Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tangential Topical Terror Tuesday: NFL Hit Controversy

I'm all for safety in the NFL. These hulking players, like Vince above, are getting faster, stronger, and meaner by the second. Because of these facts and their direct correlation to player safety and concussions, the NFL has attempted to cut down on "dirty hits". 

In order to limit these infractions, the NFL has decided to hit the players where it really hurts- directly in the pocket book. I guess they figure that the only way that they can turn football into two-hand touch is to take away dollars. Makes sense if you think there's a problem, but what does Roger Goodell consider one?

What is described as a "dirty hit" these days can be found HERE (This is a pretty long and boring video). If you have nothing else to do but breathe, I wouldn't watch it. An illegal hit would be propeling one's self into another player with the head, shoulder, or helmet. 

A hit on a defenseless player is also considered illegal. Add into this the "Brady Rule" where a player cannot tackle the quarterback inside the pocket below the waist, and you've got a lock tight system to protect the players- or at least that's what the NFL thinks. 

Much of these new rules have come under harsh criticism from the players. I'll have to agree with them. I understand that the NFL wants to protect people, but hey IT'S DIVISION-1 FOOTBALL! IT'S THE BIG 12! Wait a minute...

An Example:

The fines for an illegal hit have become the topic of conversation on SportsCenter. Pittsburgh's James Harrison has been at the epicenter of this controversy as he "contemplated" retirement after his first fine. His agent stated that, 

"We wouldn't joke about this. [...] This is a very serious issue. James is very concerned about how to play football. If James is going to be fined $75,000 for making a legal tackle, then how do you go play football? It's quite frustrating to James, to coach [Mike] Tomlin, to me, to everybody." 

For some unknown reason, the folks at ESPN really thought he was seriously consering retirement and ran with this story, by the way. Harrison has subsequently been fined three more times with the total of all four infractions coming to a cool $125k. But enough about that, as you probably get the gist. 

The concerning part of this is that the NFL is basically turning professional football into a glorified version of 7-on-7, only there are 11 players on the field. Not only do I feel like they are attempting to limit some of the more brutal cheap shots, but they are also opening up the game a bit. I say that because who really likes watching a game that's 10-6? I know I don't. I think they're trying to make defensive players a bit more timid and give offensive players more confidence to go over the middle, which would lead to a more offensive game. 

While I feel this may be a planned side-effect of the newly enforced old rules, I'm not so sure it's actually going to hinder the defense. Those guys' livelihood depends on stopping the offense and if they don't, they're not going to get paid anyway. So it's really a situation of darned if you do or darned if you don't. If you just so happened to get fined along the way in a pro-bowl season, you're gonna get paid next year anyway. When you don't make the play cause you were worried about the fine, get ready for that cut talk with Rex Ryan. 

Am I crazy or do you think some of these fines are ridiculous too?

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