Thursday, October 21, 2010

NFL's New Rule Highlights Growing Issue With Professional Leagues

When I was younger I use to be afraid of what sports would be like in the future. I use to think football would not be played, but instead men in business suits would walk to the center of the field with briefcases. They would sit down and negotiate and eventually come to a resolution. The parties would separate and the game would be over.

Of course that was an extreme thing for me to imagine, but even today I kind of see that sort of thing taking place already. Earlier this week the NFL made a new rule on "dangerous" hits. If one is committed, a player will be suspended.

First and foremost, I understand the severity of these hits. I do not condone, nor do I jump to my feet when a man lays motionless on the ground. The idea of paralysis taking place in a sport you love is painful to say the least, but this is football. Football is an extremely violent sport when you break it down. No sport, not hockey or rugby, deals with so many high-speed collisions. Even though the sport remains violent, players are aware of what they are playing. They realize the risks because again they are playing football. The decision to be harsher on these sort of penalties brings to face an all too real reality in professional sports: new rules are going to constantly be added, but in turn they will only further hurt the sport.

Earlier this season Detroit Lions' wide receiver Calvin Johnson caught what seemed like a touchdown against the Chicago Bears, but according to a ridiculous NFL rule it was not. The public felt, and rightfully so, modifications should be made to this rule. Of course the top people in the NFL blew this off, yet when it came to changing how defensive man could hit players they managed to do that in 3 to 4 days. I find it very elementary that in a matter of 3 to 4 days the NFL decided to implement a new rule. My reason being is whenever I get upset my initial reaction is not always the best solution, yet in the NFL's case they felt there initial reaction was the best solution.

I worry about this new rule because it is another step in the league enforcing more rules in today's game. In the past 5 or so years look at the new rules the NFL has put into place:

-No horse collar tackling after Terrell Owens's injury
-No running into a quarterback's leg after Tom Brady's injury
-A much stricter enforcement of roughing the passer
-No hitting of defenseless wide receivers
-No "dangerous" hits

(By the way have you noticed how all these rules are against the defense?)

In all honesty this is only the tip of the ice berg. There will be more rules. With the growing concerns of concussions, the NFL has made the decision to constantly be changing the game and that's the problem. I look at what the NFL is doing and it reminds a lot of the federal government. Certain laws will be passed now and then that we, as the public, think are extremely necessary, but with these new laws over time you start to lose basic freedoms. This is very similar to the NFL. Lawmen wanted there to be a law against not wearing your seat belt so they made one, even though it was a personal choice. The NFL wanted to stop "dangerous" hits, even though wide receivers made the decision to play that position even with the dangers involved.

This sort of "new rules" attitude prevalent in the NFL, exists in other professional leagues and it continues to cripple the sports.

In the NBA this offseason, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced technical fouls will be given for complaining about a call in any way or punching in the air. Stern said this was a move so more people could enjoy NBA basketball.

Stern's motives are good, but the way he is going about it is 100 percent wrong. Sure complaining after a foul might be a little annoying, but it is not nearly as annoying as watching a basketball game turn into a free throw contest. Instead Stern should of thought to himself, "maybe I should do away with touch fouls or maybe I should do something about there being so many silly fouls called?" But as we know Stern decided to do what every other person high up in a professional league does: make more rules.

We live in a society where the American public runs and loves sports. We breathe it year around and constantly find ourselves engaged in watching some sort of sporting event, yet the most terrifying thing about it is our enjoyment, our luxury of watching a certain sport we love, is all controlled and all manipulated by individuals who only care about acting on impulse and not on reason.

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