The NFL Is Becoming a Soft League

Michael SamuelSenior Analyst IOctober 17, 2008

Is football as tough as it used to be? Yesterday, on NFL Live on ESPN, Trey Wingo posed the question to analysts Rod Woodson and Mark Schlereth, asking if the NFL is becoming softer. They both were adamant in saying that the NFL isn't even as tough as it was when the two were playing in the 1990s. 

Think back to the 1960s of the NFL, with Dick Butkus and Ray Nitschke playing linebacker, a time when football was played with a physical, rough nature. Since then though, the league has put more emphasis on offense by eliminating a lot of rules that defenses were allowed to do. 

Now, in the NFL, a defensive back is no longer allowed to touch a wide receiver more than five yards away from the line of scrimmage. Roger Goodell, the current commissioner, is known to be a stickler for disciplining his players, coaches, and front-office personnel.  

Troy Polomalu thinks that all of the fines imposed by the league’s are simply for money as opposed to the concern and safety of the NFL’s current players. The NFL currently has a $3.7 billion television deal with FOX, CBS, NBC, ESPN and Direct TV, and this league still wants to collect more and more money. 

The NFL attracts fans because of the intense level of contact that is made by players on the opposing teams. The NFL profits off of sales of DVD’s that highlight the biggest hits in league history. Most of those hits were during the 1960s and 1970s in an era in which the players were allowed to make the contact that they needed to make a play. 

The bottom line is that when grown men are running full speed to make a play on the ball, and their helmet happens to be the leading part of their body when making a hit, they shouldn’t be fined $25,000.