NFL's Next Move: Flag Football

Greg SquiresCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 21: Kenneth Darby #33 of the St. Louis Rams runs into umpire Garth DeFelice #53 against the San Francisco 49ers at the Edward Jones Dome on December 21, 2008 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The 49ers beat the Rams 17-16.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Oh, the joys of football season. Smashmouth football. Bone-crunching hits. Running backs vs. linebackers. Wide receivers vs. safeties. This is what NFL fans love about the game.

And the league is slowly but surely taking it all away.

Now, I understand the whole concept of them trying to make the game more safe. I understand the concept of making sure guys aren't getting beheaded. To an extent.

It's getting to the point where you're penalizing players for making an effort.

I'm not going to get into every rule that has been changed in the NFL over the years, but the game is drastically different then it was 20 years ago, and the new rule changes released earlier this week further prove the point.

I thought the whole reason these rookie contracts were so big now was because of the physical risks they could endure. If we're going to make the game softer, then the league needs to start paying them less. Are you aware that, last season, Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons made more than Tom Brady? That's absurd.

And if you're going to take out all these "risks" for the players, then we need to pay them less and drop ticket prices.

Every football fan that I know enjoys seeing the big hits. They make you jump out of your seat and desperately wait to see the replay 10 more times.

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Now, don't get me wrong, I don't like cheap shots, either. There's no need for that in the game. But they're taking away more than cheap shots.

Quarterbacks now might as well have a little square sewn onto the front of their jersey representing the only "legal" place you can hit them.

Nobody wants to ever see a stretcher come out onto the field to cart a player off. But it is always going to be a possibility as long as the game is being played. You can't keep making rules that stop you from giving an effort on the field.

These rules are, in essence, destroying the game as we know it. 

If a defender can not make a second effort to get to a quarterback once he's knocked down (as per a new rule released this week), then why should a quarterback be allowed to scramble out of the pocket? Or even pump fake, for that matter?

There is one huge reason that there is not a professional flag football league: It wouldn't get watched. And the more the NFL keeps taking the game away from the players, the that this is exactly what we're going to be left with.

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