“Quarterbacks should wear dresses.” – Jack Lambert, early 1980’s
“They might as well just take us off the field and see how many points you can score on offense in 60 minutes.” – Ryan Clark, August 2013
Ryan Clark might lack Lambert’s brevity, but his criticism of the NFL as equally accurate as it is damming.
- When it comes to hypocrisy, the NFL knows no limits.
Fear not, this is no column decrying new NFL safety rules to reduce the threat of head trauma. Such rules, absent medical break throughs and/or a clearer understanding of what is causing so many former NFL players to lose it up stairs when they’re in their 60’s, 50’s or even 40’s, are needed.
But like a spoiled child, the NFL wants to have its cake and eat it too.
This is nothing new. In the early and mid 1970’s there was an opposing defender who was so physical with receivers downfield that the NFL had to modify its rules, preventing defenders from touching receivers beyond 5 yards.
That defender was of course Mel Blount, and Chuck Noll took advantage of the rules changes to unleash Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, and Bennie Cunningham and Super Bowls XIII and XIV followed.
The NFC Titan’s of the 1980’s followed suit Bill Walsh and Joe Montana and Joe Gibbs and a trio of quarterbacks dominated a decade.
- But as happens, NFL defensive coordinators did what they do – they adapted.
And the way you adapt to making it more difficult to cover downfield is to increase pressure on the quarterback upfront. Pass rush specialists like Lawrence Taylor emerged. Others developed schemes to bring pressure from unique angles – you may have heard of Dick LeBeau and the Zone Blitz.
- Of course increase pressure resulted in more injuries to quarterbacks.
So the NFL began legislating to protect its prized primiadonnas – nary a consideration was given to the root cause of the issue.
The same thing is repeating itself today. The NFL is rightly attempting to protect players, both defensive and offensive, from head injuries. So defensive backs adjust their technique to avoid the head and neck.
- The result is that players like Dustin Keller suffer knee injuries as a result of a hit by D.J. Swearinger.
And of course the NFL steps in. Nothing is illegal. Yet. But we will investigate.
And the one doing the investigating is none other than the Steelers old friend Ray Anderson….
…Ray Anderson who made a similar “not illegal now but…” statement after Hines Ward devastating block of Keith Rivers. Ray Anderson who singled out James Harrison while turning a bind eye to questionable hits on Ben Roethlisberger…. (Click here for more on the Steelers and Anderson)
Yeah, Ryan Clark is right to call out the NFL.
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