“As of this moment, all preseason football games will be played with touch football rules,” Goodell announced to the stunned press corps at NFL Headquarters.
When pressed for clarification on the term “touch football rules”, Goodell added: “That would be two hand touch. No tackling is allowed, and defenders can only rush the quarterback after a count of seven Mississippi.”
The Commissioner did not take any further questions, but did laugh when asked if he would look the other way if a defender “accidentally” tackled Tom Brady.
The NFL Players Association has yet to comment on the ruling, but one player who spoke to this Modern Philosopher on the condition of anonymity stated: “WTF!”
According to my sources, this rash decision was made after owners complained that too many star players were being injured in meaningless preseason games.
The money brought in from ticket sales, concessions, souvenirs, TV contracts and advertising is real even if the games are nothing more than glorified scrimmages.
“You want fans to buy tickets to the preseason games or watch them on TV?” asked a well respected NFL analyst who asked not to be identified. “Then you need to have the first stringers out there for at least part of the game. Of course, anytime a football player steps onto the field, there is a good chance that he is going to be injured.”
But are fans going to fork over their hard earned cash to watch the starters face off in a game of two hand touch? Aren’t all the bone crushing hits and high speed collisions part of the fun of watching football?
“Hell yeah, it’s all about the tackling!” replied Eddie Goddard, a big time Patriots fan, who was not pleased with Goodell’s announcement. “If we wanted to see guys being all polite to each other and not drawing blood, we’d watch golf or tennis. The owners gotta wake up, get rid of this clown running the league, and then free Tom Brady!!!”
“The Commissioner worded his statement very carefully,” Cy Brown, the blog’s legal expert, told this Modern Philosopher. “He got away from that podium before anyone could ask him if the changes would carry over into the regular season. That certainly sent up some red flags for me.”
Speaking of red flags, can teams challenge this ruling?
My anonymous sources reminded me that it was the owners who wanted something done to protect their players from being injured before the regular season began.
So what about the fans? Do they have any say in the matter? Or do they just have to shut up and watch as professional football players approach the game as if they were playing out on the street with a Nerf football after school?
We both laughed at that comment because we knew that Roger Goodell could care less about what the fans thought.
Another aspect to this monumental decision is how the rule change will affect betting. How is Vegas going to set a line on a game when there’s no tackling, a limited rush on the quarterback, and players aren’t as fired up as usual?
Only time will tell on that, Modern Philosophers. I set the over/under on 12 hours before Vegas addresses the issue.
What do you think about the rule change, Modern Philosophers? Would you be less inclined to watch football if it were a less physical game? Do you agree that the NFL is doing the right thing to protect its players? Do you think you could now play professional football if it’s only going to be two hand touch?