Jim Brown: NFL 'way behind' NASCAR on safety

Monday June 10th, 2013

Jim Brown said the NFL needs to catch up with NASCAR in terms of player safety. (Joe Murphy/Getty Images) Jim Brown said the NFL needs to catch up with NASCAR in terms of player safety. (Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

While attending a Sprint Cup race in Pennsylvania on Sunday, NFL legend Jim Brown urged the league to take a page from NASCAR's lessons on safety.

"We are way behind," Brown told ESPN.com's Terry Blount. "NASCAR stepped up their safety concepts, and I think the drivers feel NASCAR is doing everything that can be done.

"So we are a little behind NASCAR in that respect. Someone in NASCAR realized there were certain things that could be done to make it safer. The same thing has to happen in football. It's two different sports, but you want to make sure it's as safe as you can make it."

NASCAR has taken steps to address driver safety in the years after Dale Earnhardt was killed in the 2001 Daytona 500. It has installed safer walls at tracks, forced drivers to wear head and neck restraints, and redesigned cars to make them safe in case of crashes.

Brown, a former running back who many consider to be the best to ever play in the league, said that only now is the NFL starting to make major changes of its own.

"Part of that was forced on them because of the concussion lawsuits, but I think when we come out of this we'll have a much safer game without taking away from the impact of the game," Brown told Blount.
Interestingly, though, Brown is not a fan of the so-called "crown of the helmet rule," which will disproportionately affect running backs. The rule will penalize a player 15 yards for initiating contact on another with the crown of his helmet. Brown suggested that the rule was well-intended but suggested it was made by people who don't understand the game of football since they have not played.

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