After the recent rash of helmet to helmet hits in the NFL everyone seems to want to chime in with their solution to the problem to stop these hits. Legendary coach Mike Ditka, is no exception, offering his own outlandish opinion on the subject.
Ditka was quoted saying, "I said a long time ago if you want to change the game take the mask off the helmet," he said. "It will change the game a lot. If you want to change the game and get it back to where people aren't striking with the head and using the head as a weapon, take the mask off the helmet."
Is this solution too harsh or should the league do something more remedial like imposing ejections and fines?
Ditka is right though, it would change the game, but would it be for the better or the worse? This writer would go with the latter. Taking the helmets, and or the face-masks out of the game would be detrimental to the game of football. It would lead to a lot more injuries, and would cause the game to be played with less speed and power that NFL fans expect to see on Sundays.
Although Ditka's solution would stop the spearing hits that are associated with the recent string of controversy, it would also stop the spread of the game, and might as well be called flag football.
There is definitely a problem with the illegal hits that are happening, but Ditka's solution is far too harsh for the game and would not be beneficial to the game of football in the future. A few things could easily be done to help stop these vicious hits. First the league must start ejecting and suspending players.
If the league implemented a process where if a player is ejected due to an illegal hit, then that player automatically is suspended for the next game. Now since this would all be up to the officials, the league would need to implement an appeal process for a player who was wrongly ejected after trying to get out of the way of the offensive player, because accidents do happen.
This solution would be much better than getting rid of helmets in the game, which would destroy the game of football.
Whatever the NFL decides to do about this situation it needs to be done fast, or we will soon be seeing a rash of head and neck injuries that would put out of commission some of the best talent in the league.