Atlanta Falcons strong safety Keanu Neal got a lot of criticism his rookie year for his hard hitting playing style. In fact, Neal was even criticized when there was indisputable video evidence and clearly no factual basis for the criticism. One NFL season typically won’t earn you a designation as a dirty player, and really, that’s not what’s going on with Neal.
At worst, Neal is still learning how to harness his aggressiveness. I fully understand the importance making the game safer, but I’d prefer that he not err on the side of caution. I’d like him to keep being him and keep playing his game. Unfortunately, it looks like the NFL’s competition committee has other ideas.
The Committee is also exploring ways — including considering immediate ejections or suspensions — to take dangerous hits out of our game— Troy Vincent (@TroyVincent23) March 21, 2017
I’m sorry, but this is utterly ridiculous. I can’t get behind this, unless they’re awfully specific about what would require an ejection or suspension. If the contact is incidental or accidental, that clearly wouldn’t justify an ejection. The NFL also already has the power to suspend repeat offenders, so this is their attempt to usurp additional power, and that’s something that should give you pause.
Here’s the silver lining on proposed rules. The competition committee doesn’t rule by fiat. Instead, they meet each year and propose rule changes to the owners. 24 of the 32 owners (75 percent) must vote to approve a new rule for it to take effect. I’d think owners would demand an extremely specific rule modification if ejections or suspensions are a potential consequence. Hopefully they’d see this for what it is, a power grab, and vote against the rule change.
Your thoughts, Falcoholics?