Is football getting too rough? I don’t know about that, but I do think a few individuals are getting a little too competitive.

This past weekend, five players suffered major collisions which resulted in motionless athletes on the ground. Cleveland’s Josh Cribbs was one of them, and those of us in the marketing office at Kent State had a minor panic attack as “Josh Cribbs Day” draws closer. His own college teammate, James Harrison knocked him out. Harrison, later in the game, also sent Mohamad Massaquoi to the sidelines with another hit. Usually when the Browns and Steelers play, it’s very physical, but Sunday was a little more so.

Steelers' James Harrison hits Cleveland's Mohamad Massaquoi

Steelers' James Harrison hits Cleveland's Mohamad Massaquoi

According to ESPN, Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson needed two people to help him leave the field after Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson leveled him with a devastating hit that gave both players a concussion. Jackson’s concussion was characterized as “severe.”

Also, Detroit linebacker Zack Follet was later hospitalized after a helmet-to-helmet collision with the Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul during a fourth-quarter kickoff return. Doctors later reported Follett had movement in all his extremities.

And Todd Heap’s mouth guard came flying out after New England’s Brandon Meriweather smashed into him. Heap returned to the game later stating he didn’t have a concussion… but with these hard hits, you just never know what can happen. Helmets or no helmets, players can suffer extreme life-threatening injuries when taking hits like these.

So here’s the apparent dilemma: should the NFL fine players or suspend them for questionable plays?

My answer: yes.

First of all, I’m glad the NFL is taking this seriously. I hope they plan to focus more on this restriction than other frivolous tasks (like banning military flags on game day). This is good PR for the NFL. Holding players accountable and keeping the game clean and as safe as can be should be priority number one. Aggression and intensity may elicit sellouts, but people won’t want to come see games if their favorite players are out due to head injuries.

Here’s the problem: athletes make more money than they know what to do with. If the NFL thinks they’re going to put an end to unnecessary above-the-shoulder hits by fining players a few grand, they’ve lost their minds.

In another ESPN article, Rodney Harrison stated that he was not threatened when he was fined ten grand or even fifteen grand, but the message hit home when he was suspended and was forced to spend time away from his teammates.

James Harrison, on the other hand, stated that he intends to hurt his opponents, but not injure them.

I’m no football player, but if I weighed more than 200 pounds, I’d have a hard time being able to distinguish between simply “hurting” someone, and “injuring” them. This would require being able to differentiate between so many different variables in mere seconds.

Helmet-to-helmet hits video.

I understand the game is rough. I’m the first to cheer for a player who issues a massive hit to another. But keeping it below the shoulders doesn’t seem like a ridiculous suggestion. The health of athletes should be of top concern and I’m glad the NFL is taking a strong stance on this. I hope they keep up with it, and suspend players for these helmet-to-helmet collisions.

Before someone loses their life.

What do you think? Sound off here: NFL Poll

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