Discipline and Team-First Attitudes AreTaking Back the NFL

Sean O'BrienCorrespondent IOctober 4, 2008

The 2008-2009 season has been an interesting one to say the least—a roller coaster of ups and downs. 

We’ve seen the best QB in the league knocked out for the rest of the season in Week One.  We’ve watched in awe as the Miami Dolphins upset the New England Patriots.  We listened as Brett Favre retired, unretired, signed with the Jets and threw a career high six touchdown passes in one game. 

We even get to watch the reigning Super Bowl Champs enter Week Five undefeated.

The thing that has surprised me most, however, is how hard the league has begun to crack down on it’s players.  Last year it seemed the NFL was more reminiscent of The Longest Yard then it was Invincible.  Though the Bengals are still riddled with criminals (and apparently adding more), the rest of the league seems to be finally laying down the law.

What does that mean for us fans you ask?

It means for the first time in a long while we don’t have to look down on our favorite sport or the men in charge of it.  Finally, something is being done to stop bad behavior.  Teams are coming first, before individual players and that’s how it should’ve always been.

Steve Smith acted up during the preseason by punching teammate Ken Lucas in the eye and what happened?  He was suspended for two games.  You might ask, what are they thinking suspending their star wide reciever for two games?  They were thinking team first.  The outcomethe Panthers started the season 2-0.

Defensive tackle Ed Johnson got caught speeding and was arrested for possession of marijuana.  The Colts waived him only one game into the season.

Now we come to the most glamorized issue.  The suspension of Plaxico Burress, star wide receiver of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.  Apparently, Mr. Burress thought himself above team rules just because he caught the game-winning TD in the Super Bowl.  Guess what Plaxico?  You don’t get to skip practice just because you’re a star.  Not in Coughlin-land. 

The Giants docked Burress two paychecks and suspended him from tomorrow’s game against Seattle.  Know why?  Because when you play for New York, team comes first (isn’t that right Jeremy Shockey?).

Our final example is good ol’ Tommie Harris, who apparently missed treatments on his injured right knee.  Why did he miss treatments?  We may never know.  It seems as though Lovie Smith doesn’t buy his excuse though. 

If Harris is going to put his team in the best position to win by treating himself, Chicago would rather he didn’t play.  He was suspended for tomorrow’s game against Detroit.  I doubt they’ll need him anyway.

It’s about time the commissioner isn’t the only one handing out suspensions.  Kudos to the coaching staff and owners of the above NFL teams for putting their teams first and by extension, their fans.  We applaud your sound judgment and sense of honor.