Almost once a game, an NFL player absorbs an illegal blow to the head or neck that could put his career — or worse — at risk.
The NFL has been trying to prevent such blows over the last four years, targeting improper technique and making a point to penalize and fine players for hits that leave them and their opponents vulnerable. Yet an Associated Press review of penalties through the first 11 weeks of the season found those hits are still prevalent.
The AP reviewed 549 penalties, 491 of which fell under the category of major infractions: unnecessary roughness, unsportsmanlike conduct, roughing the passer, facemasks and roughing the quarterback.
Of the penalties...