NFL Changes: Rules! Rules! Rules! How We Love Them

Jarrod CooperCorrespondent IOctober 23, 2010

LATROBE, PENNSYLVANIA - JULY 28: James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during training camp at St. Vincent College on July 28, 2007 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. (Photo by: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

There is a new rule in town, "don't touch any ones helmet."

It started with the QB and now, is being in forced on the rest of the team.  Everyone knows why rules are put in place: to keep the order and to protect.  The NFL has its own set of rules to control players on and off the field. 

Most players in the NFL would agree with me when I say that we don't play the game of football to hurt people. 

Every player is aware that injuries are a very big part of game.  Ask any player and he will tell you, at some point throughout his football career he's had an injury do to someone's aggression on the field.  Players accept the fact that injuries will always happen no matter what rules the NFL puts in place.

Every guy I talked to throughout the NFL this week is very disappointed about what is happening with the NFL rule changes. 

The rules of football have evolved in the last 90 years and have improved the game immensely.  But in the last 10 years, the NFL has made more rule changes than any player wants to see. 

Now, I want to clear up a couple misconceptions that are going around.  First, the NFL acts on its own when making new rules.  A lot of people think that the players have a say in it, and we do not.  Most players are just as surprised as anyone when new rules come out. 

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At the beginning of every NFL season, teams take time to meet with league officials to go over the new and old rules.  This allows the players time to soak in the new rules and adapt as much as they can before the season starts. 

One of the reasons so many players are upset with the NFL's decision to change a rule during the season is it allows no time to adapt, which leaves no room for error. 

The first time a player violates this rule, he can be suspended without pay or receive a fine so heavy he may not get paid for several weeks. 

Contrary to popular belief not every player in the NFL is a millionaire. 

There are only a select few players that get the big contracts on every team.  Most players save every penny knowing that once the season is over that money has to last him and his family until next year.  Players' salaries are divided into the 17 weeks of the season, and they will not receive more money until they make the team next year.

Anyone that has played sports knows that once you pull the trigger, there is not much you can do about it. 

Once a baseball player decides to swing his bat at a fast ball, there is nothing he can do to change that decision.  When a basketball player sets up to take a three point shot, once that ball leaves his hand it's out of his control.  You can ask any golfer if they like to hit into a sand trap, I'm sure they will tell you no.  But as soon as that golf club swings, there is nothing they can do about it.

When an offensive player runs a route the defender covers him the best he can.  As soon as a receiver goes to catch the ball any defender in the area is automatically going to do one of two things:

Go for the interception or go for the pass break up. 

If the receiver catches the ball, the defender will try to strip the ball or hit the offensive player so hard that he fumbles the ball.  

The game of football is won by points, and every player in the NFL knows that.  So you must know that in every defensive meeting the goal is to get turnovers no matter what, so your offense can get back on the field to score points.  Every defensive philosophy is to created to get the ball. 

Changing rules to protect players has never been the problem.  Not one player I talked to is mad about that. 

But changing rules that affect the outcome of a game is a problem.  Defensive players will not be able to play the game as fast and hard—the way the fans like to see it.

I don't think that this rule is the end of the world, and on Sunday, the fans probably won't even notice a change.  But it is in the mentality of the players on the field. 

Ultimately, the fans are going to be the ones that suffer because they are not going to see the best of the best. 

With this new rule, the game will slow down on the defensive side of the ball, due to players thinking twice before they make a tackle that is in compliance with league rules.

When it comes down to it, players play this game to make money to support their families, and if a player has to miss a tackle so he can keep his pay check, my friend, you're going to see a lot of missed tackles.  Many fans I have talked to about this matter told me that the game of football has gotten a little softer and that hurts to hear.

Jarrod Cooper

Eight Year Veteran

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