As a young child there are things you learn while watching sports, especially when you're exposed to them almost 24/7.
Watching baseball, I always envisioned myself as the next great home run hitter as I smoked tennis balls in the backyard. Whether it be Dave Parker, Ken Griffey Jr, or Greg Vaughn, whomever was the Barry Bonds during each baseball season I wanted to be just like him.
Watching basketball I idolized Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Todd Day, and pretended to shoot just like them in my bedroom making every shot as if I was playing NBA Jam.
And watching football, well ... I always cheered for the offensive player. At the same time, though, my father always preached about how great players like Dick Butkus were because they played the game how it was supposed to be played. I didn't care though, because I was all about Sterling Sharpe, Barry Sanders, Roger Craig, Jerry Rice, and Cris Carter. Yeah, they were the players I desired to watch, because all they did was score touchdowns.
Now, as I sit this week thinking about all the big hits from last Sunday, the casualty list that continues to grow bigger, and the way the NFL is handling it, I also think about the true message being conveyed here. In other words, a bigger picture has been brush-stroked on my professional football canvas.
The way I see it is this new "vicious hit" policy the NFL now plans to enforce, much to the dismay of probably 90% of NFL players offensive and defensive, is just another way to manipulate the constant change of rules to favor keeping the offensive stars at the forefront. Why?
Backup to what I had said earlier about my personal sports favorites during my childhood. Now think about the why.
My canvas says that if I line up William Perry, Chris Hovan, Warren Sapp, and Jared Allen against Barry Sanders or Brett Favre that more people will tune in because they want to watch Sanders or Favre. Why? Because they score touchdowns in exciting fashion.
My canvas also tells me that I would have much better ratings if I had Deion Sanders lining up on Jerry Rice than if Aeneas Williams was trying to blanket Andre Reed. Why? Because Deion and Jerry score touchdowns, while Aeneas and Andre are technical football artists.
Yes, Hines Ward fighting off Ray Lewis sounds like a tasty treat for the MMA fighters of the world, but the average fan would much rather watch Randy Moss jog around the field in purple in hopes that he might make one big one-handed touchdown reception. Why? Because most NFL fans are drawn to the big play.
It's sad, but players like James Harrison and LaRon Landry don't appeal to the average NFL fan, who only knows his/her own home team. Why? Because they don't see those players as often on the highlight reels as they watch Sportscenter. Instead, they see Terrell Owens high-stepping to the end-zone or Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson sprinting past defenders. That's the NFL; all offense and no defense.
So in an effort to protect his greatest assets -- the offensive playmakers -- Commissioner Roger Goodell has once again created a rule to favor more offensive production. Why? Because it sells more seats, it creates more viewer-ship, and it ultimately generates more money.
Yes, I know, the path the NFL is headed down is not the yellow brick road for those who know the game inside and out. However, to the average Joe who has the red-zone slippers on, the road shimmers like gold. And let's face it, you're already sucked in to the game itself because of the rise of fantasy football, the excitement of the overall game day experience, and the offensive talent that hits the field. Why would commissioner Goodell care about you, when Benjamin is hollering at the unknowledgeable Joe?
So go ahead, hoot and holler all you want about how the new rule is idiotic, doesn't make any sense, and takes away from the integrity of the game, because I did and it's true. However, just keep in mind that you're the one who may be to blame, especially if you like seeing exciting offensive touchdowns. $#*!, I know I do.