So now Channing Crowder says if the NFL doesn't want him maiming guys with his helmet, take his helmet away, and James Harrison reacts to his fine for using his helmet as a weapon by saying he's mulling retirement because he can't play the game the way he wants to anymore.
And let the overreacting festivities begin.
Let the old-timers yowl about the namby-pambies running the game today (as if any of them ever got hit by Ray Lewis), and let the defensive players go off in a snit because they're not going to be allowed to intentionally maim people anymore. Give. Me. A. Break.
Look, part of me understands where the defensive guys are coming from. The rules are already tilted absurdly against them, so much so that football in the NFL -- with the increasing advent of domed stadiums -- doesn't resemble football anymore so much as Arena ball or Madden 2011. Now the NFL wants to make them think about something else out there?
I'd be 100 percent in their corner if I hadn't seen the tape of some of the hits that precipitated this. And if I didn't know that the NFL isn't legislating hitting out of the game.
It is, in fact, not even changing the rule regarding helmet-to-helmet hits. And it's pretty clear from the statements coming out of the league office that it's not going to fine or suspend players for helmet-to-helmet contact that occurs in the natural flow of the game.
But if you deliberately launch yourself helmet first at a guy, you're going to get fined and/or suspended. And you should. Because if it's allowed to continue, as players get bigger and stronger and faster, someone is going to die. And nothing will kill the NFL faster.
So the defensive guys need to see the big picture -- which is, the league is trying to protect their livelihoods, too.
This is not to say I buy the line that this is all about the health and well-being of the players, because it's not. If the NFL cared about that, it wouldn't be moving forward on an 18-game regular season, and it wouldn't work so hard to weasel out of having to pay disability for those players who have been maimed by the game. This is strictly a business decision and nothing else, and no one should be fooled into thinking otherwise.
Which doesn't make it the wrong decision. And doesn't mean Crowder, Harrison et al aren't overreacting to it.