There are a small number of long haired football players, such as the Steelers’ Troy Polamalu. He’s got hair that extends outside his helmet and down his back, about halfway down the numbers. If he became a ball carrier, would it be legal to tackle him by grabbing his hair?
I checked nfl.com, and it said nothing about hair. I would think it would have to be legal - otherwise it gives long haired players an advantage - either tacklers would have to avoid their back completely when tackling or risk a 15 yd personal foul penalty. Note that Troy is a defensive back, so it is certainly possible, though certainly uncommon (he had five interceptions this year), for him to become a ball carrier.
There was a phase where the Packers had a lot of dreadlocked players and this question came up a lot late last season. Seems the hair was ruled part of the uniform and it’s ok to tackle using said - that’s why you’ll see a lot of long hair on Defense and not so much on Offense. However, I’m at a loss to find a cite at the moment…
There might have been a ruling on this back in the 70’s when long hair on men was probably at its height. A player from that era that sticks in my mind is Golden Richards, a Cowboys WR who had long blonde hair hanging out the back of his helmet. He obviously risked being tackled by it a lot.
Probably not… if I had to guess, it’s for the exact reason that ** muldoonthief ** speculates about.
If players weren’t able to be tackled by their hair, then it would be the equivalent of a giant face-mask as far as penalties would be concerned. Imagine the confusion if someone grew hair down to their waist- almost ANY tackle could be classed as an “inadvertant hair grab”, and the defensive team would get penalized.
As for Randy Moss’s hair, it does reinflate to a certain extent, but I’m sure it’s all screwed up and he combs the hell out of it after the game.
Yup. It was a game broadcast by Fox (forget who they were playing) and the announcers were discussing the dreds on Mike McKenzie. Long hair is considered part of the uniform.
The thinking, IIRC, is a player can’t use long hair as an advantage in tackling penalties when the hair can so easily be grabbed. Intentionally or inadvertantly. Therefore grabbing the hair is considered the same as grabbing the shoulder pads or jersey in a tackle and perfectly legal.
And I agree that a defensive back is the least likely to worry about it.
No kidding! We had one offensive lineman on my high school team who was never penalized for holding, yet the game films always showed defensive linemen getting tossed around like dishrags when he pass blocked! The OL coach used him as a model for effective blocking.
I really can’t see a good reason for prohibiting hair tackles. Such a restriction would effectively prohibit grabs to the back or would give long-haired players an advantage, and believe me, no football coach from the South, Midwest or the Steel Belt is going to give preferential treatment to a guy with long hair.