If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
At least that’s what the old adage says, right?
But apparently the NFL doesn’t listen to conventional wisdom.
With their rule changes this week, the league showed that it has its own cliché to force on its fans.
It goes a little something like this: We will fix what isn’t broken in an effort to cover our rear ends against potential lawsuits swarming around various courtrooms.
In case you haven’t heard, the NFL continued its “Pro-Safety” kick this week when it approved a rule change that will ban offensive players from lowering their heads while carrying the ball in the open field.
For those needing further interpretation on the ruling, here’s the Cliff Notes: If a running back lowers his head to fight for extra yardage, he will now be penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.
Again I state: it’s a dark, dark day in the history of the NFL – the continued erosion of the product that will end in the sport being overtaken by college football as the most popular game in American culture.
The biggest thing that irks me with football’s push toward safety is because deep down it’s all a farce.
The big wigs don’t care about player safety.
Sure, they say that they do in public and in front of every TV camera the world has ever seen.
But truly, they just care about protecting their pockets.
Roger Goodell and his cronies tell anyone willing to listen that they are committed to making the league safer.
They use words like “longevity,” “sustainability,” and talk about protecting the legacy of the game. It’s all done in a propaganda campaign to brainwash the league’s fickle fans into believing that there is a genuine compassion for player safety.
They recite statistics and create rules to counter these statistics – all in an effort to “take violence out of the game.”
But are Mr. Goodell’s intentions truly about player safety?
I think not. The NFL’s players agree with me, too. They have called the commissioner’s bluff from the beginning and have been vocal about the leader’s true intentions.
Here’s their point.
While the NFL is making its player safety push, the NFL commissioner is also trying actively trying to extend the league’s already brutal regular season from 16 games to 18 games.
Wouldn’t that be a direct contradiction to the ‘No Violence’ pact? More games, but fewer hits, Mr. Goodell? How exactly does that work?
Oh, but two extra games would mean more revenue.
Ah, I see how this works.
Player safety comes first. Except, of course, if there are dollars to be made.
Then, that goes out of the window and the meat market continues to push forward.
Away from the 18-game schedule, the commissioner also has championed a plan to take kickoffs out of the sport.
He has moved kickoffs up five yards – a move that has placed more touchbacks into the game and has supposedly slowed down the most violent play in the game.
That’s what the league tells you, anyway.
Here is what’s real.
The truth is that the NFL altering its kickoffs is pointless and is just an illusion designed to pretend to care.
It sounds like harsh words, but the proof speaks for itself.
The league’s stats are true – the kickoff is the most violent play in football.
But they don’t tell you that the vast majority of the violence in the play occurs regardless of whether there is a return on the play or not.
The reason why the kickoff is dangerous is because of the collisions that occur between the defenders and the blockers – contact that is made no matter where the ball is kicked.
Even if a kicker boots the ball into the upper deck, those hits will still occur.
That, of course, means that the play isn’t safer at all and it’s all just an illusion.
If I can figure this out, don’t you think the league can, too?
Again – it’s all part of their charade. They don’t truly want the game to be safer. They just pretend to care to protect the investment.
And that investment, of course, is money.
As stated above, countless lawsuits have been filed in various courtrooms across the country from former players who were injured in the line of duty.
With ailments ranging from aches and pains to multiple concussions and deep depression, the former players want to be compensated for their injuries.
The NFL knows that the former players have a strong case.
To protect their business, they are attempting to be proactive and are making moves to try and trick the courts into thinking they genuinely want to half the violence within the sport.
But in the meantime, the product is becoming diluted and the game is becoming difficult to watch.
I know TV ratings don’t reflect it now, but it will eventually take its toll.
Not wanting to completely abandon the sport, more fans will turn to college football, which will become the new king of the sporting world.
It sounds hard to believe at this time because of the game’s vast popularity, but remember this column the first time that you see a halfback get flagged for lowering his head in traffic to fight for extra yards.
Fans will get tired of that.
They will someday understand that this is not about safety, but is all about the almighty dollar.