With all the emphasis on making the NFL safer for players by cutting back on head shots and hits on defenseless receivers, we tend to forget one important thing: What about the guys on the other side of the ball? Rules have developed over the years in such a way that passers and receivers are subject to less abuse, but as Jared Allen reminds us defensive players have to take a beating as well.
“Let’s not pretend they’re making it safer for everybody,” Allen told KTAR in Phoenix according to Sports Radio Interviews. “It’s safer for offensive players. I mean, a wide receiver or tight end can still motion from the outside in on a pass play and just absolutely blindside a defensive end across the formation. … We can still hit running backs pretty much any which way we want.
“So I think there’s an emphasis on — obviously there’s no more head shots, they talk about concussions. I think there’s a bigger problem because of these so-called concussion-proof helmets. Guys kind of throw caution to the wind. I’ve been rocking the old-school Riddell for a while and I just know it’s limitations, you know what I mean? So I don’t know, I mean, we’ve had a lot more head injuries, and maybe they’re just getting reported I feel like in the last few years.”
Obviously offensive players tend to have more moments of vulnerability during a game, but there are still ways in which offensive lineman can legally dive at the knees of the defense. When a guy like Hines Ward threw helmet-to-helmet shots on defensive backs, many viewed it as hard-nosed football and not dirty play. Defensive players could argue that Roger Goodell is protecting the skill players, not the entire league.
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