The NFL finally made a rule that makes things a little fairer for defenses, rather than always protecting offensive players. The NFL rules committee passed a rule that offensive players can no longer lead with the head, or striking a would be tackler with the crown of the helmet in the open field. It is about time the NFL made the rule go both ways as to leading with your helmet. Defensive players have cried out for a few years now asking “if they can lead with their head to get past me, why can’t I use my head to stop or tackle them?”
One player that has been vocal in his disdain for this new rule is Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte. Forte initially called the rule “ludicrous” when he first even heard of the possibility that it could pass. Forte also had this to say via his twitter account when he heard of its passing Wednesday afternoon “ last time I checked football was a contact sport,” and followed up with “Calling bank now to set up my lowering the boom fund.”
While I can understand his anger with having to readjust the way he plays the game, defensive players have been making the same kind of arguments for years. Slowly, but surely, those same defensive players are adjusting and learning how to play to make the game safer. Forte will learn as well.
I really do not understand why Forte is so upset by this rule. Is he a power back? No. Is he a physical type of running back? Yes, that he definitely is. But you can be physical without using your helmet. Take the concussion issue out of the equation now for just a minute. Leading with your head is also a pretty good way to get a bad neck or spine injury that could leave you paralyzed if hit right.
Many will argue that the NFL is becoming soft due to these rules that have been implemented recently. But the way things had been going it was only a matter of time until everyone’s worst fears were realized and a player died on the field. So Forte, is using the crown of your helmet to get through a defender worth dying for? I don’t think so.
While it is understandable where Forte’s anger is coming from, it is quite misplaced in the grand scheme of things. Players are getting bigger, stronger and faster year by year. Now you can argue that there are things these players are taking that are causing that issue, and you may very well be right. But something has to be done to better protect these players.
Matt Forte is a smart player, surrounded by smart people. He will relearn how to play and shed would be tacklers without using the crown of his helmet. There will be bumps and the occasional time when he does in fact break this rule, a couple 15 yard penalties that hurt his team will begin to change that, however. But when Forte is 55 years old and still knows his name and remembers his playing days, he will be thankful that someone saved him from himself.