With Flags on Routine Tackles, Is the NFL GoIng 'Soft?'

posted by Jim Forsyth - 

Another Sunday of NFL football...and more controversy over defensive players being flagged for unnecessary roughness against quarterbacks. 

 It's a development that even prompted Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews to complain that the NFL is 'going soft.'

But Dr. Lane Naugher, a surgeon at TSAOG Orthopaedics in San Antonio, and who deals in his office with offensive players who have been seriously injured by hits which the league has now declared to be illegal, tells News Radio 1200 WOAI the flags are part of the NFL trying to sort out rules which have led to permanent injuries and concussions.

"What they are trying to do is change a culture," he said.  "I grew up playing football and learning to hit and tackle a certain way, and now learning that it is not safe."

He says, yes, it may appear to old school fans who grew up watching 'smash mouth' football that the NFL is in fact 'going soft,' but he says the league is just learning how to deal with what we know now are very dangerous hits.

"To change the culture you have to swing the pendulum a long way very quickly, and it can be a very frustrating process," he said.

He says it is particularly important that the NFL take this controversial step, because what the league does trickles down to football players at the college, high school, and even junior high level, players who are not as hardened to take the powerful hits to the head and face which the NFL is trying to phase out.

"I think we may adjust some of these rules with time, and it may not seem quite as 'soft'," he said.  "But we are trying to change a culture from the NFL, and hoping that trickles down to the college, high school, and even younger levels."

IMAGE: GETTY

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