The NFL is violent. In the past, the violence was acceptable, even glorified. However, with a generation of former players drawing attention to the long-term effects of head injuries—and the league facing publicized law suits—player safety has become a hot topic.
The greatest area of concern surrounds concussions, and the NFL has introduced multiple measures to keep players with concussions off the field. Now, the attention is focused on helmet-to-helmet hits.
Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed was recently suspended for having four helmet-to-helmet hits over the past three years. The fourth, which came against the Pittsburgh Steelers, was far from a vicious hit and occurred in part because receiver Emmanuel Sanders lowered his head. The suspension was overturned, but the NFL's message was clear. Players must adjust their style to avoid helmet-to-helmet hits... or face consequences as severe as suspension.