The National Football League has fined Houston Texans linebackerfor a helmet-to-helmet blow that inficted a concussion on Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler.
Two other quarterbacks,of the Philadelphia Eagles and of the San Francisco 49ers, suffered concussions the same day.
Dobbins was not suspended for his hit, which YouTube videos showed was launched after Cutler had stopped running forward so he could pass without crossing the scrimmage line.
He failed and was penalized for passing beyond the line of scrimmage, and so did Dobbins, who was penalized, but not ejected. Cutler played a few more downs before the half ended. He didn’t return.
“I’m definitely disappointed. I didn’t know if he was going to run the ball or he was going to pass the ball. I felt like he was past the line and I just went and tried to get a clean hit on him. It didn’t work out, I guess,” he told Bloomberg.
In fact, the videos show Cutler had already passed the ball when Dobbin crushed him.
The NFL is facing a lawsuit from players over permitting hits that would be more appropriate in a gladiator arena.
The league is defending the way it handles such hits by saying players, just like soldiers, hide the extent of their injuries. They don’t want to pulled from important games, letting down their teammates, and possibly losing their jobs.
Sporting News said 56 percent of the players it polled would hide their injuries if possible.
This weekend will be a big test. Will Cutler, Smith and Vick play? If they do they could risk “second-impact syndrome,” which means a player could die if the brain swelling has not gone down enough.
And Dobbin's coach defended him on the Ultimate Texans Website: “When did he get a concussion?” Wade Phillips said. “You can’t say he got it (on Dobbins’ blow) for sure. When (the quarterback) is throwing the ball, you have to be careful. You can’t determine if he’s one yard or two yards across the line of scrimmage (Cutler was ruled to have crossed the line, which negated Dobbins’ roughness penalty). I’m not saying the guy shouldn’t be fined. I’m just saying I don’t understand the fine system." http://blog.chron.com/ultimatetexans/201
NFL Commissionersounded like when he told an audience at Harvard on Thursday that the sport will evolve and get safer. How? He didn’t say how.
The League needs to ask itself this question: do viewers pay to watch games to see the Cutlers, Elways, Mannings, Montanas, Favres, or to see some player whose goal is to knock the top attractions from the game, bounty or not?
It may be time to look at helmets. Have they become weapons. They don’t use them in rugby.
It seems only a matter of time until a hit like the one dealt Cutler will result in benches emptying and a fight ensuing, such as already occurs in the National Hockey League.