The NFL’s Competition Committee will meet this offseason to discuss the possibility of adding a targeting penalty similar to that of college football for next season, executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent announced on Wednesday.
The current rule used by the NCAA requires ejections, subject to replay review, for targeting a defenseless opponent above the shoulder and forbids players to use the crown of their helmets to tackle an opponent.
There have been many proponents of the potential rule change, but Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner isn’t one.
“It’s terrible,” Wagner said in a press conference Wednesday. “You can just see it now. You watch the college games and they kickin’ players out for clean hits because they can’t tell what’s a clean hit from certain angles. So I’d rather that rule stay in college then come up here and start messing up our game.”
Conversation regarding the rule change comes on the heels of three player suspensions this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski were each suspended one game for unnecessary roughness.
Cincinatti Bengals safety George Iloka was also suspended a single game for his illegal hit to the helmet of Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, but his suspension was reduced to a $34,464.50 fine on Wednesday.
Wagner knows that there are some adjustments that need to be made to the league’s current policy, but doesn’t think incorporating a targeting rule into the NFL is a solution.
“There has to be some changes,” Wagner said. “I feel the penalties have to be a little bit more consistent. But I feel that there’s a better way than ejecting guys for certain hits because you kind of just give them the leeway to–it’s a judgement call. What’s a hit that’s worthy of ejection?”
There are a number of challenges to the potential rule change, implementing replay review being the biggest concern moving forward.
The league’s competition committee will meet in February to determine if a rule change is in the player’s best interest next season.