After the over the top physical aggression, some might even say violence that was displayed during the Bengals versus Steelers game during Monday Night Football, the NFL is strongly considering applying an automatic ejection for players targeting defenseless opponents.
Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations confirmed that serious discussions are ongoing per Kevin Seifert of ESPN.
“I think it’s something that we have to consider. We’ve seen it work. It’s worked to a degree. It’s clean. That play is a reviewable play at the collegiate level. But we think there’s been some positives, talking to some of the conferences and the officials [at the NCAA level] and also some of the student-athletes, that it is a deterrent. It’s something that we will consider. It is on our agenda.”
College football coaches and players have criticized this type of ruling, saying that it’s too rigid and at times harsh due to unavoidable contact, thus resulting in teams getting players ejected in the first half and not being able to return to the game. If players are ejected in the second half, they’ll be forced to sit out the first half of the following game.
The NFL is looking to apply this automatic ejection rule in efforts to stop players from targeting each other and limiting head hits after the actions of Steelers rookie Juju Smith-Schuster and Bengals safety George Iloka. Applying this rule will bring a huge change to the NFL, especially with the replay review portion, because under the current rule, defenseless hits are not reviewable.
“That’s why it needs to be discussed,” Vincent said, “because there is a bunch of other different ramifications that come along with that. But it is our agenda to be discussed beginning in February.”