The League

Gene Wang
Fantasy Guru

Gene Wang

A sports staff writer at The Washington Post

Hit 'Em Hard, Hit 'Em Fair


Americans have a voracious appetite for violence. Just look at movies, television and video games. Our passion for the NFL is no different. The gladiator aspect makes for compelling viewing, and the league benefits with revenues in the billions of dollars.

Violent collisions are perhaps the NFL's biggest appeal. Football fans love nothing more than a fierce hit, whether it's defensive back on wide receiver, linebacker on running back or defensive lineman on quarterback.

But all that comes with one caveat: Those hits must be within the rules.

That means the NFL should make a deliberate and concerted effort to curb illegal violence. Commissioner Roger Goodell has done just that with his edict yesterday warning players about helmet-to-helmet hits. Even first-time offenders may be subject to discipline.

Goodell is spot on with this missive, and no owner or player is going to argue otherwise. Strict legislation against illegal hits is a must in order to protect the league's most valuable asset, namely the quarterbacks.

The NFL knows plenty about making money, and it's clear it doesn't make as much with its marquee names on the sideline. Ratings dip when stars such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Tony Romo are not on the field, and the only reason they wouldn't be is because of injury.

The injury risk is high to begin with in the NFL, especially for quarterbacks, and head trauma influenced the retirement decisions of such Hall of Fame quarterbacks as Steve Young, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.

It's not good business for the NFL if it doesn't do all it can to ensure its possible faces of the future (i.e. Matt Ryan, JaMarcus Russell and other young quarterbacks) are protected to the fullest extent of the rules.

By Gene Wang  |  September 19, 2008; 1:35 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

The Romans had gladiators, Christians and wild animals. Americans have the UFC, hockey and the NFL. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Posted by: vbxtc | September 19, 2008 1:01 PM

You make a good point Mr.Wang, I use to watch the UFC when it first came out. Then I made a moral decision not to watch anymore., It endorses violence. Some of these people are not role models eitherThey have drug charges, DUI's Criminal records I refuse to support violent sports any longer, or Bad behavior of over paid athletes.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2008 5:57 PM

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