Good morning Rumblers,
It's been a while since my last post, but I've been laying low and observing some things. This is the season of the "Mock Drafts", and I'm not a "mock draft" kind of guy so I haven't had much to add. So if you're looking for a post that discusses the draft, this isn't one of them. So you might want to hit the back arrow. But if you want to discuss a topic that is a little different and thought provoking; it might be a good idea to click "continue reading this post".
Okay, so I probably just turned off 75% of the readers on this site, because I refused to discuss the draft, but I felt it needed to be done. I think we all need a break from the draft talk speculation, even if it's just only for 10 minutes :)
So here we go.
Since Roger Goodell has taken over as the new commissioner, there has been some considerable changes in the NFL. Some changes I agree with, such as his zero-tolerance policy when comes to drug testing, and the cracking down on the off the field criminal issues. However, I am on record saying that I don't agree with how he's handling the safety issues in the NFL. I don't mind if you want to develop a special helmet that help prevents concussions, or require team doctors and officials to monitor the health of players. But I do mind the changing of certain aspects of the game that I enjoy and cherish. The new kick off rule, the "defenseless player rule", how the QB safety issue is handled, Over Time rule changes, and the lack of overall physicality. We and the players all understand it's a violent game; they're paid well for it and they take the risk. No different from Boxing, MMA, Auto Racing etc.
Now I understand that it's not just Goodell that's making decisions. There's a competition committee that discuss the rule changes. The committee consists of coaches, NFLPA reps, NFL officials, former players, etc. But of course Goodell spare head this whole thing and is the face of the NFL, so he'll continue to get the blame.
But here's the point I want to make. I'm sure my sentiments are shared amongst the majority of football fans. As fans, yes we are concerened with the safety of the players, but we don't want the game we loved to be watered down, correct? We want safety, but not at the expense that it infringes on our enjoyment the game So when is enough, enough? What can the NFL do to completely alienate it's fan base? It has been talks to completely get rid of the kick off entirely; largely due to player safety. Can this be the final straw for some fans?
What's strange to me and here's where I need your help. Oddly enough, even with all of these changes, the NFL is more popular now then it has ever been. TV ratings are through the roof, and it's easily the most popular sport in this country.
Has Goodell and crew made the NFL a better league? Has all the new changes and safety requirements actually improve the game itself? As a football purist, I'll say no. I hate how the game is played now. But I can't deny the success that Goodell and the NFL has had. And with that continued success; I'm afraid that we will continue to see more drastic changes. Would any of you be surprise to see next season, that QB's aren't allowed to be driven to the ground? Or QB's wearing a special red jersey like they do in training camp? I won't be surprised at all.
My theory is this: The NFL is looking to create a NEW NFL and a NEW fan. A fan that is more concerned with a lot of scoring, great looking uniforms, and players with a cleaner image. They're looking to appeal to the casual fan base, and individuals who aren't necessarily concerned with the X's and O's of the game. It's why they push Fantasy Football, continue to have these elaborate half time Super Bowl performances, and more sexy women on the sidelines and on television. I believe it's a conscious effort to transform the game in to this money making conglomerate. Unfortunately for us purist, the game of football is second. It kind of remind of me how the Madden Football game has transformed over the years. It's more kid friendly and unrealistic than year's past. It completely alienated its original and loyal fan base, to appeal to the younger and or the football illiterate fan, all for the sake of selling more video games. This is no different for the NFL. I understand why it make sense, but I'm not too happy about it.
Folks, this is where we are heading, like it or not. The Goodell train can't be stopped, as fans we have to determine if we are willing to jump off now or continue down the track to the NEW NFL.
For the record, I haven't bought a Madden game since Madden 05. Anything after that is completly crap :)