A lot has happened of late, but I’m going to touch on an issue that has taken the NFL by storm. Over the last few weeks, we have seen a progressive amount of fines doled out by the National Football League. Some of it was probably warranted, but has the power gotten to the head of Roger Goodell? Are we still trying to perfect the game that has captured the minds of so many? Or are we trying to protect the league’s best players and their marketing value?
I’ve believed both options to be true over the course of two weeks. Initially, I thought that it was a good idea to punish the players that were searching for a bounty on a vulnerable wide receiver going across the middle. Many felt that it was degrading the nature of the game to restrict players from making plays. However, those same people probably haven’t had a two-hundred and fifty pound linebacker with his helmet down barreling down on him or her. To be fair, I haven’t experienced that either. Logic tells me that it is probably best if it stays that way. We have seen rare, freak accidents end the careers of players such as Buffalo Bills TE Kevin Everett and Rutgers University’s Eric LeGrand. Those events shocked the country and left many praying. Yet, it is the gruesome hits that make the highlight reel each and every week. I am all for keeping the physical nature of the game, but it makes sense to protect a vulnerable player when it is at all possible.
However, the calls got progressively more ridiculous. I saw yesterday’s clean hits become today’s personal foul. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ own Troy Polamalu has been in the media recently, sticking up for his teammate James Harrison. Harrison has seen $95,000 leave his bank account over the course of three weeks. Polamalu would go on to tell ESPN, “He’s (Roger Goodell) got all the power, and that may be part of the problem. Just because a few weekends ago, I think five hits out of one-thousand. Yeah, I think there’s too much paranoia. If people want to watch soccer, they can watch soccer. The people who are attracted to this game, they’re going to see the big hits.” The Steelers’ safety will more than likely face the wrath (in the form of a fine of course) of NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, but it may all be worth it to him. I don’t often find myself agreeing with a Steeler, but if the following hit on Brett Favre was fine worthy, then something needs to change, because coaches have been teaching kids wrong since Pop Warner.