Definition of FOOTBALL according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
1: Any of several games played between two teams on a usually rectangular field having goalposts or goals at each end and whose object is to get the ball over a goal line, into a goal, or between goalposts by running, passing, or kicking.
2: An inflated oval ball used in the game of football.
3: Something treated roughly especially as the subject of a prolonged dispute
I composed this as I watch Monday Night Football. I have two loves outside of my family in this life, one is my desire for a fine cigar, and the second is American football. During this particular Monday Night Football exhibition, there have been several calls by the referees penalizing both teams for “unnecessary roughness” and “excessive use of force.” The defenders merely made open field tackles and the two players, the offensive player with the ball, and the defender, met while running. Unfortunate for the offensive player carrying the ball, he took the brunt of the hit, hence football. The problem is; referees are becoming so hypersensitive to new League rules regarding leading with the helmet and late hits, they are turning football into something it has no place being – pacified. Whether it is due to the League office coming down on the ref’s, or the ref’s getting soft as a result of fear that they will be called in on the carpet due to a “bad” or missed calls, persons responsible need to reeducated the League office and the referees on what the game of American football is all about.
Now I do not advocate a player who acts in a retaliatory manner after the whistle has been blown, nor am I stating that players who tackle with intention of causing unnecessary bodily harm should not be held accountable and made examples of. I think the League should make the penalties stiff for flagrant abuses on the field. But, come on, we are talking football, aren’t we? Football is a game where 22 men are opposing each other, 11 to a side, with one objective in mind; do what you must to get the ball or stop the other team!
Football is not a feel good game of winning a popularity contest (unless it is on your sideline); it is about physical endurance, accuracy, and timing. When a five-foot six-inch 190 pound Running Back Darren Sproles is met by a six-foot four-inch 264 pound Shawne Merriman, stuff’s gonna get hurt, particularly Darren Sproles’ stuff. It is the nature of the beast. The players know it, the fans know it, and it is time the ref’s learn it!
Football is a physical game, stop trying to deny its identity. That is exactly what it is and if you do not like it, do not watch it. Change the channel it is that easy. Ref’s if you do not want a physical game and you do not have the testicular veracity to stand up for the sport then maybe you should referee tennis or water polo and leave football to the real professionals; the ref’s who realize what football is about. League office, lift your heads out of your checkbooks long enough to consider the impact on the calls you make, and more importantly, the calls you do not make, the calls that have a lasting impact on the sport; after all, they do provide you those fine amenities you take for granted and enjoy.