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What Has Happened to the NFL? The Disintegration of Professional Sports in America
I am a big sports fan. I love the NFL and have been a lifelong Oakland Raider fan. Indeed, at 8 years old, I received a Kenny Stabler football uniform for Christmas. The NFL has always been a part of my life and I look forward to it every year. I love the fall season as it turns in the wind and football is a big part of that for me. So it is with sadness that I have watched professional sports in this country become totally neutered and a joke for any intelligent fan to watch.
It seems, however, that the NFL is becoming more and more like the NBA in that the players play the game and the referees decide them. Players no longer decide who wins the match on their own merits, the referees do. It’s sickening to watch when EVERY game contains multiple phantom pass interference calls. Peyton Manning gets another chance to touchdown because he’s been hit in the head – he’s wearing a helmet! Touchdowns are removed each game by a new rule that is not one, and all previous rules are ignored or interpreted differently. Fumbles lost where it obviously wasn’t a fumble, but it holds because the team had no more challenges to face. If you watch the games like me, you see it in every game. The referees replay and analyze to the point where it is no longer a game, but a war of interpretation of the rules. You can’t even watch a quarterback without shooting a 15-yard fine and penalty anymore and games are often decided late by pass interference. Just ask James Harrison of Pittsburgh what he thinks of the $100,000 fine he’s been fined this year alone.
Yes, winning the games by superior athletic ability, skill, training, planning, those days are over. Now, if the referees interpret the decisions in favor of your team, they COULD win. Or if your team contains a superstar player. For example, if Ed Reed or Ray Lewis hit hard, then they are great smash-mouth players. But if an Oakland Raider makes a hit, well the Raiders are a dirty team that shoots a lot of penalties.
It may have been replay and technology that changed games forever, but now, like basketball, football has become a game where whoever gets the most calls wins. You do not believe me ? It started with the “tuck rule” a few years ago when the Patriots secured a spot in the Super Bowl. Watch Kobe or Lebron shoot 15-20 fouls per game, EVERY game if you’re in doubt. Oh, and now, if you complain, you’ll receive a technical foul and be sent off after two, so fans can pay huge, overpriced ticket prices to watch the bench players play.
It costs an average of $450 for a family of 4 to watch an NFL game. Now, instead of watching the game, you can spend that money watching a referee stick their head under a balaclava and interpret a rule you didn’t even know existed. What a thrill!
Along with this, there will likely be a lockout between owners and players. Millionaires versus billionaires decide what to do with money from a game that isn’t even a real game anymore.
Maybe I’ll watch hockey…
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