I started sifting through my posts in Typepad and found that I had more than a dozen unpublished posts from the last 11 years. I'm not sure why I never used them, but I didn't. So I'm going to, on occasion, grab one and publish it unedited just to see how it goes over. That cool? I may add a photo or image of some sort because I try to make sure all posts have an image for the sake of making RSS aggregation prettier, but otherwise. I'm starting with one that I drafted back on September 8, 2008, at 6:55:50 p.m., at least according to the timestamp.
Hit me, baby, one more time...
I love football (of the American varietal). I love it like no other sport on this or any other planet. I love that the regular season has started. I love that my wife loves to watch football with me. I love eating ribs or chicken or wings and drinking beer on game day. And I love me the Chicago Bears.
This is the truth. Take it for what you will.
However, I do have one problem with football... it's the pussification (yes, that's a real word, I'm sure of it) of one of the most important positions in the game, the quarterback.
In recent years, the NFL has taken upon itself a role that should be assumed by the offensive line of a team, the protection of the quarterback. They've got rules in place that are meant to keep the quarterback from getting hurt. If you're on the defense and the timing of your hit is off, you get penalized. If you hit him too hard, you're penalized. If you hit him too low, you're penalized. If you look at him wrong, you're penalized. If you talk smack about his momma, you're penalized. If you tell him he looks fat in his pants, you're penalized.
Sure, some of this may be an exaggeration, but probably not by much.
We're almost at a point where we may as well put the quarterback in bubble wrap with concertina wire around him.
The last time I checked, the game was football. Hitting was part of it. Hitting is how you stop the other team from advancing (or it's at least one of the ways). SO LET THE PLAYERS HIT!
It bugs me that the game was once loaded with guys that were tough at all positions. And the quarterback hit people and would come out all bloodied up after a particularly difficult series. Now, God forbid the quarterback shed a drop a sweat anymore before the equipment manager runs out to mop it off during what has now become a wasted time out.
The league is full of pretty boys. The kinda guys that are bred for their non-helmeted looks and ability to woo fans of both sexes with their looks. And that's the truth of it, they are more worried about their marketability than their on-field prowess and this is to the detriment of the league. And the league is worried about it even more. Quarterbacks are not only the face of their team, but of the league as well. The league realizes how much value they bring to the game and want to do everything they can to protect them.
In last night's Bears v. Colts game, a penalty was called on the Bears. Many of us watching the game thought that the Bears' Charles "Peanut" Tillman had gotten his hands on the receiver a bit too much and drawn a pass interference call. Turns out that it was big man Brian Urlacher because he hit pretty boy Peyton Manning a quarter second later than he was allowed to. It was momentum that drove his arms into Manning. If he had pulled his arms out of the way to avoid hitting him, he would've lost all balance and fallen into him. I know this from my own football experience. You strike as fast as possible and hope that momentum and brute force carry you through the linemen on the other side and you hit your target. If you want to stop, it's a combination of prayer and reacquiring your balance that is going to do it. Urlacher would've done more damage to Manning if he hadn't used his arms.
And all this because we can't hit the goddamn quarterback.
Hey NFL, let the damned offensive line do their job and protect the quarterback. And let us, the fans, watch what we came here for, some real action. You're watering down your own product.