NFL Releases Cautionary Video to Teams on New Hit Rules

Michael Santo's picture

In the wake of injuries from helmet-to-helmet hits, the NFL has been taking action. It's not just fined players, it's also released new rules. However, a picture is worth a thousand words, and on Thursday the NFL released a video to all 32 teams, outlining dos and donts for the teams.

The NFL video shows some fine-earning tackles from last Sunday, three of them in fact. The video makes it clear: even first-time offenders will be subject to suspensions for delivering flagrant hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players.

Heap, Jackson and Massaguoi Hits on NFL "Hit Video"

The three hits from last Sunday include the massive hit by Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson on Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson. That hit was such that both Robinson and Jackson had concussions, and Robinson was fined $50,000. The NFL said on the video, "It's bang-bang but still illegal. The receiver is defenseless and in the act of attempting to catch a pass."

Also show on the video were Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather's helmet hit on Ravens tight end Todd Heap, which was called "inexcusable." Meriweather was fined $50,000.

The final hit from last Sunday was James Harrison's hit on Browns receiver Mohamed Massaguoi that resulted in a $75,000 fine for the Steelers linebacker. Since that hit, Harrison has said that he wants to hurt people on tackles. He emphasized that hurt is not the same as injure.

Other illegal tackles shown included Kansas City rookie safety Kendrick Lewis' hit on Cleveland TE Evan Moore in Week 2; Moore received a concussion. Also, Carolina safety Sherrod Martin's hit on Giants tight end Kevin Boss in the season opener that gave Boss a concussion was shown.

In the video, NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson, who is a member of the NFL's competition committee, said "Illegal hits to the head of an opponent will not be tolerated. A player is accountable for what he hits. Illegal techniques must be removed from our game.

"We all accept that football is a physical and tough game, but players must play under control. If a player launching into an opponent misses his aiming point, he will nevertheless be responsible for what he hits.

"These hits can have severe consequences for the player delivering the hit as well as for the player taking the blow," adds Anderson, . "Using the head, forearm or shoulder to deliver the initial hit against a defenseless player will draw significant discipline."

In addition to the rash of injuries in the NFL, just last weekend in NCAA football, Eric LeGrand of Rutgers was paralyzed on a play. Anderson added, "Gentlemen, you must know that player safety is our highest priority. We have said publicly and we repeat to all of you we will not apologize for or be defensive about aggressive enforcement to protect players from illegal and potentially life-altering blows to the head and neck.

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