At the NFL Owners Meeting this week, the owners have approved four new rules, designed to protect defenseless players from the hard hits many label as cheap shots, thereby hoping to lessen the increasing number of head injuries in the league.
One of the more obvious ones is attributed to the type of crack-back blocks that Pittsburgh Steelers' wide receiver, Hines Ward, is widely known for. Turning back and cleaning the clock of a defensive player who is intent on making the tackle gave Ward the reputation as a punishing blocker, rare for a wideout, but some people just saw it as a cheap shot to a blind-sided opponent's head. Ward has nailed Ravens safety, Ed Reed and Bart Scott in recent years, and broke the jaw of Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers on a similar hit. It is also the same sort of hit that Steelers rookie WR Limas Sweed put on Ravens CB Corey Ivy last year, probably the only notable thing Sweed did the entire season, other than dropping a wide open pass that surely would have resulted in a TD against Baltimore.
Hopefully, this will indeed decrease the number of vicious head shots that have put players out of action due to concussions and have also led to post-playing days' problems for the aging ex-ballplayers.