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The New NFL: Not Fun League


My household on a Sunday is like many other American households. We wake up and have our morning coffee and count down to the start of the first Sunday football game. Sunday football has been a tradition of mine since I was a little girl. I grew up loving all sports, but football season was different. Family and friends came over and we ate pasta and wings and a variety of dips and chips as we cheered or booed all through the day and into the evening. 

Naturally, I married an avid football fan- as this was a number one requirement in finding my life long mate.  I must say that last Sunday, as I sat and watched as my husband cheered as he was currently winning that week’s fantasy football match-up and his Cowboys won (I know my mother taught me to never trust a Cowboys fan, but other than his love of a team I hate, he has many other great qualities), we watched as constant flags were being thrown and penalties were being called left and right. I began to reflect on when good ole’ football used to be good ole’ football.Photo: slate.com

The NFL has been swarmed with so many new penalties that (as barbaric as it sounds) it’s taken the fun out of football.  Now, players cannot hit the quarterback from the neck and above and below the knees. So apparently the NFL now has adapted a strike zone.

We refer to sportsbooks to gain insight into making predictions on scores and potential wins as the season progresses, but I'm starting to think that one day we'll look at the same NFL odds (using Top Bet sportsbook as an example) for how many penalties will be called per game.

Why don’t we add little flags to their pants and just make it flagged football?  You also cannot make the slightest bit of contact with the face mask.  Let’s hope a player’s pinky does not grace the edge of the face mask while he is hurling his body into the air and making contact with another human body because then you’ll have a penalty.

Back in 1896, when Lafayette College halfback George "Rose" Barclay played, the football players barely wore helmets. They had a piece of leather strapped to their heads. Now I understand the need for a more upgraded helmet, but those players went out and played a game of tackle with barely anything protecting their bodies. Anyone watching the game can undeniably see all the protective wear the players are smothered in. These players must know what they are getting into when they sign those high dollar contracts to play a sport they love?  I mean look at Rugby players, hockey players, boxers, wrestlers, etc. You don’t see them crying (much).  

You were considered one of the toughest guys around if you played football because you could either hit hard or take a hard hit.  Now it appears the NFL is a league full of pansies. I once knew a football player who actually took ballet classes. Now before you roll over laughing as I did when he first told me, it makes sense.  He took ballet classes to be flexible when he took a hit.  It limbered his body so he could move in a variety of directions to limit his ability of injury. He was a dedicated player who knew the type of game he played and knew what it could (and eventually would) do to his body.  Nowadays, players want to sue the NFL because they sustained an injury years after they have retired or want to complain about injuries while they are still contracted.

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Isn’t that why you get paid the big bucks?  Most NFL players have been playing since they were kids. You know what football is all about. You were also well aware that as you got older, the hits were going to get harder or you would need to hit harder.  It’s the reason why you spend hours in the weight room, the reason why you stretch, and let’s be honest: it’s your love of the game that brought you to the NFL.  

The brutality and difficulty of playing football on the NFL level is no secret.  These guys know what they were getting into.  These penalties and constant flags are ruining the game we love.  The NFL needs to bring it back to how it was.  Is it not as simple as having these players sign waivers when they sign their multi-million dollar contracts?  If that is not the case, then give me half of what some of these guys are making and I’ll play the game for you, because this new NFL is making it too easy for anyone to play this game now.  

If you ask me, these muscled up tough guys are bigger babies then my four-year-old and the NFL is just an over-protective mother.  

Karen Stebbins is a mom of four and wife of a loving husband who shares her love of sports (or else she wouldnt have said yes). Karen is an experienced paralegal and freelance writer on a variety of topics. Sports is her passion and her love of the game is undeniable.

Contact Karen at karstebbins@gmail.com


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Photo: slate.com