College Football Mayhem – Flagrant Helmet-to-Helmet Shots Need to Stop Before Someone Gets Killed

I watch college football because it is rough, tough, exciting and fun. The parity in college football today means no team is safe from being upset on any game day. I do not watch college football because it is beyond vicious.

After seeing Washington’s quarterback Jake Locker take a helmet-to-helmet shot against the Oregon State Beavers Saturday (11-10-07), my emotions ran the gamut from concern to anger to outrage to action.

No penalty was even assessed for the flagrant shot. Not only should a penalty have been assessed for unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct, the offending player should have been immediately ejected.

This kind of illegal hit is not tolerated in professional football because the player is defenseless when hit. Why it is even tolerated and celebrated in college football is beyond me.

I do not care if the hit was considered inadvertent or intentional. It does not matter. That flagrant hit could have cost Jake Locker his career, it could have paralyzed him for life, or even killed him if he suffered a broken neck.

This kind of barbaric tackling is not football as much as controlled, intentional mayhem. It was not that long ago that some coaches gave bounties for these kinds of hits, especially when the star player on the opponent’s team was carried off the field on a stretcher.

Oregon State players have developed a reputation for extreme play. In this particular game, won by the Beavers 29-23, the officials appeared to have lost control of the game as more taunting, pushing and shoving resulted in 3 more Beavers and 1 Husky being kicked out of the game.

I am not consoled by the fact that the Beaver player who delivered the savage hit apparently apologized and was praying for Locker later. It might have allowed the player in question to throw off any feeling of guilt about the hit, but any amount of praying would not have helped one iota if Locker had been paralyzed or killed as a result of the hit.

These flagrant helmet-to-helmet hits have to stop. Period. Do not spend your precious time trying to convince me these hits are inadvertent. Nine out of 10 players do not even try to tackle players anymore. They throw their bodies at them, hoping to knock them over. แทงบอลได้กำไร

Tackling might be taught in spring training but it is seldom exercised on the field anymore. Why do you think we are getting scores like 74-62 and 73-68 (these are real scores from real games). Defenders are using their bodies as missiles to bring people down.

Instead of secretly rewarding players for helmet-to-helmet shots, coaches need to bench players who use the tactic to bring down players. Even if rules committees do not allow the tactic, coaches have to implement and enforce the rule to bring it to an end. Some coaches only seem to care if it is their player who is on the receiving end of a vicious helmet-to-helmet attack.

There have been enough tragic, career-ending injuries in football at all levels when playing fair without escalating the sport to mayhem with purposeful, flagrant helmet-to-helmet hits.

Please do not give me this crap about inadvertent helmet-to-helmet hits. A player can just as easily aim his head at the runner’s midsection or legs as his head if that is how he wants to tackle someone.

When is the last time you saw a running back get past the line of scrimmage in the open at his 30-yard line and then run with his head down 70 yards toward the end zone? When is the last time you saw a receiver catch the ball on his 30 and run with his head down 70 yards for a touchdown?

When you do a helmet-to-helmet hit you have to instantaneously calculate coordinates, lower your head to projectile position and launch yourself into your target. There are no accidental helmet-to-helmet hits.

Later that same night I saw on a football wrap-up program that Hawaii’s outstanding quarterback Colt Brennen was on the receiving end of a vicious helmet-to-helmet. I am sure the intention was to maim Brennen so he could not stand up straight. Just like Locker, Brennen could have become instantly paralyzed or even killed by the action.

How stupid does this look for a college sport to be potentially killing its players? The NCAA needs to take its feet off of the counter, stop counting how much money its empire is generating, and address this issue with authority. The NCAA has no problem being a major nuisance on little stuff, how about tackling the bigger issue of its players’ safety?

If the NCAA ever had to open its books as a non-profit corporation and come clean on how much money they are generating for themselves, their faces would be redder than the sea of red among Nebraska fans at a Cornhusker football game.

It almost goes without saying that I was disappointed that Washington lost its away game to Oregon State, lost its chance at a bowl game, and is now facing its 4th straight losing season.

The unnecessary, flagrant helmet-to-helmet shot on Jake Locker only added to Washington’s struggle to turn its program around.



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