Yesterday here on GMenHQ we had the pleasure of interviewing 2 time Super Bowl Champion CB Mark Collins of the New York Football Giants. While Mark was very personable as always, he also made a point that I thought worthy of some more thought. Click Here to hear the clip
Mark’s point about allowing the defenders to handle the receivers a little bit more is valid. Most analysts have likened the middle of the field in todays NFL to a NASCAR track. They have purposely opened up the filed to create more offense and therefore they believe more excitement, but has this come at a cost? Has it actually added to what the NFL says is it’s biggest concern in player safety? Maybe the NFL could look into allowing contact of a receiver 10 yards down the field, instead of the current five. If a defender is closer, and can hand check a receiver, then defenses could play less zone coverage and the big open spaces that allow for the high speed collisions could be lessened. This is coming from a man that played 13 years in the NFL and understands the game from a players perspective.
The New York Giants won a Super Bowl after the 1990 season vs. the Buffalo Bills, and their entire defensive scheme was to punish the receivers after they caught the ball, and therefore slow them down. Not one of those receivers was hit in the head or even above the shoulders. Mark Collins played in that game and agrees that proper form tackling and teaching legal hitting has all but disappeared form the college game and now it shows in the NFL. ESPN, the league itself, and the other networks continue to tell us what we want to see….violent collisions, long pass plays, receivers running free all over the field. I would challenge anyone to go back and watch that Super Bowl where the Giants ran a two tight end or three tight end set the majority of the game, while the Bills ran a no huddle fast break offense, and tell me it’s not one of the most entertaining games of all time.
Big hits can be legal, defense can be exciting, and it will go a long way towards ensuring the safety of todays players.