The National Football League is known as a gladiator league, where only the biggest and strongest can survive. But after watching various games over the first five weeks of the season, it is becoming painfully clear that the “wussification” of the NFL has begun.
Referees are favoring offenses more than ever, and at times, going out of their way to protect quarterbacks from injuries. Late-hit and roughing the passer calls have become far too commonplace in a league that prides itself on physicality.
Yes, the NFL is smart in trying to deter late hits, as injuries to any of the NFL’s stars can be severely detrimental to the league (for example, Tom Brady’s knee injury in 2008). The new “Brady Rules” were put into effect to stop hits below the knees. Rules already in place limit any contact to the helmet of an offensive player. All of a sudden, the space where a defensive player can hit an offensive player has become much smaller, making it tougher to make the play.
Current players have been grumbling about the restrictions, as All-World Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis was the latest to voice his opposition to the NFL’s new rules. As a fan of a notoriously physical team (the Giants), the recent calls made by the refs are of a concern to me.
Though I love watching high-scoring affairs every now and then, defensive showdowns are more exciting than two teams who don’t play defense. If I wanted to watch a league where defense isn’t important, I’d just watch the NBA. So sit back—the “wussification” of the NFL has begun.
Michael Perchick is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.