Matt Forte Throws Flag on Proposed NFL Rule Change

By Michael Collins
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

In the ongoing effort to increase player safety and cut down on traumatic head injuries and concussions, the NFL is proposing a new rule change at the league meetings that are underway in Phoenix, Arizona right now.

The new rule would impose a 15-yard penalty on a runner if he initiates contact with the crown of his helmet outside of the tackle box. Incidental contact with the crown of the helmet would not be a penalty.

As you can expect, NFL running backs (past and present) are not happy about this proposed rule, and the Chicago Bears’ Matt Forte was quick to make his feelings about the rule known worldwide via his twitter account.

So, Matt, we take it you aren’t too fond of this proposed rule?

In Forte’s defense, I think he’s absolutely right, as does NFL Hall of Fame running back Emmit Smith.

“If I’m a running back and I’m running into a linebacker, you’re telling me I have to keep my head up so he can take my chin off?” Smith said Thursday in an interview with Dallas Radio Station, 105.3 The Fan. “You’ve absolutely lost your mind.

“I disagree with the rule altogether. It doesn’t make any sense for that position. It sounds like it’s been made up by people who have never played the game of football.”

So the competition committee obviously feels like they aren’t having the success they were looking for by penalizing defenders for hitting with the crown of the helmet, so they’ll turn the tables and give an equal opportunity yellow flag to the ball carrier.

Defenders now have no idea how to properly tackle a moving target, and they want to blame the offensive player for creating these illegal hits with their own body position changes. The offense now says there is nothing they can do about how they place their shoulders and run the ball, and the league wants to blame both sides, make the game “safer” and fill the coffers all at the same time.

The sad part of this is that none of it is going to make the game of football any safer. Oh sure, you may see a temporary decline in head injuries, but in the end guys are going to hit each other–and hit each other hard–and there is nothing Roger Goodell or anyone in the league office will be able to do about it.

If the NFL really wants to take this problem seriously, perhaps they should consider not allowing equipment manufacturers to create helmets and other “protective” gear that can be used as lethal weapons. If the players didn’t feel 8-foot tall and bulletproof while wearing all this gear, they might not be as quick to lower the boom on someone using the ol’ noggin.

This new silly rule will probably be approved, and NFL fans will be treated to one more way of watering down the game and moving towards flag football. When they replace the giant coolers of Gatorade on the sidelines with vats of herbal tea, I’m moving to Ireland and taking up Rugby fandom like the rest of the savages.


Michael Collins is a Rant Sports Senior Writer, and Atlanta sports columnist. Follow him @GaSportsCraze on Twitter and here on Facebook

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