Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2013 Secret Team Concussion Protocol Test Memos

The Ranter was anonymously sent some internal NFL memos that we would like to share with you.


September 1, 2013

To: All NFL Referees

From: NFL Injury Protocol and Player Safety Department

Re: 2013 Secret Team Concussion Protocol Test

As you are well aware, the NFL truly values the safety of its players, and in our continued efforts to ensure that all players are evaluated per NFL concussion protocols, we will be instituting a secret testing program for the 2013 season. We will be using this test to determine if teams correctly follow all procedures for a player who may have suffered an in-game concussion.

You, as an NFL referee, will have a key role in instituting this testing program. We are asking you to decline from interfering on questionable plays where player A suffers a blow to their head delivered by a player B. If no penalty is called on player B, it forces player A’s team to evaluate and determine whether player A should be removed from the game due to concussion symptoms. Unfortunately, A penalty on player B’s team would give an unfair advantage to player A’s team in determining if a concussion has occurred due an illegal hit. For the purpose of this test, we would like them to arrive at this decision on their own without outside influences such as penalties called by you, the referee.

It is imperative that you do not throw a penalty flag on player B who delivered the blow.

One team has been selected for this year’s protocol test, the Green Bay Packers. Please refrain from penalizing Green Bay’s opponents if, and when, they may hit Packers’ players’ heads in an illegal manner. We will handle any illegal hits through our player fine system.

This test will further the safety of our league and protect all our players today, and in the future.


September 25, 2013

To: All NFL Referees

From: NFL Injury Protocol and Player Safety Department

Re: 2013 Secret Season Team Concussion Protocol Test – UPDATE

We would like to provide you with an update on the ongoing Team Concussion Protocol Test. We are pleased to announce that it has been successful through the first three weeks of the season.

The information we have gathered has been incredibly valuable, and the Green Bay Packers have followed the Concussion Protocols to the letter of the rule book. In two instances, Green Bay players, Eddie Lacy and Jermichael Finely were struck in an illegal manner, but no penalty flags were thrown. This allowed the review team to monitor the actions of the Packers as they dealt with these potential concussion situations. Both players were determined to have concussions from these illegal hits, and Green Bay proceeded to adhere to the policies on player concussions.

Subsequently, in the Washington game in which Eddie Lacy was concussed, the same player who illegally hit Eddie Lacy, also illegally hit Green Bay running back, James Starks, by leading with his head. The Washington player suffered a concussion, but again, no flag was thrown for the illegal hit. This allowed us to also monitor Washington and their adherence to the concussion policies, as well.

We thank you for your continued participation in the 2013 Secret Team Concussion Protocol Test. And remember, player safety is paramount.


Interesting, no? Well, I think these memos clear up the issue as to why no penalties were called on the plays when Lacy and Finley were struck illegally. It’s all in the interest of player safety.

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