Last Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks faced off in a defensive battle that went into overtime and ultimately ended in a tie. Both teams had multiple opportunities to turn things around, but the defense on both teams proved too much for either offense to handle.
Two of the chances Arizona couldn’t capitalize on came as a result of the insane athleticism of Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner. In the first half, he managed to block a field goal by jumping straight over the head of the Cardinals long snapper. He made the jump again in overtime, and while he didn’t get his hands on the football, it was enough to cause the kicker to miss a routine field goal.
Now Arizona coach Bruce Arians wants the NFL to ban players from jumping over long snappers. As the rules stand now, a player cannot make contact with a long snapper while his head is down. This protects the snapper from hits he doesn’t see coming, but still allows athletic players like Wagner the opportunity to clear the line and make a play. Arians thinks the move is dangerous and wants to see it banned. Via SiriusXM NFL Radio:
“The Competition Committee went through that play and officials wanted it taken out,” Arians said. “The committee left it in, but it cannot be officiated. Whether he touches, whether it was leverage, was his foot within the framework of the defensive lineman’s feet before he jumped, all those things that go into that call, I think it’s bad for football.
“What you’re going to have to do now is start having centers raise their face up and get kicked in the face and things that are just dangerous to the players. I think it’s a dangerous play as it is and should be taken out of the game.”
So far, we haven’t seen any serious injuries happen as a result of the jump. If anything, a player defenseless in mid air is at more risk than a guy ducking beneath him, but either way it could be dangerous. Regardless of the danger, the timing of Arians comments, right after his team missed out a win as a result of the plays, will surely make most assume that he’s only calling for changes now that it hurt his team.