The Unintended Consequences of Football’s New Safety Rules

It may be only a matter of time before defensive coaches, tired of seeing their players penalized when a ball carrier lowers his head and suffers a helmet-on-helmet collision, start exploring ways to mitigate the risk of penalty.

“The way the game is going to be called now, you have to drop your target. You are going to see people diving at legs, so you are going to see more knee and leg injuries,” Illinois State football coach Brock Spack told WJBC, a central Illinois radio station.

Spack went on to elaborate of the challenges for officials to enforce new rules being applied across the country, which call for a player to be ejected when leading with his helmet during a tackle.

“We don’t have instant replay in the (Missouri Valley Football Conference), until you go to the playoffs or unless you play a (Football Bowl Subdivision) team,” he told the station. “So you are going to ask a 50-something-year-old man with bifocals back there to try to make a decision.”

Spack did praise another rule, which bans players for leaving their feet – or launching – when they make a tackle, which is “a pretty good rule.” He noted that players who leave their feet tend to lower their head, which he said can be dangerous for the defender.

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