Column as I See ’em

Let them play


With the growing number of combinations between football and technology, as well as everyone becoming more aware of the dangers within heavy contact sports, the rules of these games are constantly changing to make them safer for all players.
However, I believe that it has gotten to the point where football is almost unrecognizable due to the rules that are being put in place.
I believe that because of all the protections that quarterbacks have, football is no longer nearly as fun to watch or as competitive as it used to be. It is almost as if the quarterbacks are not allowed to be hit at all anymore. This truly ruins the spirit and fun of watching football.
New normals, such as roughing the passer calls, defined as hits on the quarterbacks in the head or neck area, and hits on defenseless players, have made the game of football more about penalties than playing the actual game.
More times than not, I see roughing the passer called on a hit to a quarterback that would’ve been a perfectly legal hit no more than 10 years ago and one that I would call a safe and legal hit. Such as during the Nov. 7 NFL game between the Rams and Titans, one of the worst and most controversial roughing the passer calls so far this season took place.
During the game, late into the second half, Rams defensive end Aaron Donald laid a perfect hit, leading with his shoulder, onto the Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill. This hit, which set the Rams up for a big stop on third down, was soon called back due to a roughing the passer penalty. This gave the Titans a free first down, which resulted in a touchdown at the end of the drive to ice the game.
Had it not been for this call on Donald on third down, the Rams would have been given the ball with just over five minutes left and only down 12. What would have been a very doable and exciting comeback between two powerhouse NFL teams was cut short due to what I believe was a lapse in judgement on the part of a referee.
The argument can be brought up that these rules are only in place to protect the players from serious injuries and to help them later in life. While I do agree that this is right and that any illegal hits that are dangerous should be penalized, the penalties that are called for quarterbacks are normally solid hits that I would not consider to be dangerous in any way.
When a quarterback is hit by a defender leading with his helmet, I believe that should be called all day long. But, what happens more often is that the quarterback takes a legal but hard hit and fights for a penalty, which they usually get.
I think the same goes for hits on a defenseless receiver. When something unnecessary happens and a player is hit in a way that could cause serious injury, I am all in favor of a penalty. But, just like in the case of most of the roughing the passer calls, the wide receiver gets hit legally and complains to the referees for a flag.
With all the extra rules in place to protect the quarterbacks from illegal hits, I find they do more harm to the game of football than truly help it.