Is The NFL Getting Too Soft?
After the Baltimore Ravens lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, Ravens star safety Ed Reed was upset. Specifically, Reed—who was fined $50,000 a few weeks ago for a hard hit on Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders—was upset about the way that the NFL has been enforcing rules against defensive players. He feels as though the league is unfairly penalizing defensive guys and changing the way that they play football as a result of it.
“It sucks, man,” he said after the Steelers game. “It sucks really bad. It affects me, man. I thought about it coming into this game, ’cause obviously it happened the last time we played…I feel like [the league] was trying to make an example out of a couple of things that happened a week before. I didn’t want to do something for the NFL. A little bug told me there was something in the air about that, that they kind of had it out for me. That’s bad. I was like, ‘If you’re not going to support me as a player in your league, our league, why would you think I was going to come back and wear something on my shoulder pads to support you when you’re just fining us?’”
Reed refused to elaborate about exactly what the NFL asked him to do. But, he reemphasized just how much he hates how the league has essentially asked him and other defensive players to play “powder puff” football. And, we have to say: We agree with him. In the past, the NFL has promoted—and even rewarded—hard hits by defensive players. But, these days, you can’t even touch an opposing offensive player without the risk of a penalty flag being thrown. Did I hit him too late? Too high? Too low? Too hard? Too…well, you get the point. Those are just some of the questions that defensive players have to ask themselves out on the field—and they have about 0.005 seconds to do it before they hit a guy.
“It’s definitely changing the game,” Reed said. “It’s become an offensive league. They want more points. They want the physical play out of it, kind of. They want like powder puff to where you can just run around and score points ’cause that’s going to attract the fans. I understand you want to make money, but bending the rules and making the game different, you know, it’s only going to make the game worse.”
He’s right. Over time, the system that the NFL has in place right now is going to make things worse. What’s the answer? Well, for one, stop fining guys like Reed for doing their job. And, two, stop advising referees to throw flags for everything. It’s hurting defensive players. It’s hurting teams. And, overall, it’s hurting the NFL. Enough is enough. Stop it, NFL.