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Helmet-To-Helmet Hits Not Being Penalized


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This past week the Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield fell victim to a helmet-to-helmet hit. Mayfield was carrying the ball and slid forward in an attempt to avoid contact, as quarterbacks are apt to do. During this particular play, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back, Jordan Whitehead, lowered his helmet and crashed it into the helmet of Mayfield.

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The debate after this play was whether or not the quarterback was defenseless and able to be hit or not. The issue of whether or not Whitehead had made an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit did not come up until later. It’s clear from looking at the play that the two players helmets did indeed collide. And per the new rules, the player who initiates the contact should be penalized, both in the game, and monetarily.

But this did not happen to Whitehead. So this begs the question, if the NFL has new rules about helmet-to-helmet contact, why are they not enforcing them?

Perhaps the NFL has no intention of making the game safer. If you beg to differ, take a look at this play. Whitehead runs at full speed, stretches out, and launches himself head first into the side of Mayfield’s helmet. If there is a type of hit that can cause brain injuries, this is it. But no one seemed concerned by this play. The coaching staff on the Cleveland side did not complain. The TV broadcast announcers did not comment on it.

Apparently the safety of our athletes is being left to us: the American people. It seems that if we don’t care about them, no one is prepared to do so. The NFL purports to be making steps towards a safer game but the proof is in the pudding. We as fans need to demand more from the league. If not us, then who?

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