Dollars trump everything in NFL
When stepping into a car and driving to work, we all know there is a chance of our brakes failing or a deer running out in front of us to cause an accident. The same can be said for football players when they step on the field. There are many high school players who don't understand that risk and some in the college ranks. Professional players know that risk, yet it is the NFL players that we attempt to protect the most, in certain situations.
The NFL rules committee has made it to where if you hit a player late, that is a 15-yard personal foul penalty, and rightly so in most situations. There are different variations of a late hit. When a player drives the quarterback into the ground after passing the ball, that is worthy of a penalty. When the defender pushes the quarterback just as the quarterback is getting rid of the ball, that is something the quarterback knew he signed up for when he signed a contract. The same goes for a wide receiver as he is attempting to catch the ball on a crossing pattern over the middle. There are times that a free safety must "launch" his body at the receiver to jar the ball loose. This is the risk that all wide receivers take when they decide to cross paths with Earl Thomas.
For all of the rules the NFL has in place to protect its players from late hits, money trumps all and we see that on Thursday nights. There were three games played on Thanksgiving and all 32 teams will have played a Thursday night game by season’s end. Getting our football fix five days a week is great, but Thursday night football isn't the quality you expect it to be. Teams only have three full days to prepare and their bodies aren't recovered from the previous Sunday. This isn't what these players signed up for. Yes, it's only once a year, but it adds up over time. If the NFL wants the best players in the world to play at their peak performance level, they would eliminate all of these Thursday night games so that we can see a better brand of football on Sunday.
You will never take the violence out of football, especially not now, as players continue to get faster, stronger and bigger. Making the game safer is something that the NFL should always be working on. Making safer helmets and enforcing a late hit penalty are ways of doing that, but taking away Thursday night games is a step in the right direction, but as long as the NFL continues to profit off it, that step will never be taken.
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Ty Loftis is the sports editor for the Carroll County News. His email address is CCNSports@cox-internet.com