Reporting Frank Garcia
Filed underACC Football, Bustin Loose, Carolina Panthers, Heard on WFNZ, NFL, Sports, Syndicated Local, Syndicated Sports
Bustin’ Loose: 3-20-13 NFL Lead Writer for Bleacher Report, Michael Schottey, stopped by the show to talk to the guys about the new NFL rule changes and other headlines that have emerged from the owners’ meetings in Arizona.
The big news of the day, coming out of Arizona from the owners’ meetings, was the passing of the new rule change regarding ball carriers not being allowed to lead with the crown of their helmet into defenders when outside the tackle box and also in open space. Although there seems to be a a fair amount of outrage from NFL fans, Michael thinks people need to settle down.
“When you’re being taught of how to be a running back, you’re not being taught to lead with the crown of your helmet. And the same is said for linebackers and safeties when they’re taught to tackle. If there’s a coach out there, anywhere from Pop Warner to College, that is teaching a defender, or a running back, to look at the ground as he’s going toward his target, he should be fired.”
The enforcement of this rule by the referees might be the most difficult aspect of this new rule change, so how will officials be able to make these tough decisions when so much is left to interpretation?
“I think this move was made to level the playing field a little bit for defenders. Look at the world of an offensive lineman in the league, where holding could be called on almost every play… So, honestly this is just yet another judgement call. Are there going to be bumps in the road? are there going to be rule refinements down the road? Of course. This is the NFL, and the NFL rule book has always been about putting bandaids on gaping wounds… Quite honestly, when you’re moving at the speed of these NFL players, you’re never going to get it perfect. But I think this is a good rule to level the playing field and to continue to make the game safer.”
The other side of these rule changes is the idea that the NFL might be making the changes in the name of players’ safety, but they are really instituted to cover their own hide in court. We asked Michael if he agreed with this thought.
“I think that is a little cynical, and you’ll usually see my siding on the players’ side on most issues. I’m never going to be a Roger Goodell apologist, but I think the non-cynical way of looking at this is yes, it’s going to protect the NFL, but it also protects the game. Because if, down the road, we have an even bigger rash of concussions and PTSD than we have currently, it’s going to create issues. It’s going to hurt the game itself, not just the NFL. So I think the NFL thinks this is becoming a big enough issue where they need to protect the longevity of the game. And I think this is a step in that direction, even if it’s not a perfect step.”