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Golden Nuggets: NFL without helmets?

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Saturday. June 20, 2015 edition of the Golden Nuggets, a daily compilation of 49ers links from around the web.

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Good morning everyone. Today we are a little bare on the links, but there is some interesting stuff in there. First and foremost, the Maiocco link about the John York interview on losing helmets in the NFL jumped out at me. Basically, he admitted that he didn't think it would happen any time soon, but stated that he could see a day when helmets are outlawed. He supported his position by pointing out that their efforts have lead to a significant reduction in head injuries last season. In other words, an observable change in culture.

It is a little hard to imagine a future without helmets since there is no way the NFL could pull this off from a PR perspective now. Even sports like soccer are slowly adopting head gear from some of the players. But I don't think he is totally wrong here. The biggest issue with the helmet in football is that it is used as a weapon on both sides of the ball. Defenders get a lot of flack for leading with their head, but I witnessed several instances of runners leading with their heads and not being called despite the rule implemented before last season. I do think that without helmets, players would be much more hesitant to put their head anywhere near another player on contact. But it is just way to soon for that kind of change to happen.

The buzz phrase in this scenario is definitely "culture change" and rather than eliminating helmets, this is what needs to continue. York said the NFL is already seeing a decrease in head injuries, and kids are being taught from the bottom up that leading with the head is not okay. When I was playing in high school, the coaching staff clearly told us the same thing, but I never saw them actually discipline a player for doing so. On the contrary, such a hit usually fired them and us up. And that is a large part of the issue right there. Leaders can say change is coming all they want, but until this is actually legislated from the NFL down, for long enough that future NFL players grow up in that system, it is hard for me to imagine a future without helmets. To the links.

Matt Barrows: 49ers appear to be 8-8 team again (Barrows)

York envisions NFL without helmets (Maiocco)

Niners Receivers Coach Eager for Patton to Get Opportunity (NBC)

Arik Armstead, Trent Brown, Bradley Pinion could start for San Francisco 49ers (ESPN)

49ers’ Jarryd Hayne has minor surgery in Australia (Barrows)