After a weekend in which we saw numerous big helmet-to-helmet hits, including one put on Ravens tight end Todd Heap, the NFL is taking immediate action to try and cut those hits out of the game.
Ray Anderson, the league's executive vice president of football operations, said that the NFL plans to announce that, effective this weekend, players will face suspensions for head shots, according to ESPN.
Ravens fans saw one of those head shots on Sunday, when Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather launched himself at Heap and landed a helmet-to-helmet hit on the tight end.
Head coach John Harbaugh said yesterday that the Ravens have been in contact with the league about a number of things from Sunday's game, and Meriweather's hit was one of them.
"There were some issues there," Harbaugh said. "The thing we try to coach our guys to do is basically hit in the strike zone and try to make an effort to do that and keep your head out of it. It's not just safety for your opponent, which it is, it's safety for yourself. When you start throwing your head in there like that, you're putting yourself at risk, but also your opponent. And it's just not good football.
"So, that's something that we try to do a good job of with our guys."
Asked whether he is in favor of the league handing out suspensions for helmet-to-helmet hits such as Meriweather's, Harbaugh gave a firm response.
"Absolutely," Harbaugh said. "I think we're all responsible to adhere to the rules, the letter of the law and the spirit of the law as much as we can, especially when it comes to injuries. I'd be disappointed if one of our guys got suspended, and I would think they would probably do something in terms of that would be a one-strike-and-out kind of a thing.
"But when you become a repeat offender, trying to hurt guys - and I'm not saying [Meriweather] is, I'm just saying generally speaking - that's something that would need to be addressed probably with suspensions. I'd be for that."
Harbaugh will apparently get his wish, and then some.
Anderson indicated that the league won't just consider suspending those with multiple "strikes" on their record, but also first-time offenders.
The league wants to cut helmet-to-helmet shots out of the game, and this is certainly a way to get that done. Threatening to suspend even those without a history of illegal hits will put players on high alert across the NFL.