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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Student Ramble: Jan. 24, 2012


Photo courtesy of Jilig on Flickr

The NFL has had a long, proud history of amazing defenses. The
Packers of the ’60s, the “Monsters Of The Midway”, and the “Steel
Curtain” are just a few of the countless legendary teams that have
built their legacies on their defenses. The modern day NFL is a far
cry from that. Starting with the rule changes in 1978 (concerning
pass blocking and pass interference), and continuing with the more
recent suspensions for helmet to helmet hits and unnecessary
roughness the league has turned into an offense driven air show,
instead of a hardened gridiron where real men play a dangerous

It’s no secret that offense drives ratings. Would you rather see a
14-10 game (that Tim Tebow’s not playing in) or a 38-31 game? You’d
rather see the higher scoring game, and there’s no shame in that.
The problem is that people are too caught up with offensive
successes, and are forgetting about the superstars on the other
side of the ball, and in some cases, vilifying them. Fantastic
football players such as James Harrison and Ndamukong Suh are
getting torn apart in the national sports media because of “dirty”
(or hard, depending on how you see it) plays that they’ve made.
Sometimes I like to imagine if great defensive players like Dick
Butkuss or Sam Huff were playing in this era. It’s likely you
wouldn’t see a-lot of them, because they’d thrown out of games
after a couple of plays for the things they did. 

Football has softened up in other ways as well. Players are missing
more time with injuries than they used too, and teams that were
once outdoors have since moved inside (you know who you are,
Vikings). The game is built for big fantasy football numbers and
healthy quarterbacks who throw for 6 touchdowns in a game. I’m
tired of this. I want to see good, clean hits appear on highlight
reels instead of acrobatic catches. I want to see punts being
blocked instead of punts being returned for touchdowns, and I want
to see low scoring games get recognition for outstanding defense,
as oppose to ridicule for being “boring”. 

So I’ll conclude by dusting off an old NFLPA battle call: “let ’em
play!”. Let players be physical, and still find a way to keep the
game safe. The refs these days will call a penalty if a receiver
gets dirt in his eyes, and that’s just unacceptable. The league
could learn a thing or two from hockey, where they let the players
play the game as long as it’s safe, and that’s what sports are all
about. In my opinion, the best refs are the ones who you don’t
notice when you watch a game. Their job is to keep the game safe,
not turn into a 6th grade gym class game of two hand