The NFL seems determined to continue its downward spiral toward becoming a two-hand touch league, as it has adopted a clarification on the rules for hitting quarterbacks.
This comes after New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady missed almost all of the 2008 season -- he played one quarter of the opening game -- following a hit from Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Bernard Pollard. If the same play were to take place during the 2009 season, Pollard would be flagged.
It's just another example of how the NFL intends to protect quarterbacks as if they were Faberge eggs, eliminating any and all physical contact. Hell, sometimes guys get fined for sacking the quarterback.
But is this really about protecting players, or is it about protecting investments and making money? Listening to Patriots owner Robert Kraft talk, it's pretty obvious it's about protecting investments.
From Christopher L. Gasper of the Boston Globe:
"I think all the quarterbacks in this league are critical to what the game is about," said Patriots owner Robert Kraft. "It's like if Peyton Manning were gone for a season, I think the whole NFL suffers, the same way the NFL suffered with Tommy out. So whatever we can do to protect quarterbacks and to minimize the opportunity of them being taken out with a year-ending injury I would support. ... It's not good for the league. What makes it special is special players. It's like going to see a great movie and the star isn't in the movie. It's the same principle."Yes, because the NFL ceased to exist without Brady. I don't want to see players get hurt, and I think it's unfortunate for the Patriots and their fans that their star quarterback was lost for the season, but football is a physical game and people get hurt. Brady wasn't the first star player to miss significant time, and he certainly won't be the last. It comes with the territory and rule changes -- or clarifications of old rules -- isn't going to change that.
I certainly don't want to see a rule-less, anything goes, XFL-type of anarchy on the field, reminiscent of when the gladiators fought to the death in the Colosseum, but quarterbacks are already placed in a protective bubble. My issue isn't exactly the clarification on hits to the knees, but simply defenders already being limited on what they can do to sack the quarterback.
As fellow FanHouse scribe Bruce Ciskie said via e-mail: "The problem I have is that for every hit that needs to be penalized, there will be 5-7 hits that shouldn't be penalized but now will be."
That's pretty much it, and the type of thing we've been seeing for a couple of years now.