Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: PJ Media, Sports — Rick Moran @ 7:48 am

I am a huge NFL fan, an even bigger Bears fan, and a connoisseur of hard nosed football. You can’t help that living in the Chicago area most of your life. Bears’ defenses have generally been outstanding — hard hitting, intimidating groups who pride themselves on dealing out punishment to opposing skill players.

But this most recent effort by the NFL to wussify the game is really an exercise in control. I wrote about the subject of helmet-to-helmet hits for PJ Media:

Say goodbye to pro football as we knew it. In its continuing assault on what makes the pro game the most watched weekly sporting event in TV history, the NFL powers that be have decreed that hitting an opponent too hard will result in “serious consequences” — presumably, game suspensions and hefty fines.

The league has already taken much of the spontaneity and joy out of the game by banning just about any celebratory action following a touchdown — or even a good play. They have crimped the individuality of such larger than life personalities as Chad Ochocinco by banning his wildly original antics following his scoring a touchdown. Group celebrations were banned following the 1984 season, when the Washington Redskins’ “Fun Bunch” electrified the crowd with their demonstration of unity and joy in the end zone.


It’s not as if there weren’t already rules against players who “launch” themselves head first at opponents, seeking to injure rather than attempting only to “hurt” a player and cause a fumble. If the distinction seems lost in the translation, it is simply part of the NFL culture. Trying to hurt someone is fine. Everybody in the league plays hurt at some point, or at several points, during the year. But an effort to actually injure a player — jeopardizing his health and/or career — is against the rules. It’s a fine line that is really a question of intent rather than technique. And I have yet to see a ref whose off-field employment is as a circus soothsayer or Gypsy palm reader.

The subjective evaluation by a referee on the scene of the play has generally been to protect the receiver on these hits anyway. Now the refs knows that the league will be looking over their shoulders when they judge the legality of these collisions which almost certainly means that there will be little room for error by the defensive player when lining up a receiver for a blow. The quarterbacks are already cocooned by the league, as it is illegal to make helmet-to-helmet contact with the signal caller at any time for any reason. The question can be asked is if the league is headed in that direction when it comes to protecting any of their high-value, high-profile players be they quarterbacks, receivers, running backs, or kick returners.

Listening to some of the big hitters in the game over the last day or two makes you realize the potentially devastating impact this new emphasis on rules will have. It may even lead to worse injuries if defensive players try to avoid a collision. The first team that loses a game for being penalized as a result of this new interpretation of the rules will have a very good case that the NFL is willing to sacrifice the integrity of the game in order to look good to the public.

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