Collison Sport No More

We all remember what Tinkerbell looks like from the Disney classic “Peter Pan”, correct?  If not, here’s a reminder:


I used to hear commentators and foot stompers for the game of football say “This is not a contact sport, this is a collision sport!”  I’d like to know who exactly and when exactly it turned into a “fairy sport”.  Don’t get huffy, let me explain.

Yellow flags have been flying at a staggering rate during past last few seasons in the NFL.  My dreams have not turned to you, they’ve turned to penalty flags.  The rules have simply changed. I’d put money on the fact that we as fans, commentators, mild spectators, and of course the foot stompers, were not prepared for this wild mood swing in our beloved sport, just like we weren’t prepared to learn that Paris Hilton’s sex tape was something right out of The Blair Witch Project.  Yeah, that kind of unprepared.  I know, right?  Down right creepy.

Let’s rewind to approximately one year ago when Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison was considering retirement after being fined $75,000 for a hit on Cleveland Browns wideout Mohamed Massaquoi.

Massaquoi was drilled straight out of the game.  The hit was deemed somewhere along the lines of the defenseless receiver bit, but many in the football world could not help but say that it was either a legal hit, or in the very least “What the hell is the guy supposed to do?  Get teleported away from the play so he doesn’t hit him at full speed?  Put friggin’ air brakes on?!”  I agree, but Scottie isn’t around.  Maybe we should just go ahead and embrace this.

Fast forward back to the present.  In my eyes, there are hardly five plays strung together in the NFL that the little yellow pellet bag isn’t thrown from the belt of an official.  That should be the name of an indy alt rock group instead of the focus of what this league has turned into (Ladies and gentlemen… LITTLE YEEEEELLOW PELLET BAAAAG!!!!).  You can’t get through a punt play without our new favorite band having a jam session all over the field.  This past week’s Monday Night Football game between the Chargers and Chiefs even had the usually level-headed Ron Jaworski saying “Geez, just let ‘em play!”.

Beyond all that, if we are going to embrace this, we might as well put red jerseys on all of the quarterbacks.  Wait, what about the ones who already wear red shirts?  Ok fine, those dorky yellow caps they put on injured players helmets in practice so they don’t get hit.  It would go nicely with the pellet bags.  Hell, we may even be able to pull off a world tour with the LYPB’s and their opening act, Tiara’s for Quarterbacks.  That’s where Tinkerbell comes back in.  If QB’s are going to wear princess crowns, then every defensive player must have a tutu on.  This will serve to soften things up just a little more.  Walt Disney, eat your heart out.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the league is trying to protect players and there is an emphasis on concussions.  As my day job of an emergency medical professional of over twelve years has taught me, head/neck/brain injuries can be devastating.  However, this has gone far enough.  Short of putting ropes around James Harrison’s or Clay Matthews’ ankles so they can be pulled off of a quarterbacks grill while they are running at Mach 5 and the ball has just been released, I’m at a loss as to fix all of this.  I’m also a touch tired of every player putting their arms up and looking completely dumbfounded while searching for a flag like from the ref as if they play in the crybaby NBA, but that’s whole different story.  Let’s face it guys, we can’t have it both ways. 

To put it one way, if Steve Atwater, an All-Pro safety for the Broncos and Jets in the 1990’s played in today’s NFL, he would be bankrupt.  They didn’t call him “The Smiling Assassin” for nothing.  If he played today, maybe they would call him “Captain Hook”.