Call it nasty. Call it vicious. Call it downright evil. Just don’t call it dirty or illegal.
We’re living in a new era of football. An era in which protecting the bottom line means more than letting the players play the game the fans paid to see.
I’m all for insuring there is life for NFL athletes after football. For too many years the league has profited while the players have suffered. However, there is still no way around the fact that football is a game of kill or be killed.
Yesterday, Rolando McClain did damage to Darren Sproles on a punishing hit that left the diminutive scat back shook. Watch the video and then more on this after the jump.
While the fans were screaming foul the players knew it was fair. All McClain did was his job. He’s not paid to politely ask his opponent to take a knee. As a middle linebacker your job is to exterminate with extreme prejudice and that is precisely what the rookie did.
Anybody that has ever played the game knows the golden rule: When you have an opportunity to send a message you do so with the most deadly of intents.
Even if that means walking up to the very edge of the letter of the law then so be it.
It’s just that now at days anytime helmets collide and a player is left frozen on the field it seems imminent a flag will follow. But helmet-to-helmet is not a punishable offense unto itself.
Amid the boos of the San Diego crowd were quiet whispers from the league office deeming the hit perfectly legal. The only time the helmet-to-helmet law comes into affect is when a player is deemed as defenseless. Referee John Parry sums it up for the confused Charger crowd.
“He was not considered defenseless. He was considered a runner because the act of possession was complete, the minimum of three steps were taken. … So helmet-to-helmet contact is legal.”
This is just a case of physics. McClain squared up and got low (Tackling 101). Sproles got lower and the end result was the right for Darren to replace his helmet with a ball cap for the rest of the game. While there was no doubt of the vicious intent, McClain couldn’t have possibly done anything to avoid a helmet-to-helmet collision. He led with his shoulder and it just so happened that Sproles’ head got in the way. Also, take note that it was Sproles who put his head down, not McClain.
Face it Dolt fans, McClain was the train and Sproles got caught on the tracks.
It happens when you suit up and play a man’s game for a living.