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Players/Fans Need Reality Check On Devastating Hits "Rule"....

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Rock Mamola

Producer/Host on WSCR 670AM The Score.

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When did football fans turn into the Roman Empire rooting for the lions to devour on the criminals of the country?  This past week has embarrassed me as a football fan and I feel compelled the scream to the masses of humanity what idiots we sound like.  Players and fans alike.   
 
This week the NFL established a new level or fines and suspensions for what was first termed "devastating hits" either to the head and/or neck.  NFL football operations executive Ray Anderson has since backed off the vague term "devastating hits" saying it was not his "word" and clarifying that the new rules will adapt to:
 
"Flagrant and egregious violations of our current rules, we will be enforcing, effective immediately, discipline at a higher level."
 
In other words the NFL is simply enforcing further what the current rules for illegal hits to the head already are.  So why all the fuss over a more strict enforcement of what the rule book already states?  Are we (football fans) that protective of a game that violence is only a fraction of what is encompassed in the game itself? 

We really need to grow up people. 
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All this week I've heard the following from NFL players on the new "rule" further enforcing rules already stated in the NFL rulebook.
 
Brian Urlacher: "I don't understand how they can do this after one weekend of hitting. And I can't understand how they can suspend us for it. I think it's a bunch of bullshit. You know what we should do? We should just put flags on everybody. Let's make it the NFFL -- the National Flag Football League. It's unbelievable.''
 
James Harrison: "We've had enough rules on how to tackle a quarterback, now we have to worry about what a guy does at the last second. If he puts himself in harms way, now it's our fault."
 
Ray Lewis: "The game is way too fast and you just never know what's gonna happen in between a play, and that's why you just gotta play it out. You can't think about it, you can't hesitate about it, you just gotta play it and not worry about what the league is saying.  Whatever the league's gonna do, they gonna do, man."
 
Charles Tillman: "This is ruining the integrity," cornerback Charles Tillman said. "It's not even football anymore. We should just go out there and play two-hand touch if we can't make contact."
 
Patrick Willis: "I thought as a defensive guy you're supposed to hit," Willis said. "You shouldn't get in trouble or fined or get a flag for just playing football. As a defensive player, it's hard to play football now without worrying about the crazy stuff."
 
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I am not going to come here and say that the NFL is not a violent sport.  Violence is a result of the way the game is played, and not the other way around.  I feel in the past week that football fans and players alike think that the only reason why people love the NFL is because of the hard hits and violence that comes with the sport itself. 

I have seen/heard/read expert after expert discuss how to decrease the level of violence in the sport.  People suggesting going back to leather helmets like they wore in the 1940's.  Long time respected NFL experts saying that people will stop watching the NFL if the violent aspect of the game is taken away.  It was almost like the NFL is taking away the manhood or the macho aspect of the game.
 
You have to wonder if these players read exactly what is going on with the new "rules" the NFL is handing down.
 
According to ESPN.COM
 
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello clarified the policy further on Tuesday, saying: "Some of those hits Sunday were devastating but the rules already account for devastating hits. What we're focused on is stricter enforcement of the existing rules and elevated levels [of] discipline."
 
Stricter enforcement of the existing rules and elevated levels of discipline....do the players know what that means?  Instead of fining you 10,000 dollars for trying to decapitate a fellow human being.....we will fine you 75,000 dollars.  If you do it again or if we feel the hit (which was already illegal) is extreme, we will suspend you as we see fit.
 
What is the issue here?
 
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The last thing the NFL wants to do is take away the physical nature of the sport.  All the NFL is doing here is punishing players who break the same rules already in place with two lashes of a wet noodle instead of one.  The NFL does not want the tag of flag football or "wussy" ball, the NFL is king and always will be for several reasons.  However are we truly as barbaric as we (the fan) was made out to be this week?  Do we really only watch NFL football because we want to see massive human beings running into one another at alarming speeds attempting to put an oval shaped pigskin in a colored grass field one hundred yards away from the opposite one?   
 
Do violent hits make me jump out of my seat, of course....but so does a 60 yard touchdown pass.  Does an earth shattering tackle on a quarterback's blind side make me excited, yes.....but so does a 50 yard field goal in overtime.  There is more to the game than just the physicality of it that apparently this week we (the fan) only cares about.  We want blood, broken bones and decapitations on our HD television screens and nothing more.  Then why do the masses watch football and no one watches hockey?  Why do people get together at bars and friends houses to watch the Super Bowl in record numbers, but professional boxing PPV's are at an all time low?
 
I like watching great quarterback plays.  I like watching running back break runs greater than a 3.4 yards per carry.  I like watching interception returns and kickoff returns for touchdowns.  I like watching field goals from over a hundred feet away.  There is more to the NFL than the physicality of the sport.  We are not as barbaric as we (the fan) have been made out to be this past week.
 
So to those that believe that this new "rule" (which is not truly a new rule) is the start of the death of football, read it before you speak it.  That goes for players and fans alike.  If you believe that the NFL is turning politically correct and over-reacting to one weekend of highly publicized hits in the media, the NFL is king and is highly publicized to begin with.  If this truly affects a player and the way they approach their game plan thinking twice about how to hit the opposition, then they were never mentally prepared to play the game to begin with.
 
-RoCk
 
Rock Mamola is the Associate Producer of The Mully And Hanley Morning Show and co-host of The Joe O And Rock Show on WSCR 670AM The Score
 
You can follow The Mully And Hanley Morning Show at twitter.com/mullyhanley
 
You can follow The Joe O And Rock Show at twitter.com/joeoandrockshow



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2 Comments

Stylin19 said:

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Rock,
Hate your hat, love your opinions. So far everything I have read from you in your posts and comments have all been right on, keep up the good work.

Rock Mamola said:

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Thanx for checking out the post.

-RoCk

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