I viewed an act that steps too close for comfort upon the line of an active play being before a defender’s eyes, or rather behind the defender’s ears. No matter what perspective you take on the situation that occurred in the preseason match-up between the Lions and Bengals, it is clear the National Football League had to take action, and did so by fining Suh twenty-thousand dollars, which has since been appealed.
How much blame can one put on the aggressiveness displayed by Suh? We all very well know that this is going to be, and quite so is, a matter of one being the product of the environment he was raised within and continues to dwell within. Since the beginning of Suh’s football career, there is no doubt that such violence was encouraged and applauded by his peers and mentors, as the ones who catered to his very needs as a developing football star were themselves accustomed to such play. Sure, this will be Suh’s third go-around with a fine delivered by the National Football League, but as a former football player myself, and as one who has been surrounded by football fanatics my entire life, I know that such athletes function upon short memories. This style of play that Suh has displayed, more specifically in his man-handling of the likes of Andy Dalton, Jay Cutler, and Jake Delhomme in the past two years, will continue to be engraved within the defensive tackle’s arsenal. Of course he’s outraged at the fine, but I do also believe that with everything you align yourself within, there will be restrictions, and in our adjusted sense of awareness in regards to the medical evidence of today, football needs to adapt to the day, rather than continue the promotion of the game of the past. As much as we want to hold on to it, there will inevitably be increased rates of fines and suspensions. Continue reading