Will the True NFL Purists Please Stand Up?

Will those who think the season is getting too long, please rise?  The people who know the history of the league, and the notable players? Who fight to preserve tradition? Who want the game to be played as it originally was, like when players wore leather helmets?

We are all still comfortably seated, because such a person doesn’t exist. Tradition and heritage are terms reserved for Baseball. Football is a sport shaped by innovation.

Anyone desiring to see a resurgence of original football, with its lack of safety equipment, can move to New Zealand and follow Rugby.

Here in America, we push the football envelope on a weekly basis. Trendy Nike uniforms fill our brand new stadiums to watch young quarterbacks shred defenses with the latest offensive schemes.

Records are consistently broken, erasing the plights of football gods of long ago. Peyton Manning seems to be smashing records every time he plays this season. He is not breaking records of long off legends like Joe Montana or Johnny Unitas, but currently active Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

Neophytes are glorified, and they sometimes deserve it. Collin Kaepernick got the starting job with the San Francisco 49ers late last season, and led his team to the Super Bowl. This year, the 49ers have the second worst passing attack.

Rookie quarterbacks seemed to have as much of a shot at the playoffs as storied veterans a year ago, including Robert Griffin III and his dual threat ability. His Redskins are currently 1-3, pending Sunday night’s game at Dallas. (Note: The team’s name will remain to be the Redskins, at least until the government opens for business again.)

Andrew Luck has been a receptacle for praise, after also leading his team to the playoffs. Never mind his Colts didn’t even score a postseason touchdown.

The NFL is not a league of legends. Stars are forgotten almost immediately, outshined by the Geno Smith’s who offer bonfires of hope. Brett Farve has become a punch line. The best a retired player can hope for is a broadcasting job.

Tailgating and ridiculous costumes are common at NFL games, but it feels like a sorry imitation of the enthusiasm of college football. A day late, NFL fans feel like irresponsibly inebriated college kids that never grew up.

The Pro Bowl may be the closest thing to tradition that the NFL has, and it consistently has been a target for critics, while fans tend to hardly notice it. The 2014 edition has been completely revamped. Players chosen for the game will enter a pool, to be later drafted onto a team. The AFC and NFC will no longer be represented, and neither will the patriotic colors of our nation. If the NFL had hope for tradition, they just extinguished it.

Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens were doing great things for the league with their triumphant gallivanting. Unfortunately, the NFL heard the looming rumors of traditions forming, and ‘excessive’ touchdown celebrations were immediately prohibited in 2006.

There is no respect for history. Stop pretending that there is.

If there is a tradition in the NFL, it is amnesia.

– Andy O’Brien, Sports Editor


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