Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past week or so, I’m sure you heard about the NFL’s decision to make the game safer.
You see that, right? I snuck the word safe in there.
That’s what the league is trying to accomplish by telling players they have to clean up the way that they hit opposing players. Now don’t get all nostalgic on me and reminisce about the glory days of Dick Butkus and Jack Tatum.
“But Matt, this is football not ballet.”
Yeah, sure break out your thesaurus and use every reference you have in your arsenal. Call them wimps, a sissy, pansies, fairies or any other word you can conjure up to make a grown man turn beet red and cock back a fist.
It doesn’t matter.
The new “Helmet Crown Rule” is here to stay for the time being. And no, it’s not your fault Trent Richardson.
The league is trying to protect its investment, which are the players. It’s plain and simple.
So, if that means that a bruising running back can no longer plow his dome into a defending players chin, dislodging his helmet, I’m OK with that.
Football is a violent sport. I get it. But that doesn’t mean that you have to throw safety out the window.
If small steps like this can be brought in, possibly extending a player’s career, what’s the harm? If there is a way to reduce the number of head and neck injuries and concussions in football, why not take action?
These men are not sissies, pansies or weenies. They are human beings who are putting their health on the line to entertain the armchair quarterbacks and fans alike.
Let’s give it a rest.
Please give a warm, probably begrudged, welcome to the new American Football game. We don’t hit, we have 22-man group hugs!
If you want to eliminate the violent collisions that have come to define America’s game, just change the sport.
Who cares if our entire nation lives and dies by an activity that is most-uniquely American? Just get rid of it.
Because, with the new “Helmet Crown Rule” that will take effect in the 2013 NFL season, it just won’t seem like football anymore.
It’s basically official. No more hitting.
The rule was seemingly created in fairness to defenders who weren’t allowed to make a hit on offensive players that were free to annihilate anybody who comes between them and the end zone.
So, instead of fixing a bad rule, the NFL evened things out, with another misconceived guideline.
How arrogant can the decision makers be?
First there was the strike, and then Barack Obama admitted that he would be reluctant to let his offspring play the game. It’s almost obvious that the recent, unparalleled success of the NFL will inevitably run out. But, for some reason, Roger Goodell thinks he can save face on the head trauma front, by sacrificing the butts in the seats.
The modern version of the NFL has provided Americans with the right to be smug about their athletes. While soccer players are rolling around the field, holding their ankles and faking injury, Americans continue to idolize the Johnny Unitas types, who continue to throw forward passes after completely tearing a bicep.
Mark my words; if we spend next season waiting for referees to decide if a running back has illegally hit a defender, fans will be lost.
The glory years are over. This is the beginning of the end.