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Jerry Rice likens helmet rule to “powder puff football”

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice takes off with a 51 yard Steve Young touchdown pass during the second quarter of their game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tampa Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 14, 1993. Rice caught 8 passes for 172 yards and four touchdowns. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)


The man who was recently voted the greatest player in NFL history is not on board with the NFL’s latest attempt to make the game safer.

Jerry Rice, who was named in an NFL Network poll as the top player ever to play the game, said on NFL Live that he has a serious problem with the owners’ decision to start penalizing ball carriers if they initiate contact with the top of the helmet outside the tackle box.

“I know the players are going to adjust and it’s all about protecting the players, but football is football,” Rice said. “Now, do you want to turn this into like a powder puff football? Because guys have to be able to protect themselves. You can’t lead with the crown of the helmet, I know that. But when you’re out in the open field, you’ve got to be able to drop your shoulders and deliver a blow.”

NFL Live host Trey Wingo then added, “And you can’t drop your shoulders without dropping your head. That’s the problem.”

Rice is joining many of the greatest offensive players of his generation, including Emmitt Smith and Eric Dickerson, in speaking out against this rule. And so we see once again that the strongest opponents of the NFL’s attempts to protect the players are the players themselves.