Ancient Romans watched gladiators battle to the death, all for entertainment. Today, millions turn to pro football to get their fix.
However, the NFL is looking to curb the violence. Following a weekend when five NFL players suffered concussions, including Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson, players will be subject to $75,000 fines and possible suspensions for violent hits.
“To take that part of the game out, the violence, is equivalent to taking the hoop away from basketball,” Eagles cornerback Ellis Hobbs said. “It’s like we’re tired of you guys breaking these rims, so we’re going to take the rim away — no one wants to see that.”
Hobbs added that nasty collisions occur on about 85 percent of NFL plays, and the he doesn’t anticipate changing his style of play.
But Ernie Sims, the Eagles’ hardest hitter, might have to. The linebacker admitted that he has intentionally tried to spear people.
“I’ve tried to lead with my helmet [in the past], that’s the way we’ve been taught,” Sims said. “I’m not going to try and do it now.”
Omar Gaither applauded the NFL for trying to protect its players, but warned that the level of play might be compromised.
“You get into suspending guys for playing hard, and they won’t play as hard,” Gaither said. “That’s the bottom line.”
The NFL simply doesn’t like defense. The competition committee has gone out of its way to promote scoring.
If a quarterback so much has dirt on his jersey, look for a flag. If a cornerback brushes a receiver, that’s a penalty. There were 10,991 points scored last season.
“It’s an offensive-minded league, scores, points, catches puts people in the seats,” Hobbs said. “You can’t score points if everyone is on the sidelines with concussions.”
Keep it clean
Want a different perspective? Head to the other side of the locker room. Offensive players are downright giddy about the rule changes.
Yesterday, Eagles guard Max Jean-Gilles bumped into Trent Cole and then laughed, telling the defensive end that he couldn’t hit him. It was a funny example of a new problem.
“I think maybe there’s a slight hesitation with those guys now, maybe it helps us offensively,” Kevin Kolb said. “I don’t know how you play the game full speed and at the last minute decide how you’re going to hit him.”