The NFL: A Watered Down League
The National Football League. A multi-billionaire dollar corporation that has gradually become vanilla.
Despite its recent rule changes -- many of which the fans and the players can't comprehend -- the league continues to thrive.
I certainly understand player safety, and I think Roger Goodell is doing a superb job looking out for the best interests of the players and the league collectively. My only qualm is that this barbaric sport, which I grew up idiolizing, has gradually become a powderpuff league.
First and foremost, the kickoff return is one of the most exciting aspects of the NFL. The ability to turn not only the game but the momentum around in a split second is a fascinating quality that the NFL offers. Now, that ability has become less frequent, due to the NFL moving the kickoff line from the 30 to the 35 yard line. With that subtly adjusted placement, return specialists aren't being utilized. Do we all not remember that epic five-lateral kickoff return during the Stanford-California game in 1982? Now, the opportunity to win games with an unbelievable return is dissipating.
Secondly, tackling has become a complete joke. Defensive players complain. Offensive players complain. Frankly, the rule isn't even clearly defined. Additionally, the referees aren't consistently calling personal fouls or are calling personal fouls when a clean, methodical, by the book tackle was completed. Defensive players are in a frenzy, and no one knows for sure how to tackle, where to tackle, and if they will be fined for striking an opponent with severe force.
Football is a violent sport. These athletes have played this game ever since they could firmly grasp a football. They love it and enjoy the celebritism that accompanies it. Regardless of that affinity, I've never seen so many anti-football comments via social media about how difficult it is for athletes to abide by the rule book. The adjustment period has been shortened and players haven't been able to acclimate as quickly as the NFL wants them to.
Granted, the whole process is a learning curve, but I think the NFL needs to do a better job of informing, educating, and thoroughly explaining what's allowed and what's not.
It's proving to be a complex process to fully comprehend compliance when these rules are being altered every year. It's tough, as a fan, to watch sometimes. However, as fans, we continue to watch because this is by far the biggest sport in America. Even if the NFL decides to wrap its employees in pillows and send them out on the gridiron for 60 minutes, the fans, believe me, will still fill the stands, spectate via videostream, and watch in the comfort of their homes.
The NFL has most of us hypnotized and the bad part is, they know it.