I gave this a lot of thought over the last couple of days, not only because of the comments, but because of the amount of negative press aimed at Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams for his horse-collar tackles. My first post on this matter I said I didn’t think the tackle was illegal and I criticized the 1-game suspension. Today, I am reversing my opinion.
Roy, you need to stop tackling players this way. After being reminded, I did some research on the tackle. I was discouraged with the results. I love the Dallas Cowboys. I feel I have every right to use this blog as a launching pad for my own thoughts, anger and criticism. But I also make a promise to readers that if I am way off base, I will correct myself. Just let the emotions out of it, and I will come to my senses usually.
So today, I will do that. Probably the most convincing thing I read in my research was this sentence in a great column by DMN’s Kevin Sharrington:
No one does it like Williams, which is entirely the point. Other players have used the technique, but not as frequently or with the same catastrophic results. They don’t call it the Hannibal Navies Rule, anyway. Before the NFL outlawed the horse-collar when outside the tackle box, Williams injured four players, including Terrell Owens. The gruesome snap of Musa Smith’s right tibia was so pronounced, reporters on the sideline of the Baltimore game could hear it.
I didn’t say this at the time, but I was surprised when I witnessed Williams reach for Donovan McNabb’s shoulder pads to make the tackle. When McNabb fell to the ground, I knew a flag would be thrown. It was. I respect coach Wade Phillips for supporting Williams and making the comments he did during a press conference this week. But I can no longer say that what Williams did was okay. It’s not. I don’t want to see players get injured. Williams has injured four players using this form of tackling. All four were injured, most notably Terrell Owens in 2004, the year the Eagles still made it to the Super Bowl.
The arguments some players made did make sense: The NFL does very little about the very dangerous chop blocking on the line of scrimmage; the horse-collar rule favors the offense because the area is “the back of a jersey.”
But Williams has a knack of making this technique look real bad.
As a Cowboys fan, I am not proud to say this rule is infamously named after one of our star defensive players. What is more discouraging is he keeps doing it. Even his own players are getting a little irritated with it. Both Patrick Crayton and Keith Davis, his replacement, were somewhat critical of Williams.
The Landry Hat approves of the one-game suspension and apologizes for my rash call to judgment.
Enough is enough, Williams.