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The Game of Football Is Being Destroyed

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bill-swift - March 29, 2012

But the business of the NFL is thriving.

The game of football is great. You get 11 guys on each side of the ball. One side tries to advance the ball and the other tries to stop them. Typically whoever hits harder and hits first wins. It's awesome. It turns boys to men. It captivates millions and brings people together like few things can.

The only problem is whether people will be able to recognize it with all the changes and some of the actions that the league is taking (or thinking of taking).

Overtime

When the overtime rule was changed a couple of seasons ago for the playoffs many people were wondering why it wasn't made applicable to the regular season as well. There is no need to wonder now that the rule has been altered to include the regular season as well.

The idea was to give the overtime period more of a semblance of fairness since the side that won the coin toss often won. However, now the advantage goes to the other team since it knows that it has four downs to work with rather than three since punting is taken out of the equation.

This rule never should have changed in the first place.

Casinos

Casinos may soon be allowed to buy ad space inside stadiums. The idea behind it is since some teams already have sponsorships with local Indian tribes and many of them own and run casinos that the rest of the league might as well have the same opportunity.

Come on guys! Do you really want to get into bed with the casinos? How many times have players been accused of shaving points or getting in too deep with bookies? By bringing the game of football and casinos to the same table will be inviting speculation every season on whether a poor performance or bad call is just that or something else altogether.

Dallas/Washington and the Salary Cap

The owners voted once again to approve the salary cap restrictions for the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. Guys like John Mara of the Giants have gone as far as to say the two should be punished further, i.e. draft picks, for violating the spirit of the salary cap.

Now it is important to note that no salary cap existed. True the NFL typically operated under one, but at the time there was no legal restriction on how much money was spent. Logic dictates that if they want to spend money they can. The fact that both teams still sucked should have been punishment enough.

What makes this even worse is that the NFL pretty much forced the NFLPA into accepting it. Under the new CBA the salary cap was going to drop this year to somewhere between $113-117 million. That meant some guys were going to either take pay cuts or lose their jobs.

So to pacify the players, the league agreed to raise it up to $120.6 million, but only if the players would approve the league punishing the Cowboys and Redskins for overspending in the uncapped year. The league has tried to say that it warned the teams not to overspend, but since there was no restriction…?

Coincidentally, all the teams that penny pinched are getting away free and clean.

Junior Rule

Another major change came from the Players Association. Five years ago they made it illegal for agents to contact underclassmen. That restriction has now been tossed. Agents are essentially being let loose on these college kids.

All this will do is turn college football into something resembling college basketball. More and more guys will end up leaving college early for the NFL whether it's because an agent talked them into it or they took money and have to leave to avoid scandal.

The NFL would probably respond to that by saying that they'll just punish them when they get to the NFL (i.e. Terrelle Pryor). What they are forgetting is that a six game punishment is nothing to someone who is now making six or seven figures for doing the same thing they were doing for a scholarship.

Oh, and the program that the kid is leaving behind is getting stripped of scholarships and banned from bowl games in the process.

If the NFL is not careful, the game people love could very well turn into the business that they hate. All they may need to change their minds and their viewing habits is something else that is competitive, violent, fast paced, and exciting (i.e. rugby).

Article by Travis Pulver

Tagged in: nfl , sports ,



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