OP-ED: The new tackling rule is ruining NFL football

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K-State defeats Texas Tech 45-13 on Saturday, October 4, 2014 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (Emily DeShazer | Collegian Media Group)

This opinion-editorial was written by Jacob Letourneau, a sophomore in mass communications. If you would like to write an op-ed with the Collegian, send us an email at opinion@kstatecollegian.com to get started.

When I think of football, two things come to mind: hanging with teammates and hitting people. Because of this, I think a lot of kids love the physical aspect of the game.

As the game has grown over time, the safety aspect has become a pivotal part of the game. In 2017, CNN writer Daniella Emanuel researched chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE.

110 out of 111 brains of deceased former NFL players were affected by the neurodegenerative brain disease because of repeated head trauma.

“There’s no question that there’s a problem in football,” Dr. Ann McKee, director of Boston University’s CTE center, said.

Because of this, the NFL has aggressively shifted its rules to better defend the players from head to head contact. While outsiders might see this as a legitimate solution, it has created a rift throughout the NFL.

Players have gone to social media to voice their opinions about the rule change.

Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith spoke out his complaints by tweeting “Soon everyone will get a trophy for participation.”

It’s not just current players that have an issue with the rule; former players don’t like it either.

Former running back for the Chicago Bears and New York Jets tweeted “Wow so they really passed that rule…last time I checked football was a contact sport. Calling bank now to set up my lowering the boom fund.”

With this new rule, fining has become a regular trend for any player that violates the rule. This last week Kareem Hunt, running back for the Kansas City Chiefs, was fined $26,739 for lowering his helmet during contact against the Denver Broncos. Hunt makes $36,000 per game and the fine took 74% of his salary.

After the game, Al Riveron, the senior vice president of officiating determined that “Hunt should’ve been flagged on the play.” Here is the link to the controversial play.

The new helmet rule has led players to complain about the flow of the game and how it feels different. The rule has cost players millions of dollars in the first few weeks of the season.

Being a fan, it has made the game that I have always loved a lot harder to watch. My hope is that with player and fan reactions that the NFL will re-evaluate the rule in order to keep the game something that I continue to love to watch.

Jacob Letourneau is a sophomore in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this opinion-editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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