The NFL is eliminating hard hits. Since Tom Brady was injured and missed the 2008 season it's become impossible to hit the quarterback. Special teams can no longer have more than a 2 man wedge, and now defensive players can't make a devastating blow. What's up with this?
I believe Brian Urlacher put it the best when he said, "It’s football. When you play football, you know what could happen to you. You know the potential of what could happen. If you don’t want to get hit, play defense. That’s just the way it is. As defenders, we try to separate the guy from the football. That’s what we’re taught to do from a young age...When you start second-guessing or thinking about a hit, that’s when you’re probably gonna miss a tackle or get hurt yourself."
Urlacher also referenced how the quarterback can't be touched, and defensive backs can't touch the receivers after five yards. He's right—this game is a lot less physical and is catering to the offense.
Defensive players should be upset by the rule changes because they are acting instinctively and this rule takes away instinct. It also makes the game a lot harder for the defense.
What gets fans to scream with reckless abandon? Big passes, big runs, big returns, interceptions, fumbles, and hard hits. 50 percent of these plays occur on defense. Hard hits also cause fumbles. So hard hits cause 33% of excitement in football. Let's face it, even if this is a bloated statistic, who doesn't go crazy the second they see a guy get completely decked?
Not just in football, but in a fight, on the street, in your local cemetery, wherever. It gives people an adrenaline rush, because it's exciting.
The NFL should have taken a page out of the MLB book. Let's compare this rule change to that of baseball. They both take excitement away from the fans. The NFL should have learned from the MLB and not so drastically restricted the game. It should have lived in ignorance. I'm sure the MLB wishes it had left things alone and maintained high ratings. And perhaps someday the NFL will, if it continues to go down this path of ruining the game.
Granted, the NFL is protecting the safety of it's players and is in the middle of negotiations with the NFLPA, but the players are earning obscene amounts of money and if they aren't willing to risk getting injured, they should not be paid so highly. It's a part of the sport and they know that going in.
Think of great teams in NFL history. The 1970s Steelers, the 1985 Bears, the late 1990s-2000s Raiders. They played physical football, they made hard hits. They would be embarrassed by these new rules.
If the NFL continues to pacify the sport, we might as well start bringing vuvuzelas and cheer on punts, kickoffs, and field goals, because football will be just as big of a panzy sport as futbol.