This is not the NFL I grew up with ladies and gentlemen…
If there was any shred of doubt about that it was erased last week when the notion of doing away with the extra-point try made the news. Putting the kabash on the after-touchdown kick is just the latest in a laundry list of things that have made the reign of our current Commish one that is sorely lacking in any sort of semblance of a nod to the tradition that has made the National Football League what it is today.
What it is, of course, is a billion dollar industry. Perhaps therein lies the problem. Money…money…money. Afterall, the owners who put our favorite teams on the field are businessmen who are swimming in it. If they aren’t careful the league will drown in the greed for more of it.
The old stadiums have already gone the way of the dinosaur, making way for ultra-modern palaces with plenty of room for luxury boxes to house rich and powerful patrons. Ticket prices are soaring and leaving many ordinary folks to cheer the loudest relegated to doing so from their living rooms. Quarterbacks have been all but reduced to wearing skirts and bloomers in an effort to keep the high-flying offenses on the field to avoid, heaven forbid, too much defense. Signal-callers aren’t the only players to be put in protective custody anymore. I cringe every time a ref utters those wussyfied words, “Personal foul, hitting a defenseless receiver.”
As for the abovementioned extra-point try, Commissioner Goodell said that he wants every play to be exciting and pointed out that the extra-point is all but automatic. Why is it so important for every play to be exciting? Most likely, the answer to that question is that the league wants to satisfy the newbie fans who are more apt to enjoy a high-scoring game. I contend that sometimes a good, old-fashioned slobberknocker is even more exciting than a pass-happy affair. This year’s playoffs, especially the NFC Championship matchup between the Seahawks and 49ers proved that a point tally in the 50s isn’t necessary to have an exciting game. What has put the NFL on the pedestal it sits atop today is that there is something for everyone, whether it be the West Coast offense or Doomsday defense style of play.
The Dallas Cowboys own Jerry Jones seemed mildly enamored with the possibilities removing the kick-after-touchdown might provide. Since the Cowboys are, at their core, one of the most tradition-rich teams in the league, that was disappointing to hear. It would be nice if the owner of America’s Team would be a voice in favor of upholding the heritage of America’s game. What is also a bit befuddling is that this is the same owner who just locked up our current kicker for an extended contract. Surely that means he puts some value on the kicking game in today’s NFL.
The extra-point try is a basic part of the game that has stood the test of time and if that is taken away it would seriously mess with the formula that fans, like me, who have watched the game for years are accustomed to. At this rate pretty soon they will be trying to expand the NFL to Europe…Oh wait, they already are.