December 16, 2011 | Leave a Comment
USA Football, The official youth football development program of the NFL and NFLPA, selected its 2011 NFL All-Fundamentals Team which features four players that are repeat offenders of player safety violations. The All-Fundamentals Team represents the players who exhibit exemplary football techniques for youth players to emulate. Honorees are deemed to be the most fundamentally sound players at their respective positions. The team was selected by a five-person committee that includes former NFL head coaches Herman Edwards and Jim Mora, former NFL general manager and current USA Football chairman Carl Peterson, former player and current ESPN Analyst Merrill Hoge, and FOX analyst Charles Davis. Four players that received the honor are repeat offenders that have been fined by the league on multiple occasions for NFL player safety violations. The players with repeat violations that were selected to the All-Fundamentals Team include DT Haloti Ngata (4 violations for roughing the passer), DT Justin Smith (2 violations for roughing the passer), SS Eric Weddle (2 violations for helmet-to-helmet hits on a defenseless receiver) and CB Charles Woodson (1 violation roughing the passer, 1 violation punching an opponent). It is not my intention to criticize these players. I agree with the selections. Ngata, Weddle, Smith, and Woodson all display fundamentally sound techniques and are deserving of the honors. But what does it say about the safety rules implemented by the NFL when the players deemed to be the most fundamentally sound at their positions cannot avoid being flagged for these infractions? In his zeal to turn professional football into a non-contact sport Grand Poobah of the NFL Roger Goodell has created a set of rules that are impossible for even the most fundamentally sound defensive players to adhere to. If the players that the NFL is telling youth football programs to emulate cannot play within the guidelines of the rules then what player possibly can?