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Three-time Super Bowl champion Willie McGinest Supports NFL's New Helmet Rule

Three-time Super Bowl champion Willie McGinest fully supports the NFL's new helmet rule and believes it will make the game safer

November 01, 2018 - 6:00 pm

The NFL’s new helmet rule hasn’t exactly been popular with players and fans, but three-time Super Bowl champion Willie McGinest is all for it.

“When you slow down a lot of these plays, they’re not clean because a lot of players are in the wrong position to start with before contact is actually initiated,” McGinest told Zach Gelb. “When you look at this from a broad player view, this is being implemented to protect the runner and the guy that’s trying to tackle the runner – and the position that some of these players are putting themselves in is definitely not safe at all. It could result in severe head injury. It could result in a Ryan Shazier incident or something of that nature. 

“Anytime your head is down and I can see the crown of your helmet and you can’t see what you’re hitting and your head is not up, that is not good,” McGinest continued. “It is not right. And it’s hard to break habits from men that have been doing things for over 15 years a certain way and now they get to the NFL and you try to correct it. The technique has to change at all levels, the verbiage has to change, and for the safety of the game as a player, this has to change and they have to understand this is for their safety.”

Critics, however, claim that this rule is fundamentally altering – and perhaps ruining – the game of football.

McGinest disagrees. 

“They are not trying to change the game of football,” he said. “They are not trying to take out the physical aspect of the game of football. They’re trying to (prevent) players (from) hitting a target with their head down – putting their neck, spine and everything else in jeopardy.

McGinest pointed out that this rule change has resulted in just 1.5 flags per game through 33 preseason games.

“It’s not as overwhelming as people think it is,” he said. “It’s the new shiny rule, everybody’s talking about it, and everybody has to adapt to it, including the referees. No matter what call they make – whether it’s holding, pass interference, is it a catch or no catch – there’s going to be some times they miss it, and there’s going to be some times they make the right call.”

McGinest added that that there’s “way more good” than bad with this new rule.

“Anytime you talk about protecting players and their safety and taking out the crazy collisions that happen that could put their future and their lives in danger, yeah, I’m all for that,” he said. “Because I want to preserve the game. I like the game of football. I want to continue to get young kids out there to play the game of football and learn the proper way to play the game of football. All the young kids, whether it’s high school or college, they want to emulate the pros. If we’re doing it the right way, hopefully . . . the lower levels (will) start doing it the right way. I’m all for it.”