League That Lies Just Keeps Making Things Up
The previous day, NFL linebacker Nick Moody of the Niners and Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds found themselves amid an educational moment concerning the science of NFL officiating.
They were both penalized for pivotal roughing the passer infractions in their respective games, penalties that appeared more perplexing than dubbing an already constructed structure a “building.”
For years, the NFL has contended with the laws of science, prompting individuals nationwide to use phrases like “he led with his head.” This even though a forward-leaning human has little alternative but to do precisely that.
It’s the subtle distortions of logic that often prove to be the most problematic. These distortions insinuate themselves into our everyday conversations, take hold, and pose a considerable challenge to disentangle.
In the instance at hand, even when a player ostensibly “leads with their shoulder,” it remains a fact that, more often than not, the head still breaches the vertical plane first. It merely becomes the side of the head instead of the frontal aspect.
This is mainly due to the head’s substantial size, particularly when adorned with a helmet, and its status as the most prominent feature of the human body. It’s a straightforward truth recognized by those intimately involved in football.
Understanding this concept doesn’t require complex thinking; it’s far from a scientific enigma. However, when a league with unparalleled influence perpetuates these fallacies, the truth becomes increasingly obscured.
Now, we find otherwise rational individuals echoing the league’s language and adopting the term “neck area” as though it weren’t a conveniently ambiguous region of the human body devised for convenience.
The quest to locate this elusive “neck area,” as proclaimed by the NFL, has led to extensive research involving the scrutiny of aged college anatomy textbooks complete with their detailed skeletal and muscular diagrams, as well as exhaustive online investigations. Yet, the enigmatic “neck area” body part remains as elusive.
Acknowledging the NFL’s reputation as a pioneer in scientific research, particularly in light of their belated recognition of the connection between head trauma and severe health issues in football players, one might ponder whether the league has uncovered some revolutionary scientific revelation.
While it may sound improbable, one is left to wonder: Can concussions now occur in the Adam’s Apple? Did the NFL, in a Christopher Columbus-esque fashion, discover a link between the neck and the navel?
Naturally, all of this is pure nonsense. The absurdity of the situation became increasingly evident during a critical exchange in the Seattle-San Francisco game, as broadcasters Joe Buck and Troy Aikman reacted with a perfect blend of common-sense exasperation:
NFL official Ed Hochuli, seemingly lost in the labyrinth of the NFL rulebook, asserted, “Helmet to the chest of the quarterback.”
“In the chest? Isn’t that where you’re supposed to hit them?” queried Joe Buck.
“I don’t know what a guy is supposed to do,” Aikman declared. “Just a terrible call.”
So, what will become of this ongoing debate? The NFL may hope it merely amounts to another Monday gripe about officiating, destined to fade into oblivion by the following weekend, allowing them to continue their modified version of the game.
But it shouldn’t be that way. This issue is not solely about the officials; it’s about the league and the chaotic state of their rulebook.
As members of the media and even the viewing public, there’s no obligation to echo the league’s narrative any longer unquestioningly.
The revelations of falsehoods surrounding Commissioner Goodell over recent months should empower media professionals to critically assess the intricate knot of logic that current NFL leadership has woven into the fabric of the game.
The game on the field has not improved under Goodell’s tenure; it has demonstrably worsened.
The rulebook has become so convoluted that coaches, players, and fans are waiting for a rules expert in a TV studio to decipher the proceedings.
It’s high time to assert ownership over the game and demand improvements. The NFL can’t revoke everyone’s Super Bowl credentials.
Terms like “defenseless receiver,” “neck area,” “leading with the head,” “no known concussion link,” and many others don’t hold sway merely because they’ve been asserted.
It’s imperative to call for a higher standard of coverage, given that it’s a profession that involves reporting on and investing valuable time and resources in the sport. Demanding more from the game should be a fundamental stance, not a novel concept.
As individuals who cover and follow the sport, there’s no better time than now to engage in a more intellectually honest discourse rather than uncritically echoing the NFL’s pronouncements. Perhaps it’s time for a bit of genuine journalism.
This year may be the opportunity for NFL media to break free from the cycle of unquestioning conformity.
Admittedly, no amount of complaining right now will do much…short of keeping awareness high. The real payoff comes in the spring when the NFL Rules Committee meets.
That should be the #1 day circled on everyone’s calendar. What was once an administrative bore-fest has become ground zero for crazy developments that negatively affect the game.
We can’t allow the NFL to once again ring the bell on another new rule or policy and nod along as if everything is OK. Roger knows best.
No, he doesn’t. For all the problems Goodell has had with protecting the league’s image, his terrible game stewardship is a much more pressing matter. Just accepting things as they are is out of the question.
This offseason, there’s nothing more important on the docket than injecting some sanity back into the game we all love.