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John Madden doesn’t believe in the Heads Up Football program

this is a discussion within the NFL Community Forum; Via the national TV network it owns and operates, the NFL has launched a “Heads Up Across America” tour, aimed at extolling the virtues of the Heads Up Football program and, in turn, calming the fears of parents who may ...

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Old 08-05-2014, 09:50 AM   #1
 
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John Madden doesn’t believe in the Heads Up Football program

Via the national TV network it owns and operates, the NFL has launched a “Heads Up Across America” tour, aimed at extolling the virtues of the Heads Up Football program and, in turn, calming the fears of parents who may choke off the supply of future NFL players.

From Texas to Pennsylvania to Arizona (which is actually only six percent of America, but apparently they rounded up), NFL Network has looked at what youth coaches are doing to keep kids safe via the Heads Up Football program. It all went according to plan. Until the effort landed in Canton, for a roundtable discussion including Hall of Fame coach John Madden and Commissioner Roger Goodell.

With the likes of moderator Melissa Stark, Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin, and Chris Golic (wife of Mike Golic) praising the Heads Up Football coaching certification process, Madden did what Madden made his career as a broadcaster doing — he blurted out something that he believes in, genuinely and often strongly.

“[T]hey can’t learn them in a short time,” Madden said of the techniques taught to coaches in the Heads Up Football program. “I was a coach, and I put a lot of education and experience into coaching. . . . How long does it take to get a certificate?”

“An hour and a half,” Goodell said.

“And all due respect to the program, I don’t believe in it,” Madden replied. “I respect coaches, I respect what good coaches do. I know that you don’t learn to be a coach in an hour and a half.”

Goodell, who in that moment may have preferred being grilled again about Ray Rice, tried to address Madden’s concerns.

“It’s not saying you’re going to make someone a great coach,” Goodell explained. “It’s certifying them in certain techniques and giving them some understanding of some of the medical issues. Not to make them a doctor, but to know when to make sure they get medically evaluated if they’ve had an injury.”

While the actual value of the certification process, as Drew Magary of Deadspin illustrated earlier this year, is subject to debate, Madden had a broader point to make. And when Madden has a point to make, he makes it.

“I’m a firm believer that there’s no way that a six-year-old should have a helmet on and learn a tackling drill,” Madden said. “There’s no way. Or a seven-year-old or an eight-year-old. They’re not ready for it. Take the helmets off kids. . . . Start at six years old, seven years old, eight years old, nine years old. They don’t need a helmet. They can play flag football. And with flag football you can get all the techniques. Why do we have to start with a six-year-old who was just potty trained a year ago and put a helmet on him and tackle? . . . We’ll eventually get to tackling.”

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Old 08-05-2014, 10:30 AM   #2
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Re: John Madden doesn’t believe in the Heads Up Football program

Maddens going to get out his exersketch and illustrate why the idea is flawed

Probably end up drawing some parts of the male and female anatomy on the screen at the same time
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:59 AM   #3
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Re: John Madden doesn’t believe in the Heads Up Football program

As a kid I wanted to get out there and play tackle with the pads on as soon as possible. In retrospect, it could have waited until middle school.
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Old 08-05-2014, 11:21 PM   #4
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Re: John Madden doesn’t believe in the Heads Up Football program

“I’m a firm believer that there’s no way that a six-year-old should have a helmet on and learn a tackling drill,” Madden said. “There’s no way. Or a seven-year-old or an eight-year-old. They’re not ready for it. Take the helmets off kids. . . . Start at six years old, seven years old, eight years old, nine years old. They don’t need a helmet. They can play flag football. And with flag football you can get all the techniques. Why do we have to start with a six-year-old who was just potty trained a year ago and put a helmet on him and tackle? . . . We’ll eventually get to tackling.”

He does have a great point.



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Old 08-06-2014, 05:07 PM   #5
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Re: John Madden doesn’t believe in the Heads Up Football program

I agree with him. The main issue I have seen as youth coach is the tremendous variation in body control among the kids. You have some kids that age that can hardly walk in a straight line and then you have some kids that move like somebody 10 years older, that is a recipe for big hits and disaster.

The heads up program is a good thing thou. I think its great to focus on making tackling as safe as possibly. Should be a priority on every level, I mean how often do you see a good wrap-up tackle in college or the pros?

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Old 08-06-2014, 06:19 PM   #6
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Re: John Madden doesn’t believe in the Heads Up Football program

What was so poignant about his statement was he sharply rebuffed Roger Goodell after the commissioner was trying to sell the program...

There was a vacuum in the NFL world when it happened...
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