In college football, players who target an opponent with a blow to the head will be ejected. Former head of NFL officiating, Mike Pereira, thinks its a good idea and can see that rule being implemented in the NFL.
“Sure, if this is successful,” Pereira said when asked on the Big Ten network if he could see the rule in the NFL.
Pereira went on to say that the NFL will be forced to change if it wants to keep football alive.
“The NFL has the same issues as college,” Pereira said. “This isn’t all about college football. The rules are about parents who don’t want to put their kids in Pop Warner football because they are scared of all coverage about concussions. So young kids are being turned away from the game. Those on the college and pro level have a responsibility to make the game safer on all levels. I have news for you: if the game dries up on the Pop Warner level, it will on every other level, too. There is no college or NFL football. It’s a trickle-up effect.”
The fines haven’t seemed to prevent players from hitting players above the head. Automatic ejections could make players more aware of what they’re doing on the field. The pressure of letting down your teammates can be motivating.
While referees let minor violations go to let the players play, officials are being instructed to be more strict with penalties, especially in the name of safety.
“It’s contrary to any other concept of officiating,” Pereira said. “We always told people to not throw the flag unless they are 110 percent sure. But in this area, over the past decade, it’s become OK to err on the side of safety. They throw the flag on impact; they throw when they think it’s close because the book tells them to do that. And the rules committee tells them to do that. They are charged with trying to protect players. They didn’t make the rules. They don’t mind doing this.”