Tuesday, October 26

The NFL's Star System Should Have Limits

Just a week after people worried that football players would be wearing skirts after "new rules" or rather new penalties were introduced, the last rule that would allegedly result in putting skirts on quarterbacks was being ignored. During the Panthers/49ers game, Carolina QB Matt Moore was hit low by a lunging defender and tweaked his knee. Moore's knee locked straight, looking eerily similar to the play that injured Carson Palmer in the playoffs (back when he was good). I was unable to find video, because well it's the Panthers and Matt Moore's not a star, but Head Coach John Fox was livid. A man more known for his clapping, gum chewing, and incorrect challenges the outward display of dismay was a refreshing site, although the referee's decision to ignore a potentially season or in Moore's case possibly career-ending (he's a free agent that has lost his starting job once this season) hit is inexcusable.

The Star System exists in sports. The Star System does not, however, have a place when player safety is in play. A hold that goes uncalled, more downfield contact allowed, or even the assumption of a penalty against another player when a star falls are all acceptable, even if unfortunate, plays where the Star System can emerge. Penalties designed expressly with safety in mind, however, should be above such a system. A player no matter how mediocre or ordinary deserves the same protection from the officials and the NFL when it comes to protection from injury. With some calls such as the horse-collar tackle the calls appear obvious and are most often correctly enforced, but a class system seems to have clearly emerged when it comes to protecting quarterbacks.

If the NFL truly cares about player safety (a whole other discussion) officials that miss calls when player safety is involved, should be fined/chastised/reprimanded publicly by the League. ESPN's mockery of a blown offensive pass interference call against Andre Johnson had a direct impact in the following weeks with Offensive PI being called more readily, even in some cases when it was unwarranted. If players can be publicly fined or suspended, the arbiters of the rules should face similar punishments when they fail in their duties to protect those same players. This public record would help to show players, fans, and fellow officials just how serious the NFL takes player safety. To implement a star system in these instances only shifts the weight to the negative in the NFL's constant balancing act between All-American and barbaric.

1 comment:

Cleet said...

It seems by your inclusion of that picture that Brady tries to get penalties under the safety rules because he is a star.

/He totally does