The NFL's Bounty of Trouble

Even football fans know the difference between a hard tackle and aggravated assault.

What is it called when football players are given significant sums of money to hurt their opponents on the field? You may think the term is "National Football League." But apparently it's "bounty."

That's what the New Orleans Saints allegedly paid for any hit that left an opposing player groggy, bloody, lame or otherwise unable to continue his participation in the contest. A league investigation found that rewards started at $1,000, for a hit that required someone to be assisted from the field -- and went as high as $10,000 in one playoff game for delivering Brett Favre's head on a platter.

The system reportedly was financed by players, with fatherly assistance from defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. And the practice had sturdy roots. "The NFL said that neither Coach Sean Payton nor General Manager Mickey Loomis did anything to stop the bounties when they were made aware of them or when they learned of the league's investigation," reported The New York Times.

It would be an overstatement to say that anyone is shocked by the news that teams would succumb to the temptation to try to win by underhanded means -- or that players would get extra cash for separating a quarterback from his senses. It's a violent game; winning is good for your career; and gentle souls tend to get weeded out in high school.

Even victims shrugged off the report. Former San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman, whose knee was injured in what he says was a bounty-inspired hit, wrote on Twitter, "Why is this a big deal now? Bounties been going on forever."

Favre, who suffered an ankle injury in that game with New Orleans, told Sports Illustrated he wasn't mad: "It's football. I don't think anything less of those guys."

Nor is it exactly unprecedented for players to act with malice aforethought. In 1977, St. Louis Cardinals offensive lineman Conrad Dobler's habit of punching, kicking and spitting on opponents landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated as "Pro Football's Dirtiest Player."

Oakland Raiders safety Jack Tatum permanently paralyzed New England Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley—and the title of his memoir, "They Call Me Assassin," did not ooze contrition.

Chicago Bears great Dick Butkus, who occasionally left bite marks, once insisted, "I wouldn't ever set out to hurt anyone deliberately unless it was, you know, important—like a league game or something." It didn't keep him out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But the advance of civilization, or something, has brought a diminished tolerance for wanton destruction. Pitchers are no longer allowed to bounce baseballs off of hitters' heads, and the National Hockey League has taken steps to prevent concussions. Even football fans know the difference between a hard tackle and aggravated assault.

Under the relentless spotlight that is focused on major sports, standards are bound to become tighter than in the old days. After all, we no longer blithely accept child labor or deadly mine disasters or rivers that catch fire from pollution.

If the NFL fails to take vigorous action to stamp out bounties, it runs the risk of alienating fans and steering parents toward soccer and volleyball. Anyone who thinks strict rules will produce a sissy game is welcome to test the thesis by getting between Ray Lewis and a running back.

Fortunately, bounties shouldn't be hard to banish. Combating steroid use requires a comprehensive and sophisticated testing regime because many athletes fear they need performance enhancers just to stay in the game. Getting a bounty is not so enticing because it has no career payoff. Players and coaches can be cured through penalties that greatly exceed the rewards.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell merely has to make a few conspicuous examples. Ban offenders for a season, levy six-figure fines, strip teams of draft picks and voila, no one will think $1,000 is worth the risk. The NFL could also offer handsome bounties of its own to anonymous tipsters.

Any rule can be circumvented, of course, and proving a scheme of this sort may be hard. But the NFL doesn't need to be infallible in detecting such misconduct. It only needs to instill in potential cheaters a significant fear they'll be caught -- and the certainty that if they are, they'll pay a high price.

The NFL has a penalty called "unnecessary roughness." Goodell now has to prove it's not an oxymoron.

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  • Archangel||

    Just a quick correction, I think it should be the Rams not the Cardinals. I don't think the Cards have an offensive line.

  • Neanderthal with a Big Hat||

    Organized sports are for entertainment of domesticated primates (city slickers.) Keep in mind that domestication simultaneously:

    • culls naturally occurring evolutionary traits
    • selects for docility
    • maximumizes agricultural city-statist production for the owner class
    • reduces brain size in domesticates (33% in birds, 18% in pigs, 10% in humans)

    No wonder you neotenized pusscakes can't understand what I write. You're as neuro-biologically incapable as a White Cornish chicken bred for factory farms is incapable of living in the wild.

    ____________

    If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking?
    http://discovermagazine.com/20.....-shrinking

    The Domestication of the Human Species
    Peter J. Wilson
    Yale University Press
    http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.....0300050325

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    Officer am I free to gamble on football?

  • You are now free...||

    ...to roam about the prison and swap prison trinkets with your free market buddies.

    Also, anybody identifying the prison of agricultural city-statism as a prison needs locked up.

  • Spartacus||

    I guess that explains the complete lack of popularity of football in rural parts of the country.

  • Rural drudgery isn't primitive||

    Farming is just another part of the agricultural CITY-State.

    Try again, loser.

  • Spartacus||

    Well, I guess I am PWNED. As masterfully as one could ever expect from this commenter, no doubt.

  • Don Coyote||

    If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking?

    If modern computers can do so much, why are they shrinking? Eniac was 3 x 8 x 100 feet. The PC in front of me is 1 x 10 x 15 inches.
    The elephant knows, with its 11 pound brain.
    And the sperm whale, with its 17 pound brain.
    Ants have the largest brain in proportion to body size in the entire animal kingdom.
    They will understand Gambols With Officers.

  • Analogy is always suspect||

    Are you saying human brains have become more efficient per cubic centimeter?

    Is that why there's smoke coming out your ears now?

  • Don Coyote||

    I'm saying you're citing brain size as proof of a problem out of context of its shown performance.

    The only smoke here is coming from the pork shoulders slowly roasting in the Weber. It's a beautiful day here for it.

  • You're falsely assuming...||

    ...that humans are smarter than elephants and whales.

    Every see an elephant or whale domesticate themselves and shrink their brains like humans have?

    Ever see elephants or whales get themselves addicted to oil, where they can't live without a resource that won't last more than a few lifetimes?

    Brother raven is laughing at you too, domesticated chimp.

  • Don Coyote||

    You're falsely assuming...|3.8.12 @ 10:01AM|#
    ...that humans are smarter than elephants and whales.

    LOL! Please present any evidence for that. Please excuse any typos. I'm laughing too hard to see well.

  • laugh, monkey, laugh||

  • Don Coyote||

    laugh, monkey, laugh

    OK, so no evidence. Thank you.
    Please enjoy the rest of this lovely day.
    Best,
    Monkey Boy

    "Where are we going?"
    ..."Planet 10!"
    "When?"
    ..."Real soon!"

  • CE||

    Ever see elephants or whales get themselves addicted to oil, where they can't live without a resource that won't last more than a few lifetimes?

    If the whales were really that smart, they would have asked us to switch from whale oil to petroleum a lot earlier than we did.

  • Don Coyote||

    If the whales were really that smart, they would have asked us to switch from whale oil to petroleum a lot earlier than we did.

    Unlike elephants, they kept forgetting. The elephant were just too self-conscious about all the junk in their trunks to talk to us. Ants have secretly domesticated us (CIVi[liz]ation, as WI would say) so they can harvest our food sources to build and fuel their Emergent-Behavior Bio-mechanical Universal Gigantotron (E-BBUG) robot starship.

    /sarc

  • ||

    Football is for city slickers? Never been to the backwoods, have ya?

  • OuterSunsetLocal ||

    Ah, the irony of someone who has little experience living in the wild spending hours each day on a libertarian website commenting endlessly about how great the hunter gatherer lifestyle is. He wouldn't last five days living in the wilderness. If he really wanted to live that lifestyle I could give you directions on how to find some hunter gatherers in real life, but that would destroy his little fantasy world. I spent time with a Huarani tribe on a tributary of the Rio Napo in far eastern Ecuador. If this clown could stand a few weeks living their life I would be surprised. Much easier to endlessly make ridiculous comments on this site.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    If he really wanted to live that lifestyle I could give you directions on how to find some hunter gatherers in real life

    I offered him the use of a piece of wilderness land and gave him a general description. He immediately attacked the condition of the place, specifically the part most likely to feed him.

  • OuterSunsetLocal ||

    Ah, the irony of someone who has little experience living in the wild spending hours each day on a libertarian website commenting endlessly about how great the hunter gatherer lifestyle is. He wouldn't last five days living in the wilderness. If he really wanted to live that lifestyle I could give you directions on how to find some hunter gatherers in real life, but that would destroy his little fantasy world. I spent time with a Huarani tribe on a tributary of the Rio Napo in far eastern Ecuador. If this clown could stand a few weeks living their life I would be surprised. Much easier to endlessly make ridiculous comments on this site.

  • OuterSunsetLocal ||

    Ah, the irony of someone who has little experience living in the wild spending hours each day on a libertarian website commenting endlessly about how great the hunter gatherer lifestyle is. He wouldn't last five days living in the wilderness. If he really wanted to live that lifestyle I could give you directions on how to find some hunter gatherers in real life, but that would destroy his little fantasy world. I spent time with a Huarani tribe on a tributary of the Rio Napo in far eastern Ecuador. If this clown could stand a few weeks living their life I would be surprised. Much easier to endlessly make ridiculous comments on this site.

  • OuterSunsetLocal ||

    Ah, the irony of someone who has little experience living in the wild spending hours each day on a libertarian website commenting endlessly about how great the hunter gatherer lifestyle is. He wouldn't last five days living in the wilderness. If he really wanted to live that lifestyle I could give you directions on how to find some hunter gatherers in real life, but that would destroy his little fantasy world. I spent time with a Huarani tribe on a tributary of the Rio Napo in far eastern Ecuador. If this clown could stand a few weeks living their life I would be surprised. Much easier to endlessly make ridiculous comments on this site.

  • OuterSunsetLocal ||

    Ah, the irony of someone who has little experience living in the wild spending hours each day on a libertarian website commenting endlessly about how great the hunter gatherer lifestyle is. He wouldn't last five days living in the wilderness. If he really wanted to live that lifestyle I could give you directions on how to find some hunter gatherers in real life, but that would destroy his little fantasy world. I spent time with a Huarani tribe on a tributary of the Rio Napo in far eastern Ecuador. If this clown could stand a few weeks living their life I would be surprised. Much easier to endlessly make ridiculous comments on this site.

  • OuterSunsetLocal ||

    Ah, the irony of someone who has little experience living in the wild spending hours each day on a libertarian website commenting endlessly about how great the hunter gatherer lifestyle is. He wouldn't last five days living in the wilderness. If he really wanted to live that lifestyle I could give you directions on how to find some hunter gatherers in real life, but that would destroy his little fantasy world. I spent time with a Huarani tribe on a tributary of the Rio Napo in far eastern Ecuador. If this clown could stand a few weeks living their life I would be surprised. Much easier to endlessly make ridiculous comments on this site.

  • Why Men LOVE Sports||

    “It’s the men of your culture who are being hit the hardest by the failure of your cultural mythology. They have (and have always had) a much greater investment in the righteousness of your [agricultural] revolution.

    "In coming years, as the signs of collapse become more and more unmistakable, you’ll see them withdraw ever more completely into THE SURROGATE WORLD OF MALE SUCCESS, THE WORLD OF SPORTS.

    "And much worse, you’ll see them taking ever more violent revenge for their disappointment on the world around them, and particularly on the women around them. The Taker dream has always been a man’s dream, and the men of your culture imagine that the collapse of this dream will devastate them while leaving women relatively untouched.”

    ~Daniel Quinn
    Cultural Collapse
    http://www.lejournalmural.be/e.....-1.html#15

  • Comcast Sucks (Coxswain Hardy)||

    Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings.
    -- George Will

  • MNG||

    Funny quote and I like your handle as they are indeed a national scourge.

  • Spartacus||

    Whereas baseball consists of committee meetings punctured by, well, nothing, really.

  • ||

    Well, maybe beer.

  • seguin||

    Punctured by consultation.

  • Jeremiah||

    But the advance decline of civilization, or something, has brought a diminished tolerance for wanton destruction.

  • Sean Mack||

    Here's two strange things for a reason contributor to write:

    1) "After all, we no longer blithely accept child labor or deadly mine disasters or rivers that catch fire from pollution."

    People stop "accepting" these things when they can afford the cost of avoiding them, period. It has nothing to do with the refinement of morals and manners.

    2) "Players and coaches can be cured through penalties that greatly exceed the rewards....NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell merely has to make a few conspicuous examples."

    So, since no one in his right mind will ever admit to placing a bounty, you want the league to arbitrarily ruin a few individual careers on scant evidence in the name of sending a message?

    What could be unfair or impractical about that?

  • MNG||

    "People stop "accepting" these things when they can afford the cost of avoiding them, period. It has nothing to do with the refinement of morals and manners."

    You don't think there is any case of a law being passed on moral grounds? WTF?

  • wareagle||

    you cannot enforce morality. Ironically, society used to do that on its own through this miraculous concept known as shame -- people avoided certain activities not only because the activity could hurt them, but also because it would reflect badly on their families and/or communities.

    Decades ago, the pregnant teen was farmed out to some distant relative and the child likely put up for adoption. Today, it's practically sanctified. A generation ago, civil discourse was more or less confined to the issue at hand. Today, it's about attacking opponents on a personal level. And if morality based laws worked, we would have no alcoholics, wife beaters, drug addicts, child molesters, and a host of other issues.

  • ^^more fibertarian bullshit^^||

    Just because enforcement isn't perfect doesn't mean its not effective.

    Or are you gonna bullshit us how automobile safety laws haven't been effective at reducing deaths, just because some people still die in crashes?

  • the bilover||

    Cars are made safer because of technical innovations. Some of those innovations were made in response to legislation, which is in many cases a veiled form of public outcry.

    Note, however, that people still drive like assholes. For instance, New Jersey.

  • Legislation=legitimate public||

    ...participation.

    Welcome to the librulz fold, bilover.

  • Ace||

    The fact that every automobile on the road in America exceeds legal safety standards, tells me that automobile safety laws are completely pointless. You can thank the markets for demanding safety, thank you very much.

  • Bee Tagger||

    From what I've noticed, Steve Chapman rarely passes commenters' libertarian purity tests (I honestly don't mean that negatively toward Chapman OR commenters). And "reason contributor" doesn't always mean "most libertarians will agree", which is just one reason I like/respect Reason.

  • libertarian purity test||

    Thanks for admitting libertarianism is mostly a Fundamentalist Evangelical movement, akin to any other religion.

  • the bilover||

    Isn't it time YOU got right with Jesus, lpt?

  • CE||

    Except that we're right, and they just believe whatever they're told.

  • MNG||

    Well said BT.

  • MNG||

    Related: John Madden (sort of?) says to threat QB's like kickers

    http://profootballtalk.nbcspor.....is-needed/

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    Understandable. Madden watched his boyfriend Brett Favre take so many hits over the years.

  • Lowdog||

    And this is why I can no longer really watch football.

  • yeah, but you used to...||

    ...and you liked it.

    I bet you still like sausage and rule-of-law and Koch-funded political commentary too.

  • The decline of city-Statism...||

    ...is real progress.

    Unless you're a docile, domesticated pusscake with a small brain with neotenized tastes.

    Then you need that cage. You need city-Statism (civiliation.)

    Yet some vestigial human characteristics remain, and you mewl to "freely" swap trinkets between the prison bars, and dare call that "liberty."

  • MNG||

    WI-I've defended you at times in the past. But look, this is a football thread, not one about the perils of moving beyond a hunter-gatherer society. Can we save that discussion for another thread please? Thanks.

  • protefeed||

    WI-I've defended you at times in the past.

    Why? Spam =/= intelligent dissent

  • MNG||

    The sheer volume is of course indefensible at times, but I like to give folks the benefit of the doubt at times and in that spirit I hold out the possibility that WI is engaged in turning the "slaver" rhetoric back on to minarchists by positing an uber-anarchist persona.

    Maybe it's naive.

  • Turnabout is fair play.||

    And funny.

  • db||

    I've wondered the same thing in the past, but the sheer wall of text quality , denial of any possibility of arguing his points, monomanaical focus on trivial points, and lack of any good faith response to challenges has convinced me WI is the product of an unhinged mind.

  • MNG||

    He/she's certainly doing their best to support that conclusion...

  • List = libertarian strengths!||

    Unless somebody else does it.

  • the german||

    "Anarchists" who clamour for the death of six billion people are slightly more entertaining than the "Social" anarchist who prance around with hardcore leftists.

  • The only clamoring for death||

    ...is in ATLAS SHRUGGED.

    Atlas these days reads almost like a Peak Oil survivalist fantasy. Rand apparently accepted a form of Malthusianism which held that we have too many philosophically undesirable people in the world. Just withdraw the energy supplies (Galt's motor, Ellis Wyatt's shale oil, Ken Dannager's coal) that sustain them, and the resulting die off will restore Earth to its Objectivist carrying capacity. ~Mark Plus

    October 10, 2007
    "To a gas chamber - go!"
    AynRandContraHumanNature
    http://aynrandcontrahumannatur.....go_10.html

  • MARKET FAILURE||

    Ok then, it's about market failure.

    Reason commentary is arguing that:

    • Hitting hard is OK if it's not for money.
    • Hitting hard is bad if it is done for money.

    NEXT: Walter Block, our highly esteemed Austrian economic scholar, is adding a chapter in his book Defending the Undefendable, called "The Hitman: Free Market Principles in Football Performance."

    For the love of money for football performance is the root of all evil.

  • MNG||

    All right, I tried. It seems you're determined to be a jerk.

  • The revealer of contradictions||

    ...is always The Jerk to the holder of contradictions.

  • 655321||

    Fuck off, rectal.

  • 654321ZERO||

    Fuck on, fuck off, Daniel-son.

  • 655321||

    Poor rectal. All she wants to be is a disruptive cunt and we just won't play along.

  • 654321ZERO||

    Stop disrupting me, cunt.

  • ||

    Cut it out, you two!

  • Mr. Saveloy||

    Godesky's monomania won't allow him to differentiate MNG.

  • GUMMIT! GUMMIT! GUMMIT! GUMMIT||

    a single pathological preoccupation

    let's talk about monomania

  • 655321||

    Stay on script, shit-for-brains. Today you are supposed to be a primo-anarchist. This character is supposed to hate government just as much as we do. Our hatred of government just doesn't go far enough.

  • You love government aggression||

    ...when it favors your interests. So, yeah, it just doesn't go far enough.

  • 655321||

    The mask slipped, twat. Maybe keep a a character journal next to the book you claim to be writing.

  • Mr. Saveloy||

    He has to talk about his schtick, all Jason knows about football is that the fat kid in the Batman t-shirt gets picked last,

  • Jason LIVES||

    And you're pissing your Fibertarian panties.

  • Mr. Saveloy||

    Yes-I'm clearly terrified of his obvious woodland survival skills. There'll be Cheetos aplenty come your primitive utopia Godesky.

  • Monomania about Jason||

    It's libertarian.

  • Mr. Saveloy||

    All you have to do to make it stop is disappear fat boy.

  • Monomania about Jason's fat||

    It's libertarian.

  • Mr. Saveloy||

    Doesn't make you any less of a fat loser though.

  • Monomania about Jason's fat||

    It's libertarian.

    And I'm not even Jason!

    Strong delusions are libertarian too.

  • Mr. Saveloy||

    Well, maybe you're not (I mean you obviously are, but never mind). At the very least you're one of his fanbois and, really, how pathetic is that?

    I mean, basically what you've got is this sad loser from Pittsburgh who enjoyed his Anthropology classes just a little too much and you've elevated him to some great thinker who you quote obsessively.

    I tell you what though Jason. I'll make you one little bet about living your primitard lifestyle just to see if you can do it and if you can I'll grant that you have a viable solution to the problems that face mankind. Just go without toilet paper for one month. Just one month. After all, there'll be no toilet paper in primitopia. (continued)

  • Mr. Saveloy||

    You can use the natural substitutes right now. Just go and gather them up and use them when you take a dump. Hell, just prove it to yourself. Maybe you're not just some fat random loser from Pittsburgh (I mean you obviously are, but never mind). Go on-do we have a bet?

  • Monomania about Jason||

    It's so libertarian.

  • Mr. Saveloy||

    So that's a no then?

  • Monomania about Jason||

    It's so libertarian.

    As an answer to your ignorant "bet:"

    You use publicly funded road. Go without them. Is the bet on?

  • Mr. Saveloy||

    Sure Jason-I work from home and I paid for the road to my house. I'll stay off of public roads for one month (something that is totally within my own control, like your toilet habits) and you use a natural substitute for toilet paper. Name the start date (now is fine with me).

  • Mr. Saveloy||

    One more thing-the same terms apply, if I can do this, you have to grant that I have a viable solution to the problems that face mankind.

  • Publicy Funded ROADZ are good!||

    As long as you pay your fair share of taxes to fund them.

    Welcome to the progressive fold, Mr. Saveloy

  • Mr. Saveloy||

    Gosh-I could swear that I never said anything even remotely close to that. No bet then?

  • ||

    But everything's organic. You should live longer.

  • Comcast Sucks (Coxswain Hardy)||

    The Arena League starts this month.

  • Spartacus||

    Arena football is great for the spectacle. It's also more personal...when the guy is standing in the endzone to receive the KO the front rows are only about 20 feet away and you can get right into the dude's face and either cheer him on or taunt mercilessly.

    The cheerleaders are much closer, too.

  • CE||

    Or grab his jersey so he can't run back the kick. That happened a few weeks ago.

  • MNG||

    I understand why the Colts had to let Manning go, I probably would have done the same thing were I Irsay. But it's sad to see that kind of thing trump 14 years of a loyal relationship.

    It reminds me of the Marx quote about how capitalism works "“It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of Philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation."

    Or the Edmund Burke one: "the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophists, economists and calculators has succeeded"

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Yeah, they should've just cut him a check for $28 million and hope he can ever throw another NFL pass because of all the passes he threw before.

  • MNG||

    Like I said, I would likely have done the same thing. I'm just pointing out a source of unease with capitalism for many, how it promotes "cold, icy calculation" over other sentiments.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Except when the many go to Wal-Mart or negotiate on a car or move to a better-paying job or whatever. The unease is mostly when other people do something on the basis of money, not when they do it.

  • MNG||

    Oh, I dunno about that. You've never had to decide to stop doing business with someone you've had a long business relationship with and that you personally like because the "icy calculations" just didn't work out anymore? It's nothing to celebrate...

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Where did I say it was something to celebrate?

    I wonder how many people decrying the cold, cold Colts go out of their way to pay more. Probably damned few.

  • MNG||

    No, you didn't say that but you said the unease was only in seeing other people do it, and that's not true. People experience that unease at times themselves when they realize that this calculation must trump other sentiments.

  • the bilover||

    I'm going to have to cut you two off. I just can't make the numbers work. However, rest assured that I do have some unease about this.

  • Emperior Wears No Clothes||

    MNG,
    Nobody's stopping you from giving away your time, your labor or your possessions.
    Stop lecturing us on some perceived limp-wristed weakness of capitalism.
    What a fkn pussy.

  • MNG||

    One last thing about the Manning-Colts thing: while it was a gamble as to whether Manning would play and play well again, Luck is no sure thing either. Lot's of much ballyhooed "sure thing" college QB's have turned out to be very expensive duds themselves...If Irsay goes for Luck now, he has simply traded gambles to some extent.

  • Sparky||

    The only difference being: Luck is a fresh young gamble where Manning is a broken, nearing retirement gamble. I would probably take those odds if it was my choice.

    As to your other comment, NFL pro football isn't really a sport anymore, it's a business like any other. Players, coaches, and owners all understand this now I think and any "loyalty" only extends as far as the end of a contract. Is it unfortunate? Maybe. It does seem like some of the fun has gone out of the game when players stop trying because their contract is in dispute. It doesn't look like it's going to change though and at some point the huge momentum the NFL has going may wind down. Another player strike could even kill it outright.

  • Fluffy||

    I was just happy to see the headline, "Manning Released By Colts".

    Especially after a year of getting to see the headline, "Colts Lose Again" week after week.

  • MNG||

    Dude, you better get used to those "Colts Lost Again" headlines for at least a year or two more, even if Luck is everything they say he is, which is a big if...

  • Fluffy||

    Nonono, these headlines all made me happy.

    I hate the Mannings. And the Colts. And the Giants.

  • MNG||

    OK. I share the latter half of your hate.

    I hate how the Giants play disorganized and sloppy half of the season and then suddenly turn it on and win out through the Super Bowl. Makes me sick.

  • CE||

    Luck is no gamble. He's a younger and more athletic Peyton Manning. Do you really think Stanford had 23-3 talent the last two years?

  • ||

    Was it a business relationship or a marriage?

    Much of Marxist thought seems to pride itself on being scientific.

  • ||

    Was it a business relationship or a marriage?

    Much of Marxist thought seems to pride itself on being scientific.

  • ||

    Or you can go the Packers/Favre route, where you keep your beloved QB around for 3 extra seasons until everybody hates him and the GM.

  • ||

    "But the advance of civilization, or something, writes Steve Chapman, has brought a diminished tolerance for wanton destruction."

    That's laugh! We've got a Democratic President and 3 out of 4 GOP candidates itching to bomb Iran!

  • MNG||

    That's an odd equivalency considering the big news story this weekend and into the week has been Obama saying "we must give diplomacy a chance and not rush to war" while the "3 out of 4 GOP candidates" responded that such talk amounted to appeasement.

  • Bill||

    Obama probably is a bit less eager to attack Iran than the GOP dipshits. But this week they are trying to figure out a way to intervene in Syria, which will be much tougher than Libya.

    Obama needs to have something to distinguish him from the GOP so his folks will vote for him, so he will mouth the things they want to hear for the next 9 months and then keep doing whatever he wants. At least judging by what he's done so far.

  • MNG||

    "But this week they are trying to figure out a way to intervene in Syria"

    Even there the leading GOP voices have been calling for immediate air interventions while the administration has said no.

    And I agree, any intervention in Syria would be much tougher than it was in Libya.

  • the bilover||

    Anyone who thinks Americans have a diminished tolerance for wanton destruction needs to see my place after the kids have a party on a weekend.

  • Civilis||

    Talking about wanton destruction with regards to modern military tactics is a bit of a laugh in and of itself, given the vast sums we waste trying to reduce collateral damage from our military operations.

    Under what circumstances today would we consider thousand-bomber air raids using incendiaries acceptable?

  • ||

    Some kid smoking pot out behind the garage would probably qualify.

  • Civilis||

    On the contrary; a lot of the issues we have are due to a similar insistence that we can have everything perfect. We want war to have no collateral damage and no friendly casualties= bazillion dollar defense budget.

  • Civilis||

    Somebody might OD on drugs leads to prohibition 2.0. A cop might get shot means all cops must be equipped like a SWAT team and go in armed. Somebody might not be able to afford birth control means the government must mandate that every employer provide their employees with insurance that covers birth control.

  • the bilover||

    We don't want any collateral damage in the war on drugs, unless they are black or Mexican.

  • Civilis||

    The standard seems to be that a dead police officer is the worse than a dead suspect, at least as far as media perspectives go. The fact that the suspect may be innocent isn't a sufficient part of the equation.

  • np||

    maybe it's time we have a rugby league?

  • ||

    No pads = less stupidity

  • Gray Ghost||

    I've wondered if the NFL will mandate tackling at the waist or lower, as well as getting rid of special teams entirely.

    I wonder if the studies on CTE make football execs feel like tobacco execs did circa 1961 with the first tobacco cancer studies starting to come out?

  • Russ 2000||

    I would LOVE the NFL reducing roster sizes to 35 players (and a 10-man taxi squad). Anything that brings back the two-way player would make it a better game.

    A defensive player may think twice about blasting the shit out of someone when there's a better opportunity for revenge. But really, if the NFL players don't give a shit about these "bounties" then why should I?

  • Russ 2000||

    Canadian Rugby had a national TV contract in the US before the NFL did.

    Although I enjoy sports I understand why people would find any one of them boring. The thing I can't stand about the big-time football (NFL and NCAA D-1) is the games take 30 minutes longer than they did 40 years ago. One of the reasons I watch more hockey now than 40 years ago is because the NHL has actually sped up their games, from a typical 3 hours to about 2:45 - and that includes adding TV breaks. There's still an occasional dig in the corners that should be whistled that isn't, but it doesn't happen every game.

  • ||

    I say more blood. In fact, there should be a law that requires all the players to load up on PCP and Southern Comfort before every game. And all those pads. what a bunch of fucking pussies. Go watch that Lingerie league. Those women hit hard and don't have all those pads.

  • Spartacus||

    Quaaludes and tequila would be better, except for all the stumbling.

  • Fluffy||

    I don't think it's necessarily the advance of civilization here.

    Slapshot came out in what, 1976?

    And when Paul Newman goes on the radio and places a bounty on an opposing player's head, his GM calls him irate and screams, "We could all end up in the clinker for this!"

    So even in the savage 70's, and even in a sport where the players fought every night, it was generally acknowledged that paying a player to injure an opponent crossed the line into criminal activity.

    If you're hitting or tackling and a player is incidentally hurt, that's just football. If you assign a player to injure an opponent and pay him a bonus if he succeeds, that's a criminal conspiracy.

    Hell, I bet it would have been a criminal conspiracy to pay a pitcher to throw at somebody's head in the 20's.

    So it's not changing social norms or the advance of civilization or anything else.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Is it a criminal conspiracy if the shot that takes out the opponent is within the rules?

  • MNG||

    Excellent question.

  • Fluffy||

    In hockey, at least, any action taken with the intent to injure is against the rules, so as soon as you're even thinking about it, the hit is illegal.

    I believe back in the days when goalies had no masks, attempt-to-injure penalties were even occasionally given out for deliberately shooting the puck high, if the ref thought your intent was to hit the goalie's face.

    Wouldn't the unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness penalties cover any situation the commissioner would want to punish here, even if the hit was otherwise within the rules?

  • ||

    There are tort cases on this. When you agree to play a game, you agree to the violence allowed by the rules. If someone intentionally goes outside those rules to hurt you, they have committed a battery and are criminally liable.

    A few years ago an NHL player was prosecuted and convicted for going up someone's head with a stick. I think it was in Vancouver. But I can't remember the player.

  • MNG||

    The Vancouver case even resulted in a criminal case iirc.

  • MNG||

  • Hitting: OK. For Money: Bad.||

    Fucking Commies. Been reading Marx lately?

  • Fluffy||

    No, dummy.

    ALL the hits in football (and hockey) are "for money".

    It's a question of whether the hit is "to make a legal play" or "to injure".

    All players by taking the field are consenting to violent competition, within the rules of the game.

  • outside of the influence of $$||

    It's a derivatives market failure.

  • Bee Tagger||

    If you assign a player to injure an opponent and pay him a bonus if he succeeds, that's a criminal conspiracy.

    Or boxing.

  • Rush Limbaugh||

    Sandra Fluke wants Georgetown mandated to provide a Foxy Boxing league for her.

  • Mitt Romney Vulture Capitalism||

    I resent that remark.

  • ||

    So Goodell has to make more examples in his drive to turn the NFL in flag football with final scores that resemble the NBA?

    Remember when defenses actually stopped offenses on a regular basis? Remember when a touchdown was a big deal - and a penalty was a rare thing?

    Now the defense gets automatic "unnecessary roughness" penalties for even unintentional touching of the facemask or blows to a helmet. A running back, however, is free to stiff-arm a tackler in the face or lower his head like a battering ram.

  • ||

    You don't have to have violent hits to play good defense. If anything, the NFL, by tilting the rules so much towards the offense has made the game more violent. It is an interesting example of second order effects.

    In the 1980s the NFL made it illegal to make contact with a receiver five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. If the defender can't engage the receiver, he really has no chance against a well run route because the receiver knows where he is going. Action always beats reaction.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    You don't have to have violent hits to play good defense.

    You don't necessarily have to, but it helps. You don't think receivers had stuff on their mind other than running their routes and catching the ball when they played against Jack Tatum, for example?

  • ||

    Slant patterns used to be only for the bravest of the brave. And a coach would think twice about having a valuable receiver taking that risk and spending the rest of the game in semi-conscious.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Exactly. Players like Ronnie Lott, Steve Atwater, and Gary Fencik used to be feared because they'd annihilate anyone who came over the middle. Now, I'm surprised whenever a QB doesn't complete a 7 yd in.

    That said, you can't have an explicit bounty system. The fans are not paying to see guys carted off the field and not be able to play. Goodell is going to absolutely crush the front office guys who were unconscionably stupid enough to put this in writing (Williams, the agent/ex-con who was putting up money, maybe Loomis), and perhaps hit a few of the more visible players with multi-game suspensions (Vilma, Fujita). Hopefully, that will be enough pour encourager les autres to convince other teams to destroy all evidence of any bounty programs they had.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    re-Legalize hitting. Start fining the OC's if somebody gets hit too hard running a pattern over the middle. Make the field wider if we need more points.

  • CE||

    If the defender can't engage the receiver, he really has no chance against a well run route because the receiver knows where he is going.

    Unless the defender is Deion Sanders.

  • ||

    Defenses stopped offenses because defensive players actually understood that you stopped a player by tackling him to the ground instead of launching yourself at a player and hoping the shock of the impact would make him fall.

    Everyone goes for the showy big hit, almost with no regard for actually stopping the fuckers. This does two things: 1. endangers the ballcarrier AND especially the idiot tackling with his helmet or his shoulders, and 2. allows for more missed tackles less effective defense. So in order to combat these two predictable problems, the commissioner attempts to punish them, yet fans keep watching shitty, stupid defense, thus subsidizing it.

  • MNG||

    John and Timon make good points here: the tendency to launch at offensive players makes for showy hits, and lets admit often jars a fumble, but how many times have we seen the failure to wrap up and just go with a big hit result in the offensive player gaining many more yards?

  • ||

    Lots. But because the rule so tilted for the defense, giving up yards isn't that big of a deal. You are going to give up yards no matter what. You pay your defense to get turnovers because that is the only way you can play defense now.

  • MNG||

    You describe how my beloved Steelers have played for years. Teams could drive on them quite a bit, but they would sooner or later get a pick or turnover.

    Did you mean to say the rules are tilted in favor of the offense?

  • ||

    Yes. The rules are tilted for the offense. And I assume you are talking about the Stealer teams of the 1990s. The great ones in the 70s played a much different brand of football than you see today. Once in a while the NFL network will replay the 1979 Super Bowl between the Dallas and Pittsburgh. Watch it sometime. There were many fewer blitzes, more running the football and much better tackling.

    It is funny. The NFL is all upset about the violent hits and the safety of the quarterback. But most of the really violent hits and nearly all of the QB injuries take place in the passing game. The passing game is where the game opens up and the speed and the size of the athletes really comes into play. And gee, it is the league that has changed the rules to encourage more passing.

  • MNG||

    Oh yeah, the 90's and beyond, I'm too young to remember the old 70's Iron Curtain.

    I think Madden's point about equating kickers and qb's is that both are prone to injury when hit while they are not paying attention to the coming hit...Both are standing erect, often facing away from the coming hit, and we protect the former much more than the latter.

  • ||

    The problem is that it would prevent you from rushing the passer. Pro quarterbacks all have very quick releases. So a defender is coming after him and in a split second the ball is gone. You can't expect a defender who is bearing down a on quarterback to then magically stop when the ball is released. He has to be given some leeway to hit the quarterback after the throw. If you take that away, you take away the pass rush.

  • MNG||

    Ok, so here's twice I agree with you. Upon hearing Madden's comments wathcing ESPN I immediately thought "how could you have any real pass rush if they treated QB's like kickers?"

    Of course, they do rush kickers too though.

  • ||

    They don't rush the kicker, they rush the ball to block it.

  • MNG||

    They rush at him is what I was getting at. And if they get him when he has the ball they sure as heck rush him too. In theory the same could go for QB's, no?

  • ||

    It would totally change the game. You would be trying to block the pass rather than sack the quarterback.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    If they rush at the kicker, they are idiots heading Mach 1 for a 15 yard penalty. Those with a clue rush at where the ball will come off his foot. That's completely different than how QBs are rushed.

  • Loki||

    IIRC they have 2 steps to stop. More than 2 steps = roughing.

  • Fluffy||

    Right. And when it works, you make the Super Bowl. But then when it doesn't work in the Super Bowl, you lose.

    See: 2007 and 2011 Patriots.

  • ||

    Every team plays that way. It is just the Patriots do so even more because they have a lousy defense. But even the good defensive teams like San Fran and Baltimore play with the same philosophy. They just play it better.

  • MNG||

    I think the Pats play that way because they don't have star/talent-heavy defenses, so they do the best they can with organization and design alone.

  • ||

    Belichick doesn't want defensive stars. He want robots who go exactly were he tells them. He has consistently foregone the opportunity to draft high-end defensive players such as Clay Matthews.

  • ||

    That made it impossible to play read and react defense. Defenses couldn't play the offense straight up anymore and have any hope of being effective. So the defenses in response did the two things that were still available to them, blitzing the quarterback and forcing turnovers. Teams don't tackle very well anymore because tackling doesn't get you anything. What pays the bills for defenders is forcing turnovers. And that is done by stripping or hitting the guy so hard the ball flies out. There are more violent huge hits now because that is all defenders are paid. Sure, there were plenty of big hits before. But not as many because defenders were paid to tackle not just force turnovers.

  • MNG||

    I hear you, but let me add this wrinkle: while big hits sometimes cause turnovers the other big way to get them is the opposite: wrapping and holding the guy up while they get stripped by other players. That's the opposite of a violent hit.

  • ||

    Whoa, whoa, whoa.... did MNGe and John just agree on something? I haven't gotten stoned yet, so that ain't it. WTF?

  • ||

    You would think that. And the poor tackling drives me nuts. But the whole league operates under the assumption tackling isn't that important of a skill. Maybe I am right and they are all wrong. But something tells me they probably know a bit more than I do and the big hits are worth the price.

  • MNG||

    Well, this could be the case where personal incentives (getting the showy hit) could at times interfere with what works for the team, but I agree with you here, these guys and their coaches probably have good reasons for choosing the style of play they do. Hard to believe they would choose it for years if it didn't work (though sometimes cultures set in that don't work).

  • ||

    "Improved" body armor has only encouraged more big hits over fundamentally sound defense (and encouraged EA Sports Madden scores) since the dim bulbs that occupy said armor feel even more invincible.

  • ||

    Another example of second order effects. You would think better padding would make the game safer. It perhaps has the opposite effect. In rugby they don't wear any padding. And concussions are not a problem.

  • ||

    The only sort of tackle they have seen fit to actively ban in Rugby as far as I know is the "high" tackle (above the shoulders). Leading with the head is TOTALLY not a problem. Something about self-preservation seems to play into it a bit. Also, there's no such thing as forward progress in Rugby, so tackles HAVE to get a player down and keep him down (you CAN get up if you fall as a result of a hit, but no one is keeping you down). Because there's no forward progress rule, human missile tackling is lessened as well, because it doesn't get the job done.

  • ||

    Speaking of Rugby, anyone with DirecTV (maybe plus sports package, can't remember) can watch Super Rugby (best club Rugby in the world) starting very early Friday morning on into Saturday afternoon and sometimes Sunday on 490 & 490-1. It can be a lot of fun. Super Rugby season just started back up last week, I think.

    Start times are odd, owing to these being live events in New Zealand and Australia. Matches from South Africa are much more reasonably timed.

  • Loki||

    Sometime BBC America shows Rugby matches as well for those of us cheap bastards who don't want to pay extra for the sports package.

  • ||

    The rule back in the day was you had to stop their forward progress. That means if a guy is on the ground and still crawling the play goes on. They changed that at some point to make it he has to be down and touched. Again, I wonder if that also encourages big hits.

    I honestly don't think the people who run the NFL are that bright. They don't seem to think very creatively about how the game got so violent and how to change it.

  • ||

    In my rugby days, we always knew who the former football players were - the ones who immediately busted their heads open with stupid tackling.

  • ||

    There are other rules of tackling. You must wrap your arms around the ball carrier, ie, no barge tackling. Also, you can't go after knees.

    Another thing, even if you don't get the ball carrier down, if his teammates start pushing him, a maul is formed which is another setpiece in rugby.

  • Timon19||

    I was trying to keep it simple for John.

    But I wasn't really aware of the knee restriction, but it makes sense, because I rarely see it attempted.

  • ||

    It doesn't generally occur to rugby players to tackle at the knees. Knees tend to win versus faces.

  • ||

    On top of that, the increased use of protective padding (scrum caps, chest protectors) has encouraged harder hitting.

  • Russ 2000||

    You would think better padding would make the game safer.

    Anyone could have watched hockey in the 80's and know it was a lot more violent than the game in the 60's. And it's even more violent now.

    It isn't just the equipment though. You used to see a minimum of 4 roughing calls in a typical NHL game, now you can go weeks without seeing one. So much hooking and slashing is ignored and the stuff just escalates. at some point one must realize the league wants it that way. There are a lot more hits to the head that get ignored because all players have helmets now and most are using visors.

    Dressing one less skater makes the game cleaner but the NHL likes the violence even though they poo-poo it publicly.

  • MNG||

    What they need is pads like the old tag team the Road Warriors wore, that would really up the ante...

  • ||

    hahaha "Just walk away . . . from the endzone."

    I propose hockey helmets, soft shoulder pads with neck rolls/collars.

    Add safe tackling rules from the amateur no-pads tackle football leagues and I bet we'll see a reduction of injuries.

    And I really do like the idea of the one platoon system.

  • Russ 2000||

    Remember when defenses actually stopped offenses on a regular basis?

    I think MOST of the difference is that today defenses are trying to create turnovers more than they are trying to stop offenses. 30 years ago intentional stripping of the ball was rarely seen because defensive coaches wanted the player stopped more than they wanted the ball; trying to strip the ball instead of tackling generally gives the player WITH the ball a few more yards.

  • Fluffy||

    So apparently rectal can't make up her tiny girl mind.

    Some days primitive man was a gentle spirit who lived in peace and harmony with da Earf and shared the bounty of free food available to all with no effort;

    Some days primitive man was a virile murdering savage next to whom we are all domesticated geldings.

    Typical chick.

  • 655321||

    There are so many pills it is hard to keep up with them all.

  • Silver Fox||

    If only she'd arrange them by colour and took them accordingly...

  • 655321||

    If she took a whole month's worth of all of them she would become super-sane and be able to finish her Vampire Diaries slash fiction novel before her imaginary editor asks for the first draft.

  • Monomania about pills||

    It's libertarian.

  • Silver Fox||

    Money well spent then?

  • MNG||

    Depends on what anthropologist one is reading this week, Jared Diamond or Raymond Dart...

  • Wrong, Fluffy the domesticate||

    Primitive man was neither a romanticized gentle spirit nor a barnyard domesticate scrapping for pecking order.

    But your brain is too shrunken to grasp it. Idiocracy is here, now.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8rhIZJAdd0

    Go watch your football.

  • ||

    "Go watch your football."

    Oh rather, you let the mask slip. That is so your voice.

  • Monomania about "rather"||

    It's libertarian.

  • ||

    We know who you are.

  • Delusional much?||

  • Fluffy||

    That's idiotic.

    If primitive Man wasn't "scrapping for pecking order", then fuck him, he was a pussy.

    If he didn't scrap for pecking order, where's your evidence that he was such a manly man coming from? Anthropological rape fantasies? Give me a break.

    There are only three options here, dingbat: More violent, less violent, the same. Good old primitive Man has to have been one of those. If you can't pick one and stick to it, then we can know your whole shtick is BS.

  • Pecking order = DOMESTICATION||

    Chickens in their wild state don't have a pecking order.

    Pecking orders are all about social organization inside a cage.

    You can't even think outside the cage, Fibertarian.

  • ||

    Good thing there is no such thing as an alpha wolf. Good thing Lions don't have a pride organization.

    Social organizations happen outside a cage. How fucking stupid are you?

  • MNG||

    Speaking of Alpha Wolves, did anyone see The Grey? I've heard more and more people who've seen it tell me that the big, black alpha wolf in the film is supposed to be a metaphor for Liam Neeson's character's personal demons more than an actual wolf, and that is why he seemed so "fake" looking.

    Any thoughts?

  • ||

    I haven't seen it. So it is sort of a fight club all in his head thing?

  • MNG||

    I don't think so, that would be a bit too much, it all being in his head or a dream (though he does contemplate suicide and is involved in a crash that could have left him dead and the whole thing is a fantasy). It seems to be a straightforward story, but I have to admit that head wolf is pretty fantastical looking for some reason...

    It's not a bad flick. Not as good as Drive, but not a bad flick.

  • Alpha Wolf = anthropomorphized||

    Just like a goddamed stupid KOCHsucker from Kansas would say.

    Learn, you domesticated shitbird.

    Across the board, our “recieved wisdom” about dominance behavior in wolf packs has been terribly, terribly skewed and misleading. The so-called “alpha roll” is but one example. We have fundamentally projected our own civilized hierarchies onto the wolf pack.

    ...It is a bit like observing only the inmates of prisons when you are trying to understand human society, then extrapolating your findings to free-living people.

    Alpha Dogs, Wolf Packs & the Wandering Free Families
    by Jason Godesky | 15 November 2006
    http://rewild.info/anthropik/2.....index.html

  • ||

    Alpha Dogs, Wolf Packs & the Wandering Free Families
    by Jason Godesky

    LOL/. Godesky who is not a biologist, has no professional training or knowledge of the behaviors of wild animals in general much less wolves. He is a code writer in Pittsburgh.

    Godesky pulled a statement out of his ass. Come on Rather. That is just pathetic. The Godesky guy is sad and funny enough as it is. You shouldn't be citing him as authority. That is just making fun of him.

  • Monomania about Jason||

    Dr. David Mech is one of the most respected wolf researchers in the world.

    L. David Mech
    Dave Mech (pronounced Meech) is a wildlife research biologist who has studied large carnivores, especially wolves, and their prey.
    www.davemech.com/

    Godesky quotes him in the essay.

    Godesky shows how fucking stupid John is.

    John claims Jason is retarded.

    It's so third-grade level Fibertarian.

  • ||

    Godesky has no training and is nothing but a mentally ill mildly retarded guy who lives in Pittsburgh you have fixated on. It is creepy and wrong. Stop it Rather.

  • ||

    Seriously Rather. Goedesky suffers from some kind of mental illness and is probably mildly retarded. You are just making fun of him. You shouldn't do that. Whatever problems he has, and they seem to be legion are his cross to bear.

    You come on here and you quote his stuff. And all you are doing is trolling us and indirectly making fun of Godesky. And that is mean. Godesky has a lot of issues. And you shouldn't pick on people like that.

  • psychologically projecting?||

    Feeling picked on, John?

    Quit saying stupid shit, and I'll leave you alone.

  • ||

    Stop making fun of retarded people rather. Leave Godesky alone. The guy has problems. You are a really nasty rotten person for doing it.

  • What's the Matter with Kansas?||

    People like John.

  • ||

    At least I don't troll by making fun of some mentally ill retarded guy I found on the net. That is the lowest of the low Rather.

  • you are so messed up, John||

  • the bilover||

    Please cite references online which establish your claims of mental illness and retardation.

  • ||

    The quotes you give from Godesky speak for themselves. And that is the whole point of you putting them up here; so people can laugh at it and make fun of him. That doesn't always happen because the people on this board tend to be a bit earnest. But there is no question that is what you are doing.

    It is just nasty. Leave the guy alone. He never did anything to you or anyone on this board.

  • Fluffy||

    Chimps sure as hell do.

    And why would you use a pussy animal like a chicken as your example?

    Are you trying to impress me with primitive Man's virility by comparing him to the archaic chicken?

    "Fluffy, you would quiver in fear before primitive Man as he showed you the power of his lemming-like salamander-like carrot-like chicken-like ways!"

  • MNG||

    Maybe he was talking about gamecocks?

  • pecking order = a chicken term||

    And you didn't know that?

    Bad Fluffy! Bad Fluffy!

  • Monomania about rectals||

    It's libertarian.

  • Monomania about rectal||

    It's libertarian.

  • ||

    OK wow man so who comes up with all that stuff. Wow.

    www.Done-Anon.tk

  • ||

    Dudes! Who here ever wanted a web page full of nothing but kitten and titties. God bless the internet. NSFW.

    http://kittiesntitties.tumblr.com/

  • ||

    Thanks for the mammaries.

  • ||

    God bless Rule 34.

  • ||

    But the advance of civilization, or something, has brought a diminished tolerance for wanton destruction. Pitchers are no longer allowed to bounce baseballs off of hitters' heads, and the National Hockey League has taken steps to prevent concussions.

    This is misread of the situation. The rules that have been implemented, from hockey to football and elsewhere, aren't due to appeasing the changing tastes of fans. It's to protect their biggest stars and monkey makers for the league.

    If Payton Manning is sitting on the sidelines, the league's getting lower ratings than it would otherwise. If Sidney Crosby isn't playing, the ratings go down.

  • ||

    Fighting is still a big draw in hockey. Most fans complain when the refs call a penalty on a really big hit that wouldn't have been a penalty before. These changes aren't about appeasing the fans.

    It's about the leagues protecting their media celebrities that are driving their revenue.

  • MNG||

    Sort of. Lots of fans like the fights, but I think the league is somewhat worried about the equivalent of political "independents"; potential or very casual fans that might be turned off by violence scandals.

  • ||

    Possibly.

    I think it's that when the TV contracts weren't worth as much, nobody cared as much if any particular player got hurt. I think salary caps are affecting this too.

    Anyway, Sidney Crosby and Payton Manning are probably bigger draws to casual fans than the fear of violence. And it seems to be happening across sports.

    I think this um...what's the right word?... effeminazation of these sports is providing an opening for other sports to cut into market share. The less violent football becomes, the less of a contrast there is with soccer.

    I've found myself watching rugby, somehow, recently and that's never happened before.

  • MNG||

    Speaking of TV, here is an amazing thing about how much life has changed in recent decades: when ESPN covered the anniversary of Chamberlain scoring 100 points in a game they noted that there is no footage of the game because most games back then were not televised and taped. I don't think any pro sports events today go un-taped.

  • ||

    Odd contrast. Football has become more acutely violent, even if overall violence may have decreased. However, football does not have any chance whatsoever of becoming like soccer, or vice versa.

    Interestingly, early soccer (well before the split with Rugby and American football) was so violent it was often banned by the ruling elite.

  • ||

    However, football does not have any chance whatsoever of becoming like soccer, or vice versa.

    I think it's already moved halfway there in the last few decades.

    Playing defense isn't what it used to be just three years ago!

  • Timon19||

    The only real similarity is number of players.

  • Loki||

    Was it the game itself that was violent or the rioting hooligans?

  • Timon19||

    The game itself used to be a brutal village vs. village violence-fest.

  • Loki||

    effeminazation of these sports is providing an opening for other sports to cut into market share

    Could partially explain the popularity of MMA.

  • ||

    No. The complete and utter collapse of boxing explains the popularity of MMA.

  • ||

    It's to protect their biggest stars and monkey makers for the league.

    ...er rather "It's to protect their biggest stars and [money makers] for the league.

    ahem.

  • ||

    No rules have been changed in hockey regarding what is a legal hit and what isn't. They are just paying closer attention and actually enforcing the rules against hitting from behind into the boards and intentionally hitting to the head.

    The league is doing a much better job of policing that goonery after the fact, but the refs still aren't properly calling hits targetting the head.

  • ||

    I take issue with this whole "advance of civilization" bit. Something has happened to Europe and the US in the last forty years that has reduced our tolerance of violence. People accepted much greater risk just 40 years ago than they do now. That is not the general advancement of civilization. That is something peculiar to us. And I am not sure what.

    I watched a great documentary on Velocity last weekend on Formula I in the 1960s. Literally dozens of drivers and spectators were killed every year. The tracks had no barriers. The cars lacked safety harnesses. Graham Chapman, the founder of Lotus, cars killed all kinds of drivers include Jim Clark who was maybe the greatest driver who ever lived. It wasn't until 1976 that F1 had a season where no one died. Yet, no one but a handful of drivers seemed bothered by it. That was a mere 40 years ago. And it would be unthinkable now.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Car and Driver has an interview this month with Jim Hall, of Chaparral race car fame. In it, he's asked about why he stopped driving and he mentions something to the effect of he knew 21 good friends, guys and their families that he'd had over for dinner with his family, and they were dead now.

    Automobile racing to and through the early 1980s used to be insanely dangerous. You still do kill a few of them every couple of years (Senna, Earnhardt, Wheldon), but nothing like it used to be.

  • ||

    Yeah. I always wondered why Stewart retired so young. I was too young at the time time understand, he was doing it because he wanted to live to see 40.

  • Russ 2000 (make that 900)||

  • Russ 2000 (now 900)||

    Where the fuck did my content go?

    The change was the change in the insurance business. At least in the US, health insurance mutual companies could simply deny membership to the riskiest people. Now they have to take everybody so they mandate all sort of safety measures.

  • NotSure||

    There is always Rugby.

  • ||

    The lack of blocking is what ruins rugby for me.

  • ||

    That's an...odd argument. Does the lack of football-style blocking ruin basketball for you?

  • ||

    You can screen in basketball. And as I said below, it makes it boring.

  • Timon19||

    Basketball screens are so completely different, it's not worth discussing them.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Yes.

  • NotSure||

    I don't know what blocking is, if it is tackling without the ball, the game would never be able to flow.

  • ||

    Yeah, because of the restriction on hand-passing backwards only, if any energy was devoted to blocking, you'd quickly run out of players to pass to, and it would become a series of set pieces requiring LESS athleticism and cunning on both sides of the ball.

  • ||

    It makes it boring. it is fun to play but boring to watch. Sure there is action going on all of the time. But there are only a few people involved. The rest just stand around and wait for the runner to break out.

  • Timon19||

    Um, no. That's not even close to what happens. There are a few people involved directly in the ruck, but that's only part of it. TV can only focus on one part of the field at any time, so the focus on the ruck is natural. It makes it appear as if everyone is "waiting around".

    I wonder what you think the entire offensive and defensive lines are doing before the snap in football.

    Seems boring to me to just have a series of set pieces where a bunch of bulky motherfuckers run into each other different ways to enable either a fast guy to run or a prima donna to stand and throw.

  • ||

    All a matter of taste I guess. I find rugby more boring than soccer.

  • Timon19||

    A matter of taste indeed. I wish people would come to that conclusion before trying to make some observation that is either a) completely untrue, or b) pretty much an identical feature of the thing they prefer, just implemented differently, or both, in an attempt to make their taste appear "scientifically" superior.

  • ||

    I don't like the lack of blocking. I hate how the game flows. I watch a game and I see all these guys standing around watching the ball and think "why don't you people hit someone". I think American football has a better flow to it and is more interesting to watch. They may stop between plays. But when the plays happen it is wildly interesting and everyone plays a part.

    I think rugby is like watching paint dry.

  • Timon19||

    ...the fuck? The only time anyone stands is SOMETIMES during a ruck, and once they're positioned during a scrum, which typically ends relatively quickly.

    In comparison, there is virtually zero flow to American football in the same sort of sense.

    All I can say is that the reason you seem to think that "not everyone is playing a part" is because you don't understand the game in the least (and admittedly, camera angles don't help).

    I can say that I wonder why all these mountains of fat and muscle are hanging out in a three-point stance so much. "Why don't you people HIT someone????".

    Jesus...

  • ||

    They do hit someone. That is what makes football so interesting. It is a series of controlled violent collisions.

    And the guys outside the scrum are not doing shit except positioning themselves to be ready when someone breaks out.

    Soccer, because you can pass the ball forward, has more interesting strategy than Rugby.

  • Timon19||

    Why are you so selectively ignorant? The guys outside the scrum ARE positioning themselves, but it's rarely for long because there IS a protocol and the scrum-half WILL emerge with the ball unless the referee calls an infraction, in which case the fly-half or scrum-half will restart play pretty much immediately.

    When the scrum breaks down and the scrum-half pulls the ball out, those guys are immediately involved. Same basic thing in a ruck, but it's a bit different in implementation. They're positioning for a short time, then everyone's off doing something.

    Rugby may not have a forward pass, but it has a much more varied and robust kicking game which the defense MUST take into account. There is a shit-ton of strategy in Rugby, and the players are mostly coming up with it on the fly.

  • ||

    No, but there is rucking.

  • paul hughes||

    How far Reason has come from any being a libertarian magazine. I guess all you guys ever really wanted to do was work for the NYTimes after all.

  • AgCityStatist Progressivists||

    AgCityStatist Progressivists include the following:

    liberals
    libertarians
    neo-cons
    communists
    socialists
    progressivists
    conservatives
    republicans
    democrats
    maoists
    north-koreans
    fascists
    nazis
    conquestidors
    federalists
    anti-federalists
    [...]

    All agree that the agricultural city-State is progress from man's "sinfully" savage past.

    They only disagree on the sociopolitical arrangements.

    Expect lots of cross-over, Mr. Hughes.

  • ||

    Stop making fun of Godesky Rather. Leave the poor guy alone. Posting his stuff on here for everyone to laugh at is really nasty.

    We get it. It is funny. It is kind of sad. But it is not funny anymore. Not after people figured out where it was coming from. That poor guy should not be made fun of. You don't pick on people who can't fight back.

  • snidesniper||

    You wouldn't make a pimple on a real woodsman's ass go back to jerking off to Outdoor Life

  • Loki||

    I wonder what you think the entire offensive and defensive lines are doing before the snap in football.

    I've read somewhere that in a typical 60 minute NFL game there's only 15 minutes of real action. The rest is taken up between the snaps. They could make the game a lot more fun to watch if they just either shorten the playclock or do away with huddles altogether. Also changeing some of the rules that so heavily favor offenses as discussed above could help too. Just my 2 cents.

  • Timon19||

    Yeah, I think it's between 15 and 18 minutes. Get a decent programmer and you can auto-DVR an entire NFL game down to cable-news-attention-span-rivaling clip of moderate size. It would be like a long newsreel from back in the day.

  • ||

    But the action is good. There is 90 minutes of action in soccer. But very little of that is near the goal or anything of interest. A very large chunk of it is midfield play which is at best mildly interesting.

  • Timon19||

    The action is good if you think it is good. I have grown to dislike it quite a bit.

    In soccer, the action can be primarily concentrated ANYWHERE, including the midfield, but it can also be concentrated at either end (many Premiership matches have very little sustained midfield play at all).

    The Barcelona v. Leverkusen game yesterday was played almost exclusively within 30 yards of Leverkusen's defensive end with rare forays to Barcelona's end. Not much going on in the midfield except as a thoroughfare for counterattacks.

    It all depends on the game and the teams' styles on the day.

  • Loki||

    Doesn't the NFL network do this for some games each week? They basically edit out most of the between play stuff so that the entire game only takes an hour (with commercials).

  • Russ 2000||

    The Bears used to do it on local TV in the 80's.

  • Spartacus||

    My football rule changes:

    1. Get rid of the game clock. Games should consist of a number of possessions for each side.

    2. Get rid of these "breaking the huddle with 12 men" rules. Yes, I know why they exist.

    3. If grabbing the face mask is dangerous, then it should be a penalty when the ball carrier does it too. They get away with way too much in the name of a stiff-arm.

    4. A "forward pass" should be redefined to be a pass that crosses the line of scrimmage. All passes behind the line of scrimmage should count as running plays, and an "incomplete pass" in the backfield should be a fumble.

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    I never thought I'd see an article on Reason.com where the author went after performance based pay and corporate incentive programs.

    It's football fer chrissakes. Pussies need not apply.

  • ||

    When I think of the NFL a few words come to mind. Over paid and over rated.

    www.Done-Anon.tk

  • Yet Another Dave||

    I miss the good old days of pro ball, when players like Dick Butkus and Larry Czonka didn't think they'd played their best unless they had blood on their jerseys (usually their own). The difference, though, was their tough play was based on a love of the game and not out of a desire to add bonuses to their already over-inflated salaries. It seems to me that as pro athlete salaries have grown, the game has become watered down and there just isn't the same degree of passion on the field, if we're now having to shell out bounties just to get the defense to hit somebody.

  • Yet Another Dave||

    My bad - that spelling should have been "Csonka". Don't need him looking to hurt me just because I can't spell his name right .....

  • ||

    You're missing the most significant part of this story.

    It wasn't financed soley by the players. There is a twice convicted felon at the heart of this that was placing and paying many of the bounties.

    The NFL warned the saints that they had aquired emails of that individual discussing setting up the bounty system and paying out bounties.

    The NFL already sent out a memo to all the teams that details this felons interaction with the saints.

    That changes the whole thing. It moves this from cheapshot players having fun amongst themselves, to something that calls the legitimacy of the entire sport into question.

  • ||

    Really? Do you have a link to that? Because that part hasn't made the four letter network.

  • ||

  • ||

    Wow. Thanks. The NFL tried to handle this quietly. They told the Saints to knock it off in 2009. Payton and Williams are going to get killed for this. And rightfully so.

  • ||

    Its football. Get over it.

    I guess Chapman is going to write about boxing next...I mean hey, people get paid to hurt each other...

  • pussies go home||

    Effete metrosexuals have always complained about any contest of manliness that gives them the vapors. Boxing, military service, football, MMA, dodgeball in grade school - it never ends. Competition is part of the human condition and sometimes competition is physically brutal.

    Bring on the Rollerball! John-a-thon! John-a-thon! John-a-thon!

  • ||

    There is a difference between hard hitting physical play and people being paid by convicted felons to injure players on opposing teams.

    I wonder why someone like that would want players injured, specifically the star quarterbacks. Couldn't be because he has a known history and connection with organized crime and illegal sports betting could it?

  • Ace||

    If the players agree to assume the risk of injury for millions of dollars, why should we stop them?

    If we've learned anything from fans, it's that they LIKE big hits...pussifying the game would actually result in many fans alienating the game.

  • ||

    Big hits are only impressive when they are clean big hits. Pussies taking cheap shots isn't the least bit entertaining. Real men stand right in your face and challenge you.

    The pussification of the sport is allowing pussies to take cheap shots on people with illegal hits trying to injure them. Those aren't tough guys, those are cowards and losers.

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