With the Super Bowl just a couple days away I wanna talk about just about anything else. As a die hard Giants fan, this is really a no win situation for me. But I really can’t have the Eagles win their first Super Bowl so I have to root for the Pats. I feel disgusting doing it but if the Eagles win then Giants fans (the whole NFC East really) never be able to shit on Eagle fans again for not having a ring. So instead I wanna talk about how the game that I love and the game I grew up playing is not the game that I watch every Sunday… and Monday… and Thursday… and even Saturdays sometimes. So what happen to football?
Are touchdown even exciting anymore? How many times a game do you have to wait to celebrate your team scoring because the play was under review. I’m not gonna go into how instant replay has ruined sports because that has to be it own post. But how much more is America’s game gonna change. If it’s not a TV timeout then its a replay. If it’s not a replay it’s one of the 50 penalties that get thrown. Has science ruined the game that we love?
I think football is one of the best team sports in the world. Maybe only second to soccer. But football in 2018 is hard to watch. When we were younger the best part about football were the big hits. I remember watching video compilations of huge hits by guys like Lawrence Taylor, Ronnie Lott, Deacon Jones, John Lynch, all the up to Ray Lewis. I remember waiting for my favorite Monday Night Football segment “Jacked Up”, where they would have the biggest hits in football each week. And probably my favorite was being a kid and having Madden come out with the HIT STICK just so you could crush players a little more. That’s the football that I fell in love with. The football that I played during elementary school all the way up to high school. Football was fun. It was Dangerous. It gave you scars and bruises that you loved to show off to girls. But in the past 10 years the NFL has decided that isn’t football anymore. They say that football is a family sport that should not involve savagery. They claim to really care about player’s health and wellness. Well guess what NFL, I’m calling bullshit.
The NFL does not care about player safety. If they did they would not be trying to increase the season to an 18 game schedule rather than the 16 game schedule that currently stands. What the NFL cares about is how the NFL looks to the public. They don’t want there to be an image problem with the NFL. It’s not about having less injuries, it’s about having more money. It’s about keeping keeping and getting more people in the seats. And because they have to show that they pretend to care about player safety, they have helped ruin the game.
Everytime a player goes down the middle on a crossing pattern, you can expect a flag more often than an a completion. Refs love that yellow flag. It’s they have a quota they need to fill with that thing. WRs take big hits. Its part of the game, always has been. It’s what made guys like Jerry Rice, Cris Carter, and Terrell Owens amazing. Those guys would go down the middle, make the catch, make a couple people miss, and just keep going. Now QBs will throw the deep ball just hoping for a holding call to gain 48 yards. And what is a safety supposed to do in the NFL now in days. If go to knock the ball away too early it’s a Pass interference. I you go right on time and the WR ducks his head they if you hit him you give up yards, a penalty, a fine, and maybe even a suspension. Wait half a second too late and you get burned by Tedd Ginn. Football is a fast game, and expecting who players, flying full speed at each other, to watch for another player’s head is an impossible task. It’s ridiculous that a player is penalized, fined, or suspended for another player ducking his head down. Guys its football. You don’t think these WRs decided to do this for a living not expecting to get hit. Or what about the DE who can’t even touch the QB (thanks Brady). Everything should not be a flag. Helmet to helmet will happen and it is unfortunate but it’s what these guys signed up for. QBs will take blindside hits that lead to fumbles. Every once in a while a pinky might touch a QBs helmet. Its okay, its football. I hate watching players get carted off the field. I get a sick feeling in my stomach just thinking about their families and what they must be going though. But these guys are warriors, they’re modern day gladiators. They want to get hit and then come back and score on the same defender. They want to make millions for their family and are willing to sacrifice their body for it. Football does not have to be for everyone. It does not have to please the masses. I am not downplaying the effects of CTE. It’s a truly unfortunate disease. But if a player expects to go his whole career without getting banged up, he’s playing the wrong sport.
So I lied before. I can’t talk about how much the game has changed without talking about replay has ruined it. I won’t completely talk about how bad of a system it is but I do wanna touch on a few glaring points. It amazes me that football decides that football is a game of inches… only sometimes. How often is the momentum of an offense slowed down because the ref have to go to their booth to check if the guy had the tip of his nail under the football. Or to check if the guy crossed the goal line from one of their 46 camera angles. My personal favorite is how even the commissioner has no clue what a catch is, so week to week we see guys doing the same thing and getting different results. And if football is such a game of inches then why is it that when a punter kicks the ball out of bounds you have a ref literally just eyeball it and guess where he thinks it went out, 50 feet above the ground. Now i get that the system will never be perfect because when I don’t have it I want it, and when I do have it I hate it. But I think that we should go with the version that keeps the most fluidity in the game and doesn’t disrupt the game as much.
I don’t think the NFL will ever go back to the way it used to be. But to me is it seems like the sport is slowly dying off and becoming less and less popular. Can it be that society has changed so much and technology has gotten so advanced that moms will no longer want their kids near a football due to fear of injury. Or is it that the NFL has become so money rich that they refuse to let their star offensive players at WR and QB get touched and its has ruined the game we love.