It’s old news by now, you’ve heard LAS talk about it, you’ve heard 412 talk about it, now I guess you’ll get to hear my two cents on the topic. When we came across the Tennessee highlight video, I went through it like normal to check it out and a very familiar trend surfaced. High hits, pushes in the back, blatant cross-checks, and much more. What’s going on in the MCLA? To be clear, this isn’t just Tennessee, you see it EVERYWHERE, it just seems like now it is becoming more and more prevalent in games nationwide. I know refs are trying to call high hits more and what not but that doesn’t change the fact that these hits are still happening.
Why though? Are refs just calling games tighter? Are we trying to protect players more? Are players just dirtier? If so, why are they dirtier or even just more careless about their checks. Everyone knows it IS possible for people to hit properly, the other 50 penalty-free minutes of most games prove that point exactly. The thousands of hits each year in the NFL prove that point exactly: people CAN HIT properly.
As I’ve fallen more and more into my role as a Coach, I’ve noticed that I have also become more concerned with the general well-being of my players (like any Coach). I would never want to see them have to sit for a season because they were concussed from a high hit or something even worse from a dirty cross check. My roommate and best buddy from high school had his trachea almost collapse because he got cross checked in the throat. I know a lot of these are accidents, but sadly a lot of them aren’t. So where am I going with this?
I feel like to fix the problem, you have to find the root cause of it. To me, the root cause of these penalties lies with how they are coached. I know there are some players that you just can’t fix, James Harrison is proof of that. But if you coach a player to hit properly and get after them for not doing so, they become more aware of how they hit, check, what-have-you and find other ways to get the ball back, i.e. boxing out, being faster than the other guy, lifting their bottom hand while they go for a gb, hitting the brakes so he flies by you, there are so many different ways.
Maybe coaches are becoming just more lax about what goes on during games, but personally if I saw any of the guys I coach even so much as push someone in the back when they are boxed out, I’d get after them. Maybe we just reward huge hits too much with our cheers? Who knows.
Sound off in the comments, I’m curious to hear your responses and what you think. Why is this becoming more and more of an issue? How do we fix it?