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Fan Pulse Week 1: Will the Colts win? Is Indianapolis headed in the right direction? Worst NFL rule?

Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse, a survey of fans across the NFL powered by SurveyMonkey. Each week, we send 32 polls to 100+ plugged in fans from each team. Colts fans, sign up HERE to join FanPulse.

Will the Colts win or lose in Week 1?

The Colts have lost the first two games to open a season in each of the last four years. Their last win in the first two weeks was their season opener in September of 2013, when they hosted the Terrelle Pryor-led Oakland Raiders.

This season is full of difficult early season match-ups. Four of the first six weeks are on the road, with two against the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. One of their two home games is a division bout against the Houston Texans. Winning on the road is always challenging and beating former Super Bowl teams is likely not in the cards. Division games are almost always close.

This makes the Week 1 Bengals game extremely important to the psyche of a young football team. This is arguably the easiest game on the schedule until Week 7. Whether by 3 points or 1 point, this could be the most important season opener for the Colts in years.

How confident are you in the direction of the team?

Very confident: 37 percent

Somewhat confident: 55 percent

Meh: 4 percent

Not very confident: 3 percent

Not confident at all: 0 percent

It’s interesting to see how heavy the results are slanted toward having some confidence in the direction the Colts are headed. Chris Ballard is just starting his second season as an NFL General Manager so it’s entirely possible that he is still getting the benefit of the doubt, but it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see a more prevalent “meh” contention given a brand new coaching staff and unpopular off-season moves.

I am curious to see how these results change throughout the coming season and at this time in 2019. The leash tends to get short quickly for new General Managers and coaching staffs. If the team struggles to perform, especially if it looks unprepared and falls flat again in the second half, it will be a really bad look from the Colts front office.

What is the worst NFL rule?

There are a few surprises in the results for worst NFL rule. The first is that pass interference would receive one vote, let alone more than 200. The second is that the helmet rule isn’t even higher relative to the others. Don’t get me wrong, the fumbling out of bounds in the end zone rule has been stupid forever and the catch rule is hotly contested but the helmet rule could completely destroy the game altogether.

It’s important to acknowledge that the health and safety of all human beings, particularly athletes who are essentially performing in front of fans, should be paramount. The potential ramifications of CTE are horrifying and anytime head trauma results in premature or avoidable loss of life it is not acceptable. However, sports of almost any kind are inherently dangerous and some of the most exciting sports are entertaining precisely due to the physical nature of the game and the risk of bodily injury.

Taken too far, some of the most entertaining sports that are enjoyed by fans around the world today could disappear. Football is an example but other games where severe and repeated head trauma are entirely possible include soccer, lacrosse, hockey, rugby, auto racing, mixed martial arts, and boxing among others. No one wants to be insensitive to these injuries and everyone should want to find ways to reduce the occurrence of concussions and fight the causes of CTE.

The game of football, however, is predicated entirely on hitting. This is a physical game where collisions occur on every play. Leading with the head will be required for any tackling technique that is happening at angle parallel to the ground. Players should do their best to avoid spearing — a reasonable rule — and to avoid helmet-to-helmet collisions with other players — another reasonable rule — but leading with the helmet is necessary to play defense and often to play offense.

I fear the impact this rule will have on the game if the interpretation of it isn’t carefully scrutinized. It will turn the outcome of games and will result in lost interest among football fans. Everyone is or should be interested in player safety but everyone should also expect for the rules to appropriately reflect the nature of the game.