There are a whole lot of things I love about America. Hot dogs, Coke Zero, Scotch and fireworks are just a few reasons. But one of the things we, as a country, get to do is speak our mind whenever we want. Sometimes this is good and sometimes this is real bad. If you get on the internet, you can find some quotes from people that are just insane.
Well this morning, Bernard Pollard decided to chime in on the state of the NFL. Here is what he said about the future of the NFL; "Thirty years from now, I don't think it will be in existence. I could be wrong. It's just my opinion, but I think with the direction things are going -- where [NFL rules makers] want to lighten up, and they're throwing flags and everything else -- there's going to come a point where fans are going to get fed up with it," he told the website. Guys are getting fined, and they're talking about, 'Let's take away the strike zone' and 'Take the pads off' or 'Take the helmets off.' It's going to be a thing where fans aren't going to want to watch it anymore."
Contrary to what you may think, I have never played for the NFL. So, this perspective is totally as a fan. To say that in 30 years the NFL is not going to be around, is one of the most asinine things I have ever heard. It is coming from a guy who is none around the league as a hard hitter. He has been fined for a number of hits over his career, most notably a $15K unnecessary roughness penalty, and the infamous helmet to Tom Brady's knee in 2008. This just seems like a frustrated player venting about being fined and not allowed to play the game the way he wants to play.
I think you could argue that the rules are changing the game, but you would be hard pressed to say that they are ruining the game. NFL is at it's highest now, and will only increase. It is one of those things that people will watch, even if they do not have a vested interest. The Pro Bowl this weekend got a 7.7 rating, which is a decrease from last year's 7.9, but it is still real good. The Pro Bowl is nothing, a total offensive game, but people watch for that reason. The Super Bowl is one of the main reasons football isn't going anywhere. People will watch the Super Bowl, not really knowing why. My mom is excited about the Super Bowl this year, and has no idea who is playing, and probably won't know until halftime.
As in most jobs, you have regulations to protect the employees. The strides that we have made in these areas save lives. The problem with football, is that it is glamourous to hit someone square on. When Clowney sent Vincent Smith from Michigan into the 10th row in the Outback Bowl, everyone who read about it on Twitter was clamoring to get to a TV so they could watch it. But when Luke Joeckel blocks both linebackers to free up Manziel, you hear a good job and then never hear about that again. Because it's not sexy, or flashy, or bone crunching, but it is necessary. You can't have people flying around with no care about safety, it taints the game.
Fans realize this too much to leave for something else. You look around the league, and there are some of the most loyal fans in any sport. They watch the game because they are invested in their team, and it is their way of life. They live and die by their team and will do anything they can to support them. Fans will not jump ship if the refs are throwing too many flags. Plus, what else will they watch on a weekend? Nothing even comes close.
We have to realize that people's comments are conditional. If Pollard gets his legs taken out from him, or gets ear-holed, or is hit while standing there watching the play, he will be the first to stand up and gripe about his safety and wondering where the fine is.
My word holds no water at all, but the NFL isn't going anywhere for a long while, at least until Kathy Ireland starts kicking field goals again.