Steelers safety Mike Mitchell clearly does not want to see the NFL introduce more rules to affect how the game is played.
The NFL announced on Wednesday that it is considering introducing a targeting rule that would require mandatory ejections for players, and that seemed to be the tipping point for Mitchell.
The Steelers safety spoke to reporters in the locker room on Wednesday, and went off on an epic rant which included his thoughts about the physical nature of the game, ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and more.
“At the end of the day this is football,” Mitchell said, in a video produced by Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “You wanna see flag football, then let’s take our pads off. That would make it easier for me. Because now I don’t gotta wear heavy s—. But give us flags for me to pull off, because that way I know what we’re playing. I signed up to play full-speed, contact football, and we’re not doing that. I feel like I gotta ask a guy, ‘Hey, are you ready for me to hit you right now?’ before I hit you.”
Mitchell also called out Hasselbeck for questioning his style of play.
“And at first you’re taking our money, but now I got a–holes like Matt Hasselbeck calling me a dirty player and trying my character and we’ve never met before,” he said. “I donate more money to Cincinnati underprivileged kids than probably people on the Bengals.”
The Steelers safety then addressed how he felt about Goodell, specifically how he believes the commissioner is inconsistent in his decision making process.
“We got to get better leadership as who’s running the league because obviously everybody from fans to owners, players are all disappointed in Roger Goodell,” Mitchell said. “We just got to do better. We can’t have a guy where you just hand out discipline on how you see fit.”
If interested, you can watch the entire rant in the video below.
There’s obviously a lot to digest from that epic tirade, but a lot of current and former players would likely agree with what Mitchell had to say about the physical nature of the game. If the NFL does institute a targeting rule, defenders would likely have to alter their tackling technique, which could result in more hits to the lower body. As far as what Mitchell said about Goodell and his decision making process, he’s not the first player to have felt that way.
It will be interesting to see if other players follow suit and voice their opinions as well.