In 2004, six NFL players, including stars Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb, were seriously injured in games because of "horse collar" tackles. Players broke bones, missed games and that cost their teams chances to win late in the season.
Former Sooner and Pro Bowl defensive back Roy Williams was responsible for many of those horse collar tackles, where a runner gets dragged down from behind by his shoulder pads.
Now, nearly a decade later, Williams is doing something to help put an end to those vicious tackles forever—and he's doing it in Wagoner, Oklahoma.
Last week, Williams met with Bulldogs sophomore lineman Dusty Swanson to shoot a commercial for the XCollar, a device designed to limit the injuries involved with horse collar tackles.
Swanson invented the XCollar after being injured by a horse collar tackle. He needed a science fair project as a freshman at Wagoner. He and his dad, Kevin, started brainstorming and came up with the idea for a break-away, Velcro collar that attaches to a player's shoulder pads.
Defenders who try to drag down a runner from behind by his shoulder pads will instead get a handful of the Velcro collar. The collar tears away allowing the runner to continue up the field without being awkwardly twisted to the ground.
They called the project the XCollar.
The Swansons contacted Williams through Facebook and convinced him that this would be a great opportunity for him to help promote safety.
The horse collar penalty is linked to Williams' reputation because of the injuries he caused in the mid-2000s.
The chance to help the Swansons get the word out about a potential injury-saving invention caught Williams' attention.
For more information on the invention, visit thexcollar.com.