No Flag, No Problem

USFL can't stop, won't stop tweeting video of a player spitting out a tooth after textbook illegal hit

Has football become too soft? Have the phantom roughing-the-passer calls, the tick-tacky targeting ejections, and the slow death of the kickoff return robbed America’s number-one gladiator sport of its brutal essence? Well, folks, we have good news for you. The USFL is here and anything goes apparently!

That was the scene during the Keystone State battle between the Philadelphia Stars and Pittsburgh Maulers on Sunday. Maulers WR Isiah Hennie catches the ball over the middle, gets to the boundary, and turns it up field. He doesn’t get his head around fast enough, however, and BANG, suddenly he’s eating the helmet of Stars safety Cody Brown for lunch. From this angle the hit sounds like more than enough to deploy the airbags and moments later Hennie could be seen spitting out a mouthful of tooth and blood on the sidelines.

Phew, thank god it’s just a wisdom tooth. That should save you a couple hundred bucks at the dentist, Isiah.

Sarcasm aside, this hit has been splattered all across the USFL social feeds and for good reason. It’s big. It’s violent. Reconstructive dental surgery is involved. It’s everything we know and (sometimes sheepishly) love about football. It’s also not strictly legal. Brown doesn’t knock Hennie’s tooth by hitting him in the “shoulder area” as the announcers stammer. He catches him right in the jaw with the crown of his helmet. It’s textbook … a textbook 15-yarder. Don't believe us? Check it out from the helmet cam, one of three different tweets from the official USFL account celebrating the hit.

Can you imagine the NFL's battalion of social media happy-clappers sharing footage of a player getting seriously injured on a semi-legal play? Can you then imagine them couching it as a highlight? Not a chance in frozen-over hell. We’re not saying that’s a good or bad thing, but it does raise some questions about where the XFL 3.0 will sit in the market when it arrives next February. If the USFL is already letting guys spear each other like Sean Taylor on a punter in the Pro Bowl, what sort of chaos will the Xtreme Football League have to bring to the table in order to differentiate itself? TBD, but some sadistic part of us can't to find out.