Death of a National Pastime: The Pussification of Professional Football

It’s a swift kick to the testicles of American society when all the primal glory of violence is stripped from its most beloved sport. Gladiators are forced to play two-hand touch under penalty of suspensions and fines. It’s sad that all the sport’s savage appeal has been shoplifted from the field by the fatheads in the Commissioner’s Office.

Frank Monica, head coach of high school Class 3A state champions St. Charles Catholic, once said that football is not a contact sport; it’s a collision sport. Ballroom dancing is a contact sport.

Whatever happened to my favorite Monday Night Football segment, “Jacked Up”? It has since been replaced with “C’mon Man.” The latter (basically a blooper reel) is not nearly as entertaining as watching players knock the snot out of one another.

I can remember Steve Young on TV a few years back. He was saying that several retired players realized they were suffering from health problems that were related to their former profession (mainly concussions and head injuries). He was pretty much saying the NFL was responsible for these ex-players’ medical bills.

Bullsh””t! Do you know how much money these guys were making? Do you mean you can’t budget your salary (without suing the NFL) for the rest of your life? If I can sustain myself on less than $30,000 a year, you pompous jerks should definitely be able to manage.

If I can sustain myself on less than $30,000 a year, you pompous jerks should definitely be able to manage.

So if the NFL is responsible for paying these players’ medical expenses, why wouldn’t they say, “Well, we can’t afford this. We need to change the rules to keep players from getting hurt. If they get hurt, it’s going to cost us”?

That’s why football was so much fun to watch: the hits, the pain, players hurting one another, not necessarily intentionally injuring each other, but inflicting pain nonetheless. That’s what the fans want.

I can’t blame Steve Young solely. A pro wrestler by the name of Sabu has to own up to a big chunk of it, as well.

Chris Nowinski was a WWE wrestler, a Harvard graduate who’d rather wrestle and entertain than work a nine-to-five. At least that was the case until Sabu struck him in the face with a pool cue for no good reason at all. Consequently, Nowinski suffered a severe concussion and was forced to retire.

After that, Nowinski was motivated by his own head injury and went on to write a book called Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis. He’s also the president of the Sports Legacy Institute, an organization specializing in making contact and collision sports safe. So F Sabu in his A!

The first rules started with quarterbacks: Got to protect the quarterbacks; they can’t be taking vicious hits. There are all these rules about not being able to fundamentally tackle (like these players were trained to do since pee-wee league) a quarterback. You can’t touch his head (even though he is wearing a helmet for protection). You can’t look at him wrong or talk smack (that’s an automatic 15-yarder and three-game suspension).

OK, I understand there probably should be a rule or two to protect quarterbacks, simply because they’re the most important players on their teams. Not to mention, a bounty hunter could possibly ruin a team’s Super Bowl chances by making a crucial hit. I just think it’s getting a little bit out of hand.

Then came the receivers. They saw the quarterbacks getting all this special attention and said, “Hey, how come they get all these rules to protect them? I have to catch passes up the middle when I’m completely defenseless. I can get hurt doing that.” And there you go: the defenseless receiver rule.

There’s nothing we can do, because the NFL has a monopoly on the professional football market. Vince McMahon of the WWE once tried to create his own football league, the XFL. It failed miserably.

It was probably just bad timing. I’m sure if he tried again right now, he could definitely get some NFL players on board and restore some of the violence that made us fall in love with the game in the first place.

Does anyone ever watch soccer? Go ahead, watch a soccer game. You’ll see all of these great athletes taking dives and pretending to be hurt just to draw a penalty.

They could be writhing on the ground in agony for 10 minutes. Once they get that whistle, they pop up like nothing happened. It’s crazy to see all of these grown men whining like babies to get a call. But that’s the culture of that sport. The rules are lenient enough for players to get away with that in soccer.

If we don’t nip this in the bud right now with pro football, it’s eventually going to be like soccer. You already see quarterbacks bitching about players touching them too hard or for whatever reason, just trying to get that penalty called. That’s not what the game is about. The flags are dictating the pace of the game instead of the offense or defense.

You shouldn’t be winning games on sissy penalties. You should be winning the game because you line up, play hard from whistle to whistle, and hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. That’s football; that’s America.

Here it is. You guys are professional football players. You wanted to play because you love the sport. If you didn’t want to get hit, you would’ve done ballroom dancing instead.

I know you have to be furious (I know Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison is) about the way this game is being shook down. This is America’s favorite sport, and this is an outrage. The game is being sodomized by Roger Goodell while we sit back and take it.

Happy Friday!

About Johnny Valentine

Johnny Valentine
Johnny Valentine is striving to be the Hunter S. Thompson of his generation. Take a walk on the wild side with him.

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