There was a time in the NFL when there was more gameplay and less penalties.
When I was beginning to watch football at a young age, I remember that the game was focused on the game play and spent less time on penalties. But, the game has definitely changed since then.
The conversation about penalties hasn’t come up in sports news. I’ve been thinking and talking about this for years with fellow football fans. I think the NFL flags players and makes tic-tac calls too often.
I’m not talking about false starts or too many players on the field. I’m talking about physical penalties, penalties that are called on another player because they barely lay a finger on the quarterback. There are penalties called because the defensive line is ‘holding.’ The penalties called during football games are distracting the viewers from getting into tempo with the gameplay.
Once upon a time, the defensive end with could hit the quarterback with no questions asked. Now, whenever a defensive player tries to get to the quarterback, questions are always asked if a flag should be thrown. It shouldn’t be like that.
The quarterback should be protected. All players should be protected. But, you can still protect the players without calling penalties on every single touch or hit made.
Every year, there are more penalties called, and every year the NFL makes up rules that often involve physical gameplay. Most of the time, when I watch a game, I can’t get into it because every two minutes there are flags being thrown, or plays being reviewed.
Penalties make it difficult to sit back and enjoy games. Every time the ball is snapped, I expect a penalty. That’s sad to say. Why can’t the NFL let players play? Isn’t that what football is all about? We see players get hurt, but are they really hurt? Years ago, football players had less padding and weren’t as prone to getting hurt.
Brett Favre is a perfect example of this. He was hurt multiple times and did not once miss a game. Many other players have the same mindset when it comes to this. I understand that the NFL wants to protect players, but there is such a thing as too much protection. Besides, penalties can’t prevent injuries. I think everyone can agree on that. So, why are there so many penalties being called? Football games are slow enough due to reviews of plays, and a big part of slow games comes from penalties. I know baseball is a slow tempo sport, but football is definitely right behind it.
Mike Pereira, rules expert for Fox, said he didn’t think penalties were ruining football games. Instead, he believes it makes it harder to watch. He’s right, and he’s also wrong. He’s right because penalties do make it harder to watch. He’s wrong because it does ruin the game. It ruins the enjoyment of the game for fans.
Football is a contact sport, and it’s slowly (no pun intended) becoming a non-contact sport. I doubt the NFL will change rules and regulations of these penalties. But if they don’t, football may surpass baseball as the slowest sport in America.