Richard Sherman would be near the top of a list of players likely to publicly criticize the NFL’s new helmet rule, and he has now come through.
Through nearly two full weeks of preseason games, the NFL’s new helmet rule has taken center stage. Any perception that a player initiated contact with his helmet is now subject to a flag, with no regard for physics and the ability of mere humans to avoid illegal contact with moving targets. Player safety is a worthy motivation, but trying to remove contact out of football is the path that’s being carved.
Being a defensive player in today’s NFL gets more difficult every year. Hitting a quarterback is essentially forbidden at this point, and the concept of a “defenseless receiver” seems to have no regard for common sense at times.
If you were making a list of players in the league who would have something to say about the NFL’s new helmet rule, critically of course, Richard Sherman would be at or near the top of any list.
And you would be right. The 49ers’ cornerback has come through with his thoughts on Twitter.
As Sherman astutely cites, and is obvious to anyone who watches (let alone plays) football, adjusting to hit a moving target at a lower spot when said target’s head lowers at full speed is next to impossible. And that leaves out natural physical movement where helmets can be shown to have technically initiated contact, as has been seen this preseason and drawn a flag.
Rugby is just as physical as football, yet concussions and major injuries don’t seem to be as prevalent. Sherman also shows what’s labeled on YouTube as “Rugby Tackle perfect model” and correctly points out it would probably be a penalty in the NFL right now.
Using the helmet as reckless weapon can’t go unpunished. But the NFL has invited scrutiny with the broad language and enforcement of this new helmet rule, and Sherman’s Twitter rant surely speaks for the majority of players and fans.