Photo by Adrian Curiel on Unsplash
Photo by Adrian Curiel on Unsplash

Opinion: National Football League or No Fun League?

NFL Stealing Money From Players?

It’s no secret that football is one of the most physical and dangerous sports in the world. Any football player who decides to make a career out of it knows about the risks that come with the game. So, to no one’s astonishment, the NFL is receiving backlash for establishing new safety rules and fining players for making certain tackles that they deem, “unsafe.”

The new roughing the passer calls have to be talked about.

Players get in-game penalties and fines just for sacking the quarterback regularly. One famous example was in 2022. On a crucial 3rd down in the fourth quarter of a one-possession game, Grady Jarrett had a common, but important, sack on Tom Brady, but the refs decided the sack was too violent and gave the Bucs a free first down to help them win the game. Calls exactly like this are being made every single week, and many of them incorrectly shape the outcomes of games.

Is the NFL becoming soft? I would say yes.

They are taking out the hits where players lead with the crown of their helmet, which I agree with since head injuries will be prevented. But, now they fine players for making textbook tackles that 5 years ago would have been considered good plays. 

The refs receive most of the blame for these awful calls, but it is the NFL who makes the rules requiring that refs call these soft penalties, ultimately taking out a lot of the physicality from the game.

The game is supposed to be football. The NFL can try to cover up player injuries all they want, but it won’t be successful. 

Football has always been aggressive and menacing– that is just the game. Taking out textbook hit sticks or drop tackles is a disgrace and goes against the basic techniques and fundamentals that all these football players were taught growing up. 

Now the fines.

The NFL is basically stealing money from players at this point, and for the most ridiculous reasons. 

Josh Allen, was fined $11,000 for simply pointing at an opposing player. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs was fined $21,855 for lowering his helmet on a running play. The “ unnecessary roughness” fines are usually just simple football plays that get blown out of proportion by the NFL so they can act like they are doing something about all the injuries this sport creates. 

The excessive penalties have gotten so bad that former NFL players are starting to speak about how soft the league is becoming.

JJ Watt spoke out, saying the fines were absurd and that the NFL is stealing money from the players. Tom Brady described the growing issue perfectly, saying, “Football is a physical sport, there’s a physical element to all of this. You throw a 15-yard flag for something that, you know, 20 years ago maybe wouldn’t have had a flag. That affects the game in a big way.”  This is rich coming from Tom Brady since he benefited from such calls, but he does raise a good point that a lot of these plays would not have been penalties in previous years. 

People are going to watch the NFL regardless of how much we all complain about the reffing and the soft new look to the league, so I guess we contribute to the problem. We, as fans, obviously want to watch the game we all grew up watching, but clearly the NFL wants to take a different direction by ensuring players safety. 

No wonder it is a tradition to boo Roger Goodell at the draft every year.

It’s infuriating to see the league take this turn since football is a game you just aren’t going to be able to take the injuries out of. The NFL needs to let these players play the game the way it’s supposed to be played and stop trying to turn the sport into something it is not.  

 

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