- Last Updated: 3:34 PM, October 19, 2010
- Posted: 2:21 AM, October 19, 2010
It is the NFL's worst nightmare, in a league of its own, far more serious than Brett Favre's personal conduct. Such a violent game, whose collisions grow more frightening year after year, as players grow bigger and stronger year after year, already haunted by fallen gladiators such as Mike Utley and Dennis Byrd, invincible one second, paralyzed the next.
And what happens tomorrow?
Death on the gridiron?
The NFL has been scared straight, finally, by the alarming rash of concussions Sunday caused by a chilling series of head-to-head hits that left players such as DeSean Jackson spaghetti-legged and one named Zack Follett motionless on his back, all of New Meadowlands Stadium hushed in prayer.
NFL Vice President Ray Anderson swiftly sending out the message yesterday that players can now be suspended rather than merely fined for dangerous helmet-to-helmet hits is better late than never.
Better safety than sorry indeed.
It is clearly time for open season on headhunters.
The NFL has been vigilant protecting its quarterbacks, the marquee faces for its brand. It is time now to protect the other 44 players -- from themselves.
Improvements in the quality of the helmets, aimed at cushioning the head, have only helped so much.
"Have they done a better job in doing so? Yes, but still, it's not indicative of the nature of the sport itself," the Giants' Kareem McKenzie said. "I mean, you're talking about the support system for the whole body -- the neck -- things of that nature. Plain and simple, it's like going out there and banging your head against a brick wall. To what extent is it safe to go ahead and do that?"
Giants coach Tom Coughlin, in the wake of Jason Pierre-Paul's helmet-to-helmet hit on Follett, says his special teamers are repeatedly told to keep their head up.
"Sometimes the head does get in the wrong position," Coughlin said. You stress it and you coach it. . . . Some of the guys who have played on our special teams units have been kind of backed up or taken off of a unit because the head has been in the wrong spot."
One of the 2010 rules changes was barring any defenseless player from being hit in the head or neck area by an opponent who launches himself (the way Dunta Robinson, who also suffered a concussion, did against Jackson) and uses his helmet, shoulder or forearm to make contact.
Only a good head start.
Then came Sunday, Bloody Sunday.
"I was watching the DeSean Jackson highlight -- when I was on the bench I saw it -- turned my head the second time because I didn't want to see it again," Kevin Boss (three concussions) said. "I think it's something that needs to be done. It's getting kinda out of hand."Follow @NYPostsports