The NFL’s proposed ban on offensive players initiating contact with the crown of the helmet has been blasted by several prominent ball carriers, but the greatest running back of all time doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.
Hall of Famer Jim Brown told USA Today on Tuesday that the top of his head was the last thing he would use to break tackles during his playing career, denying that leading with the helmet provides a significant advantage for the runner.
“I’m going to be very honest with you: I didn’t use my head,” Brown said. “I used my forearm. And the palm of my hand. And my shoulders. And my shoulder pads. I wasn’t putting my head into too much of anything. I don’t think that sounds like a good idea to me. What is my guarantee that my head is going to be strong enough to hurt somebody else, and not hurt myself?”
Such esteemed rushers as Matt Forte, Emmitt Smith and Marshall Faulk have been extremely critical of the proposed rule change, which will be voted upon at this week’s NFL Annual Meeting, referring to it as “absurd” and “a joke.” This backlash comes as a surprise to Brown, who says he’s never known running backs to value the ability to hit with their heads.
“It’s something that came out of the clear blue sky for me,” he said. “I have no concept of anybody that I’ve ever broken bread with — and I see players all the time — talking about using their head, [while] running the football.
“I’ve seen Barry Sanders, Eric Dickerson, Marcus Allen, Franco Harris — we were all together at the Super Bowl — and no one talks about using their head.”
A final vote is expected to be made the owners on Wednesday.