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The Integrity of the NFL is in Jeopardy

Lombardi's Way The Integrity of the NFL is in Jeopardy

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In England there’s an oft-used expression, “the bee’s knees”. It refers to an extraordinary person, place or thing. In the United States its street pseudonym would be, “the sh*t!”

You get the picture…

In the NFL these days, knees are a big topic and the buzz around them is extraordinarily unpleasant.

Players are going down with season ending knee injuries at an alarming rate and the NFL and their hypersensitive rules committee, which has inspired paranoid game officials to over-police games has only itself to blame. (Here’s a look at a recent NFL referees seminar)

Hits to the head, many inadvertent, are being flagged regularly. Even some hits that never involve head trauma are being flagged because they are close enough in the eyes of officials to being knocks in the noggin.

So in order to avoid fines and penalties that might be costly to their teams, defenders have lowered their targeted strike zones on ball carriers to the sternum on down, hence the rise in leg injuries.

Players’ knees are vital to their success. They are the axels to a finely tuned machine built for speed, strength and endurance. Take them out and a player’s effectiveness is severely weakened and his career potentially threatened.

During the 4th quarter of a game against the Browns, Packers TE Jermichael Finley suffered a neck injury after a hit from S Tashaun Gipson. Here’s Finley’s recollection of the play:

“I remember seeing the defender out of the corner of my eye, and I intentionally lowered my head and shoulders to protect my knees.”

Finley’s words bring to the surface two major issues:

1. How is Gipson to avoid a helmet-to-helmet hit at game speed when by his own admission Finley intentionally lowered his head because Gipson’s targeted strike zone was the legs?

2. How long before the league narrows the strike zone even more?

The week prior to the Packers v. Browns, Green Bay was here in Baltimore where Aaron Rodgers complained about a “cheap shot” by Matt Elam who dropped WR Randall Cobb at the knees. Cobb is now out for a few weeks.

It isn’t hard to see Rodgers’ point but then again what is Elam to do? He’s playing by the rules – rules that will probably be amended.

You know it’s coming. Next season the NFL will prohibit hits from the knee down. Penalties will increase as will missed tackles and offensive scoring.

EA Sports continually tries to refine Madden to be more life-like. Soon the league will look more video game-like.

And that won’t be “the bee’s knees.”

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin to being John Bonham. Follow Tony on Twitter @RussellStReport. More from Tony Lombardi
14 comments
biggus dickus
biggus dickus

why cant the league arrange the schedule so that the teams coming off a bye week are the ones who play on thursdays, that would give a 10 day off period and a 9 day off period,, and solve the problem,,, seems like an easy fix to me

purpleneons
purpleneons

The NFL is on its way to becoming arena football......in other words......a joke. Enjoy while you can....10 years from now the NFL will be sanitized to the point that video games will be better then the real thing.

john
john

Getting to be much like flag football, I would rather watch the girls play at the Baltimore Arena on a friday night then the Ravens. The Ravens are to expensive and the quality of the product has taken a big nose dive this year and I'm afraid for years to come.

Bruce_Almty
Bruce_Almty

Sarcastically I like to say that Goddell is softening the league up for the eventual merger with the lingerie league. But seriously, these Thursday games, the players have no chance to recover from Sunday. And to say they get 10 days rest after does no good for the players injured bc of the lack of rest//recovery b4 the game. My solution, the week b4 and the week after the Thursday games should be off weeks. Make the Thursday game something the players look forward to and the league could make the games feature games of the week with well-rested, capable teams playing.

charlie
charlie

is roger and his bosses really going to kill the golden goose?

JerryB
JerryB

No easy solution to the problem because trying to avoid contact injuries in the ultimate contact sport, is impossible! In fact, when players become obsessed with thinking about injuries and trying to avoid them, they may become more susceptible to injury! I'm old enough to remember leather helmets and don't recall head injuries back then being the problem they are today, but that's not easily quantified. Today's equipment, particularly helmets, arguably, are hard enough and heavy enough to cause injury even when hitting the ground! Maybe when it comes to some equipment, less is better! One thing is certain, however, and that's the league's hypocrisy on the subject of protecting players by insisting on teams playing on Thursdays without adequate recuperative time!

Neil B
Neil B

Good article. I think the game has changed a lot and not for the better. I am ready to give up my season tickets. The Raven's have jacked up the prices too much for what is becoming less of a game.

Ravcolt
Ravcolt

Then add in the fatigue factor from Thursday Night football and teams that have to fly to England for a home game, the NFL is totally out of whack. It's strange the owners permit it. I have still not seen any data on the additional revenue generated from these 'marketing' gimmicks by the NFL. When is some media entity going to ask the hard questions to the NFL? Where is the documented benefit to these costs?

Old Fashiioned Football
Old Fashiioned Football

It is getting to the point, that I don't enjoy the games as much as I used to. Truth be told, people like to see players get Jacked Up, and see hard hits. Football is meant to be violent, just like boxing. I really would like the rules to revert back to the way they were originally written, or at least turned back to the 1960s. Do I care if some of the popular QBs get hurt? Not really. If you let the players tackle, the way they want, there would probably be fewer injuries to the knees. Injuries in general are a part of football. If the players want to be paid, let them assume the risk.

John
John

Soon the NFL will be renamed NFFL- National Flag Football League.

Hut Guy
Hut Guy

Maybe the NFL can buy belts equipped with two little red strips extended from the belt at the hips....then would be a penalty and fine for grabbing below the belt !! WILL this ever stop ???!! Long live Artie Donovan !!

Thomas Crowley
Thomas Crowley

League has been in trouble ever since they denied guys got concussions from playing football. When there was evidence that came out to the contrary.

catgirl54
catgirl54

It is true, and one wonders if eventually football will even be a viable sport. By its very nature, it is violent and unpredictable. The violence is, unfortunately, part of the mystique. I don't think it can be made safe without ruining it to some extent. Eventually, the pendulum has to swing around to the middle, or the sport itself will disappear. Even now, the many penalties are becoming tiresome and the game seems to be stopped every ten minutes.

ranbotrout
ranbotrout

..or the NWFL - National Wuss Football League.

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