I'm beginning to wonder about the beginning of the end of full-contact sports. I'm beginning to wonder if we need more rules every time something "bad happens" in a full contact sport. Are we turning our modern day gladiators into wusses?
These are just some of the things I've been hearing around the water cooler lately (though our water cooler looks more like a sink). If you're not familiar with last week's Bills lost to the Steelers, one of the most talked about plays that didn't have to do with Stevie Johnson, was James Harrison's hit on Bill's QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Leading with the crown of the helmet cost Harrison $25,000 last Sunday, bringing his total fines for the year.....$125,000. Dang! I think back to Fred "The Hammer" Williamson and his flagrant hits on receivers, didn't he play in Pittsburgh, in fact it's where he got the nickname. He was causing concussions before most NFL players were even born. Believe me when I say I do not want another Bills QB to have a concussion, but I do realize this is the embodiment of a full contact sport. You are going to get hit and you are going to get hurt.
It seems as though Hockey is going through the same wussification. "Rule 48" - Illegal Check to the Head
48.1 Illegal Check to the Head – A lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact is not permitted.
I mean there's already Boarding, Charging, Checking from Behind, Clipping, and Roughing. Did we really need another rule? To me it's just turns the game into more of a figure skating contest rather than a full contact sport. These guys get paid big money to give and take big hits. That's what happens in full contact sports. Has anyone seen a rugby match? Okay so there are rules governing hits there too, and I'm not looking for vicious, intentional acts against other players. I just wonder if you will be able to call Football and Hockey, full contact, when you can't "hit" certain players (goalies, quarterbacks).
Then you add in the fights, wow I never saw this coming it's so rare that you see a literal fistfight in football. So when Tennessee Titans corner back Cortland and Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson ripped off each others helmets it was no surprise that I saw the replay 100 times on ESPN. They both got slapped with $25,000 fines each for thier fight, but what did that solve?
If the NHL and NFL were serious about these infractions they would suspend players. It's the only thing the players respond to, being put in time out. It seems like the NFL and NHL have learned from the our government, just make everything illegal that way when someone breaks the law you can fine them, and raise your own salary! Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, makes over 7 million a year, and Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, makes close to 10 million. Why suspend a player that brings in revenue and ratings through dirty hits when you can make more money from them by fining them. Of course maybe I'm just a conspiracy theorist. Let the game be played as it was intended to be played, with full contact between players. Suspend players that consistently break the rules. Stop creating new rules to say the same thing.