During the first half of Super Bowl Fifty-Two, Brandin Cooks caught a pass and as he attempted to orient himself and run up the field, Malcolm Jenkins hit him with a blind-sided head shot. Cooks left the game and did not return. Jenkins was not called for an illegal hit, and was, in fact, applauded by some fans for such a good play.
For the past years, I have read how the NFL is working to protect its players from head injuries. Protocols have been put in place. News conferences have been held to explain how the league is improving player safety. However, if you watch the head shot by Jenkins on Cooks, you will see that it was not a tackle, but a vicious, and I think, willing helmet to helmet shot.
Jenkins is a thirty-year old professional football player, and I think he knows how to tackle a ball-carrier without using his head as a weapon. Has he never heard of a roll tackle where you put your head in front of the ball-carrier, wrap your arms around his legs, and roll him to the ground? Cooks did not see Jenkins as he was turning to see and run upfield, but Jenkins saw him as a vulnerable target that he could attack head to head, at full speed. Yet, no call by any official, so that type of unnecessary violence must be legal. Since seems so because no flag was thrown, I have a suggestion for the NFL: let the team that wins the coin toss choose which weapons it wants to use- the spear, the Rete (weighted net) or the Fascina (the three-pronged spear), or the club, or any other such sanctioned weapon. The league has the “players”, the fans who thirst for such violence, the stadiums, and the media coverage. The violence is present and it is idolized by many people, so either curb it or sanction more and more.
If the NFL wants to hear its own voice, then I suggest that any player who is charged with an illegal head shot be removed from the game as long as his victim is sidelined. Thus, Jenkins should have been required to sit out the remainder of the game, just as his victim Cooks.