Former Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro Dante Hall Says NFL Can't Make Game Less Dangerous

The NFL is changing rules to make the game safer, but Dante Hall questions whether that's even possible

The DA Show
October 30, 2018 - 9:45 am

USA Today Images

In an effort to increase player safety, the NFL passed a new rule this offseason: players cannot lower their head and initiate contact with their helmet. If they do, they will be penalized 15 yards – or ejected. That goes for defense, that goes for offense, that goes for special teams.

Dante Hall has no idea how this rule be enforced.

“It’s an impossible task, first of all,” the former NFL All-Pro told Damon Amendolara, who was filling in as host of The Jim Rome Show. “It’s just impossible. Before I was a receiver in the NFL or a running back in college or any of those titles, I was just a fan of the game, right? Just a fan of the game. Big hits – I remember being a teenager watching Monday Night Football when Steve Atwater laid out Christian Okoye. Those type of indelible moments are just stained in my memory and probably the reason why I wanted to play the game – was the big hit, was the guy taking a big hit and getting up. Like, ‘Wow, that guy’s tough.’ So I just think it’s impossible.”

Hall recently participated in the Kansas City Chiefs’ Fantasy Camp, which allows fans to get coached by current and former NFL players and coaches and play in a 7-on-7 flag football tournament. Proceeds benefitted the University of Kansas Health System Center for Concussion Management.

Well, guess what happened during camp? Yup, a concussion.

“She’s going in to detach the flag – make a tackle, essentially – and gets ran over,” Hall said of one of his players. “I’m talking Jerome Bettis-style ran over, trucked. She had to leave the game, I’m pretty sure she had a concussion – and this is flag football we’re talking about. It’s just an impossible task to ask these guys that’s playing a physical game, one of the most physical sports on earth, to not use your head. Your head is attached to your freaking shoulder. Like, what are you talking about? You can’t make a tackle with your shoulder, with your body, without your head at some point making contact. I just think it’s ridiculous. I understand what they’re trying to do. I just think it’s ridiculous.”

But what can the NFL do to make the game safer?

“I’m not necessarily on that side that’s saying make it safer,” Hall said. “I’m on the side that’s saying, ‘Hey, we know what the information is now. You decide if you want to play.’ I don’t want to do this, but I want to make a point by doing this because it’s the same when you look below the surface. It would be like asking a guy who signs up to go fight for his country, ‘Hey, make it safe. Let’s make it safe. I want to go over, I want to fight for my country – but I want to come back with all my limbs. I want to come back alive. I want to come back with no (PTSD). I want all of these things, but I want to fight for my country.’ No, you know when you sign up. That’s why we rave and we celebrate our soldiers because we know what they’re signing up for.

“I think football is the exact same way in that sense,” Hall continued. “Not life or death, but in the sense of, ‘Hey, here’s the information. You could potentially be paralyzed. You could potentially have symptoms and ailments that’s going to be affecting you long after your football career. It’s on you. Do you want to sign up to play this game? Because this is the info we have. This is what we know.’ I think it should just be that simple. You cannot make a dangerous sport less dangerous. You can’t.”