Let me start this article by apologizing. This week was finals week at my school and I was absolutely swamped with work and sadly had to neglect my writing. One of the worst weeks for this to happen too, because I have somewhat of a rant prepared. I will start it off simple, the NFL is becoming soft. I bring this up because of the Brandon Browner hit last Sunday versus the Chargers. Ladarius Green was bobbling a catch from Phillip Rivers and Browner, who is known for some vicious hits on the field, absolutely leveled Green. At first impression, I thought it was a dirty hit. From the angle I saw the play it looked bad, but in actuality it was a beautiful tackle, leading with the shoulder and making contact Green’s shoulder. The play then continued with Devin McCourty catching the ball that flew out of Green’ hands and he ran it all the way to the house. An absolute monster play that would have swung the momentum in New England’s favor, only to be called back for a helmet-to-helmet penalty against Browner.
This is where I am getting angry. It seems as if whenever there is a crushing shoulder tackle on Wide Receivers in the secondary, there will be a flag on the field for helmet-to-helmet contact. Now I understand the league is looking out for the safety of the players; I understand and fully support that. However, it drives me absolutely crazy when the referees make calls like these. Why should Browner be flagged? For making a vicious (totally legal) hit? The man has made his living doing that, he is not the best coverage Corner in the league but boy is he a punisher. I played football growing up, it is a dangerous sport. You have to sign your life away when you play it. There is even a warning label you see every time you look at your helmet that explains the dangers of the sport. This warning ends with “To avoid these risks, do not engage in the game of football” these guys know what they are getting into, its not necessary to flag every vicious hit. Having said that, I appreciate everything the NFL and the referees are trying to do to protect the players, but these vicious hits are what make the sport so special. I fully understand that I just sound like an angry New England fan, and I may be just that, but my point still stands.
My frustration does not simply just stem from the fact a flag was thrown. Like I had said previously the first time I saw the hit live it was very quick at a weird angle on my television screen. From my point of view I believed it was dirty right off the bat, but when i got a good look at it, it was clear to me and anyone with a basic concept of the game that that was a clean hit. Helmets did not touch until after the initial contact was made, and even then it was just a light scrape. What frustrates me is the system the NFL uses in this situation. The
wrong call was made, 15-yard penalty against the Patriots which negated a touchdown. Meanwhile the play is being shown from countless angles, slow-motion just showing how it was legal-but nothing could be done about it at that point. The league has a rule that they cannot review those plays so this huge game-changing play is for not. Then a few days after the game the NFL disciplinary board meets, reviews the play and rules that Browner should not be punished. c’mon. There needs to be a better system than that for plays like this. This is not the first time something like this has happened, and surely it is not the last.
As a college student who dedicates his Fall semester weekend-afternoons totally to football, I am upset at how the game is taking its arguably best feature, the hitting out of the game more and more. You can’t touch the receivers past five yards from scrimmage, if you graze the quarter backs helmet at any point it’s a flag. I am just sick of it. What happened to old school football? Don’t get me wrong I love how the game has evolved and it calls for a little more athleticism, a little more razzle-dazzle, but nothing compares to tightening up your chinstrap and just dominating your opponent. At the same time the review system needs some work too, but that is an argument for another day. I know I sounded like the typical “spoiled New England” fan during that little rant but I still would be disappointed if this happened to another team as well. As a fan of the game in general I want it to last a long time. I know the way to keep it around is making it more safe, but soon they will be playing two-hand touch out there and I don’t know about you guys, but I will find another way to occupy my weekends if that happens.
P.S. Prediction: New England: 24, Miami: 17 tomorrow.