I’m all for player safety. I mean who isn’t? I’m also for staying true to the integrity of the game. There is an element of danger that the game brings with it. So does Boxing, Nascar and Hockey among other sports where athletes put it on the line and push the edge. When you sign your name to the contract, you also sign on for the risk. This is a big boys league, we knew the risks, accepted it and went ahead and lived out our dreams.
How is it different than men who work in high risk occupations like building skyscrapers etc.? Those men knew any day might be the day for them. But they were in search of a better life for themselves and their families. I’m guessing guys at the top of the skyscraper made more than the guys on the ground floor. And by getting up on the top floor were willing to put themselves in harms way to make that life come true for their families.
My dad got sick while I was in college and died of leukemia after my second year in the league. I needed to make a living because I had younger brothers and sisters. I needed to make some money. The NFL even back then paid well. And while you can call it a sport, I called it my job. Yes, I could have worked in my uncle’s lumber yard, but there was a better way that would benefit more family members. And God hard wired me for contact. I was good at it. Everybody has a gift. Everybody has talents. My giftedness was realizing I couldn’t hit anything smaller than a person.
Ever since the head slap went the way of bell bottoms and Chuck Cecil got a rule banning his style of play, the game has changed significantly. Believe me, the head slap and launching at some one were good things to do away with. But I’m afraid the constant tinkering that the NFL is engaging in will water down and diminish a great game.
I’ve been on the field when guys were being checked over and everybody was unsure as to whether that individual would be able to walk off the field under his own power. It’s a scary thing. Yep, let’s do everything to eliminate the risk as much as we can without ruining the integrity of the game.
And I think we are inching towards it.
James Harrisons hit on Massaquoi was a legit hit. Shouldn’t be finable. If the NFL stays on its current path pushing restriction of the hitting zone, the NFL will become the NRL, or National Rugby League, which is a great sport in it’s own right. But just remember, rugby doesn’t have a national TV contract, million dollar player salaries nor filled stadiums.
There’s a reason the NFL is the NFL.