Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Football: it's just not that great

On the eve of the season opener (on a Thursday, which is dumb in itself), I'd like to declare once again that while I am fully aware that football is number one by a wide margin when it comes to sports fans favorites, to me it is and always will be a distant, distant third. I just don't like it as much as I like baseball or hockey.
You know what's wrong with the sport of football?
Lots of stuff. Do I feel like a hypocrite by being a participant in a fantasy league? Oh, you bet I do. That's a moral/ethical battle I'll need to resolve on my own.
But in terms of the actual game at the elemental roots of the way it's played? Here I go again, being old, but guys don't tackle anymore. I guess because mere tackles don't make it into highlight reels. Instead, players launch themselves like missiles, putting far more faith in their helmets than they should by leading with their heads, with the intent of a spectacular collision and not simply stopping the progress of the ball carrier. Naturally, that also lends itself to the alarming number of brain injuries these guys incur, but hey, fame has a price.
Need proof? Look at this highlight reel of Dick Butkus in action...

Notice how Butkus, who still holds the reputation of being one of the most fearsome players to ever play in the NFL wraps up ball carriers and drags them to the ground much more frequently than he initiates collisions.

A slightly more contemporary example can be found in the highlight reel of Buccaneers all-time great Lee Roy Selmon...
Selmon was an all-star who employed a similarly effective fundamental technique and ended up in the Hall of Fame.

Now, watch this dummy from the Arizona Cardinals look like a fool and fail to prevent a touchdown by choosing to try to "blow up" the ball carrier rather than simply push him out of bounds while he's in mid-air...
Yeah, I know I'm old but I'm right.

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