From the Milwaukeechannel.com sports section, NOT written by an Eagles fan. ========================================================== :jints: Line Of Scrimmage: Week 16 - NFL Should Ban "Horsecollar" Tackles POSTED: 7:07 pm CST December 22, 2004 By Tony Moss, NFL Editor Philadelphia, PA -- *** Line of Scrimmage: Week 16 - NFL Should Ban "Horsecollar" Tackles *** Whether you like Terrell Owens or despise him, when word came down Monday that Owens would likely miss the rest of the season due to injuries suffered in the previous day's win over the Cowboys, you had to feel a touch of disappointment. There are many, including a wealth of folks in San Francisco, Dallas and Baltimore, who would enjoy seeing Owens fall flat on his face on the big stage. But that means dropping a critical pass to lose the game, not breaking a fibula and spraining an ankle to jeopardize the immediate future of his team. I am paid to be an objective observer of the league, but even I was sick to my stomach as I heard Philadelphia trainer Rick Burkholder break the solemn news. No true fan wants to see one of the league's most electrifying players wiped from the lineup by something like this. Then I flashed back to Week 11, when the same player that tackled Owens, namely Cowboys safety Roy Williams, applied the same "horse-collar" technique in bringing down Ravens running back Musa Smith. Smith's day ended with a compound fracture of his right tibia, a positively gruesome injury for both the player and anyone unlucky enough to have witnessed it. Williams has now been responsible for as many broken bones as interceptions this season, and while no one is accusing him of intending to inflict injury, the thoroughly unlikable Williams wasn't NOT trying to inflict injury either. Know what I'm saying? Whether necessary or not, Williams gets a pass for the bone-snappings because both hits were technically legal. But should they have been? Bringing a player down from behind by the neck or shoulders obviously places a great deal of force on the ball carrier's legs. And because the hit is generally applied from behind or the blind side, the player being tackled is unable to prepare to be dropped as he would with a more conventional tackle. The risk of injury with a hit of this type is great, and a league that preaches safety for its players needs to take notice. The NFL limits face masks, blocks in the back, crackback blocks, and chop blocks due to the risk of injury, and also penalizes players for late hits and tackles out of bounds. The league fines players who make helmet-to-helmet contact or throw forearms, like Jacksonville's Donovin Darius did to Green Bay's Robert Ferguson last week. Darius was fined $75,000 for his hit. Is the horsecollar tackle more dangerous than a forearm? Maybe you should ask Owens, who will be hobbling around on crutches while Ferguson recovers from his sprained neck to suit up for the playoffs. Enforcing a mandate against this type of tackle would require some deliberation by the league. The tackling of a ball carrier from behind is as common as the man in motion, and pulling a player down by the jersey is not a dirty or dangerous hit in and of itself. A period of adjustment would be required so that players and officials could learn the subtle differences between what is acceptable and what is dangerous. But if the league doesn't do something, it is going to watch as more standout players like Owens suffer a premature end to their seasons, or worse, their careers.