Bobby Wagner rips NFL for discussion of NCAA targeting rules

Dec 15, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) celebrates after stopping the Los Angeles Rams on a fourth down play at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks won 24-3. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

As calls for player safety continue to mount with no sign of slowing at every level of the game, the NFL is mulling implementing a “targeting” rule, similar to the collegiate one that routinely leaves players, coaches and fans alike aghast every Saturday. Count Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner among those who would rather the NFL avoid adding that type of regulation to its game.

“It’s terrible,” the Seahawks defender said of the league potentially adopting targeting rules, per Curtis Crabtree of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. “You can just see it now, you watch the college games and they kicking players out for clean hits because they can’t tell what is a clean hit from certain angles. I would rather that rule stay in the colleges then come up here and start messing up our game.”

In the wake of a week of play marred by several dangerous head-to-head hits, NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent announced on Wednesday that the league is considering taking further action to protect its players.

The NCAA’s targeting rules automatically eject a player whose illegal hit is confirmed by post-play video review. Intent is not taken under consideration by officials when deciding whether or not to uphold a targeting penalty.

“I just think there is a better way than bringing that rule into [the league],” Wagner said. “I would just hate to see rule come into the pros because it makes me not want to watch the college game because I know at any second, a guy could be kicked out for a hit and I don’t know how it is, but they possibly be suspended for half of the game or something like that. Nobody wants to see that.”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. JoeB

    Dec 7, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Adding a neoprene cover to helmets and shoulder pads seem a logical safety option to employ. The outside covers to helmets could be thicker in places where contact is highest with both ground and opposing players. It’s a start to long-term solutions. You can’t take impact out of the game, so find ways to minimize the physics that reduces concussions.

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