Von Miller wants crack blocks banned, but crack block victim Micah Parsons disagrees

·3 min read

The NFL has tried to make the game of football safer over the years by banning certain types of blocks and tackles. Chop blocks, horse collar tackles and leaping kick blocks are just a few that have been banned, and Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Von Miller has identified one more that he thinks needs to go on that list: crack blocks.

A crack block is when an offensive player moves in from the edge toward the formation to deliver a blindside block on a defender. The specific play that Miller was upset about happened in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-3 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. Cowboys star linebacker Micah Parsons was doing his thing when Bucs running back Leonard Fournette came charging in at Parsons from the side, knocking him clean off his feet. Miller argued that Parsons could have been taken down with less contact.

Parsons disagrees with Miller... eventually

Not long after the game ended, Parsons was on Twitter commenting about crack blocks. Initially, when he looked at a clip of Fournette blocking him, he had an intense reaction.

Parsons' intentions here are a little murky, because it seems like Parsons hates crack blocks because the defender is being hit by someone he can't see (which is the entire point of a crack block), but then says "it's football" and ends the tweet with two cry laughing emojis.

About a half hour later, Parsons tweeted something a little clearer. He landed on "crack blocks are part of football."

Fournette caught up on Parsons' tweets much later, but he did have something to say about one of them.

When to ban, when not to ban

The tweets from Miller and Parsons (not so much from Fournette) illustrate the push-pull the NFL has to deal with when evaluating elements of the game for safety. Football is a contact sport, and players expect to be shoved and hit and manhandled during the game. But when is it too much?

Take cut blocks for example. As Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson wrote in August, teams are scared to use cut blocks in practice due to the injury risk, because cut blocks are aimed at a player's knees. Yet the NFL still allows cut blocks to be used in games, which feels like a wild contradiction.

Crack blocks are different. A crack block is a blindside hit, but they're illegal if the defender is hit in the head, the back, or below the waist. Any tackle in the NFL can be dangerous, including the crack block, but unlike the cut block, the most dangerous parts have already been outlawed.

The NFL typically does their rule changes late in the offseason, so we've got some time before any of these issues will be addressed. But whatever the NFL does — ban cut blocks, ban crack blocks, or both — you can be sure of one thing, the single absolute truth when it comes to NFL decisions: at least a portion of players and fans will be unhappy about it.

Sep 11, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) in game action during the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Cowboys pass rusher Micah Parsons was the victim of a crack block on Sunday, but he thinks they're just part of football. (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)