Monday, December 27, 2010

Is the NFL getting soft ??

I was surprised yesterday when the National Football League (NFL) postponed the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings due to the blizzard that was hitting the east coast. The real surprise was that the decision was made before it even started snowing in Philadelphia !! I could not help but wonder what NFL players of yesterday thought about the decision. As a kid, I can remember watching games on TV being played in Chicago, Green Bay, Cleveland, Denver, Buffalo, and other places in blowing snow and bitter cold temperatures. I remember reading about the 1967 NFL Championship Game, known as the Ice Bowl, between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys where the game time temperature was -13 degrees (F) with a wind chill of nearly -50 degrees. The players of that era probably thought something along the line of "wimps" when the league postponed the game yesterday. Plus, they played in those conditions without getting paid anything near what today's players do.

English: American football with clock to repre...
English: American football with clock to represent a "current sports or American football event" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I've been a football fan since I was old enough to know what a football was. I often marvel at the differences I see in the game and in the players over the last 30 years. I remember guys playing with broken hands, arms, and jaws. The trainers would bandage them up and send them back out onto the field to hit somebody else. Now, we see guys like Randy Moss who play "when they want to." We hear of players who are out for weeks with "turf toe," or, as in the case of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson last week, they can't play because of a "thigh bruise." Where has the toughness gone ?? Fortunately, we occasionally still see a player or two who still plays with the old-school "toughness" of yesteryear. One example is current Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Yes, Ben did have his "issues" off the field in the off-season. However, he's one of the few tough players left. For the last few weeks, he has played with a broken bone sticking out of his foot and a broken nose that had to be surgically repaired. However, he hasn't missed a game due to either injury. In fact, in last Thursday's game against the Carolina Panthers, Roethlisberger took a hit on his broken nose on an unsuccessful third down play. The hit caused a nosebleed, but Big Ben was back in the game on the Steelers next offensive series without missing a single play. I suspect he has received a few toasts and salutes from the players of yesteryear over the last few weeks for the toughness he has shown.

The NFL is constantly changing and many times it's for the worst. Currently, it's nearly impossible for a defensive player to "legally" hit a quarterback, players sit out games for minor injuries, and now they don't play games in the snow. Taking all this into consideration, I propose that the NFL change it's name. Perhaps The National Wussie League, or WFL, would be more appropriate.

It's just a thought.
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