Monday, January 28, 2013

Football bashing not warranted

It’s Super Bowl week. And that signals yet another bashing of the game of football.

First, it’s President Obama's turn to weigh in on the ferocity of the game, telling The New Republic that if he had a son, he would think long and hard before allowing him to play the sport.

First of all, the president has many more important problems to solve than those of the sport of football. In fact, it might be best if he kept his opinions to himself regarding the sport.

Who cares what the president thinks? He’s a sports fan, for sure, but he’s also a professional politician. I care more about what he thinks of high unemployment, the economy and immigration. You know, stuff that really matters.

I don’t want to know that Obama is concerned more with college football players’ safety because, according to an Associated Press story, National Football League players have a union, are well paid and are grown men.

The safety of football players, regardless of what level they play in, should not be a concern of the White House. If asked to comment on the subject, he should have politely declined to answer, leaving those opinions to someone else.

In case you think political views are a factor here, forget it. Makes no difference what a president’s political affiliation is. He has no business sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. Same goes for any politician. Sports should be allowed to police themselves.

And now along comes Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard, who is worried that the NFL will not exist in 30 years because of all the player-safety restrictions. “I could be wrong,” he said the other day.

”It’s just my opinion, but I think the direction things are going – where (NFL rules makers) want to lighten up and they’re throwing flags and everything else – there’s going to come a point where fans are going to get fed up with it.”

What the fans should be fed up with is that many football players on all levels of the game are allowed to use their helmet as a weapon. Legislate the helmet as a weapon out of the game and the number of serious head injuries will decline significantly.

There’s nothing wrong with bringing back fundamental defensive football where tackling the correct way is taught and stressed. Should that style of play ever reappear, the alarm that now sounds would be silenced.

“Guys are getting fined,” said Pollard, who is known for his big hits, “and they’re talking about ‘Let’s take away the strike zone’ and ‘Take the pads off’ or ‘Take the helmet off.’ It’s going to be a thing where fans aren’t going to want to watch it anymore.”

That’s where Pollard is wrong and sadly mistaken. Fans are not that bloodthirsty that they’ll stop watching if the bone-jarring and head-banging hits are eliminated. The game would finally be played the way it was meant to be played if that were the case.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is running scared now because of all the brain damage-related lawsuits. It’s something he never saw coming, but he’s smart enough to not overreact and eventually ruin the sport.

In 30 years, when Pollard is 58 years old, he’ll look back on the day he forecasted the end of the NFL and wonder how he could have been so wrong. He didn’t take into consideration that the style of game he played evolved to the point where it was accepted as normal.

The game he’ll see in 30 years will be different, of course. It’ll be less violent in its nature, but every bit as popular. That’s because common sense legislation will eventually prevail and return the game to its proper fundamental roots.

No comments:

Post a Comment