The NFL is evolving at a rapid pace in terms of player protection. Never before has the league gone to such great links to keep its players safe. This of course all started with the raised awareness of concussion issues and now it looks like the league could expand its rules to protect players’ knees. With two nasty hits to the knees this preseason (Dustin Keller, Kevin Williams), the NFL has announced it will now begin a review process on similar hits in 2013.
“We are always looking at plays that may elevate themselves, and we do include in that category hits on defenseless players. And certainly the hits to knees to players who have not had the opportunity to protect themselves or are not looking in the direction of where the hit comes from – we have had a couple hits whereby a player was hit below (or at) the knees.”
If the league sees enough evidence of hits to the knees over the next year, we could see new rules implemented by 2014.
While I thought the hit on Williams was rather busch league, I wouldn’t be in favor of a new rule eliminating hits to the knees. If we’re just talking about defenseless players, then I can understand – but just eliminating hits to the knees (in general) would be a mistake. Knees aren’t typically a main target of defenders, but when faced with split second decisions to make plays, sometimes they have to go low.
There’s no place for cheap shots and unnecessary roughness in the game of football, but at the same time, we’re talking about one of the most violent sports in America. If defenders can’t hit players high or low, it’s going to really take away from the physicality that people love – while making things extremely difficult for smaller secondary players.
It’s been said a 1,000 times, but at this rate it’s only a matter of time before these guys are wearing flags. Football is a game all about big hits and sometimes that involves players getting hurt. That’s part of the risk players take every time they step on the gridiron.