There was an immediate backlash when the NFL announced they passed a rule that outlawed any player from initiating helmet to helmet contact, a rule which, by the way, the league is still working on to finalize. But that backlash didn’t come just from fans or us blahgers on the Interwebz. Criticism came from the players too, including Steelers. But perhaps David DeCastro has been the loudest against it, sort of ironic for a generally reserved guy.
Over at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Joe Starkey talked to DeCastro about the rule change. And he made his feelings very clear.
“You’re taught from a young age, the low man wins,” DeCastro told Starkey. “Get your head lower than theirs. It’s like the nature of the game. You might as well take the ball away while you’re at it. . . . We’re going to look like sumo wrestlers. Put our bellies against each other.”
DeCastro also said he can’t wait for the refs to explain the rule change in training camp and be finally able to see what exactly is and isn’t allowed with the rule change.
While the headlines circle around the big hits, a safety hitting a wide receiver over the middle, a running back lowering himself in the hole against a linebacker, these helmet-to-helmet hits happen the most often with the offensive line. Like DeCastro pointed out, it’s all about leverage, all about low man wins, so such contact is basically inevitable. How much will the league enforce it in the trenches? By the letter of their own ruling, there should be a penalty on every play. And if they don’t enforce it that heavily, they’re not following their own rule.
Bottom line. This rule, as well-intentioned as it may be, is shaping up to be a total mess in year one, just as the league went through with the changes to the catch rule that they have finally – hopefully – corrected. And you can bet come the start of training camp, DeCastro is going to be asking a lot of questions.