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The NFL’s Player Safety Video Doesn’t Do A Good Job Of Defining “Illegal” Hits
After watching the NFL’s hastily-edited video on player safety, I can confidently say that I’m more confused than ever as to what constitutes an illegal hit.
The video, which is narrated by the NFL’s Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson, spends more time talking about the importance of “playing with control” then specifically defining what an illegal hit actually is.
Watch the above clip. Anderson notes that using the “head, shoulder or forearm” to deliver the initial blow on a defenseless player will draw “significant fines.” But later on in the video, after Ray Lewis delivers a devastating hit to a defenseless receiver, he commends it by saying it’s a “great play made by a great player.”
The main difference between the two hits? The defender the first clip, Dunta Robinson, makes contact with the receiver’s head, while Lewis led with his shoulder and makes contact with the chest. But look at it again: Robinson is in the midst of lowering his shoulder. There is nothing about his motion that explicitly says to me, “I’m going to lead with my head,” yet it’s still defined as “reckless” under the new rules.
The NFL’s new safety video, which was sent to all 32 teams this week, is a headscratcher. The line between what is legal and illegal is so subjective, so thin and blurry, that if I’m a defensive player in the NFL who just watched this video, I’m more confused than ever.
[NFL Videos: Player Safety] NFL.com
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