Jack Youngblood, Mike Ditka, Sonny Jurgenson, Jim Hart, Billy Kilmer.
These guys give us a reality check. They remind us of what the game was like. And young ones out there, trust us, it was better. I saw Ditka. I saw Deacon Jones, the one man who scared me from inside the television set. And of course I saw LT.
To think of these guys, playing football the way it was meant to be played, having to stop because of "the Brady Rule." I cannot speak for all of you out there, but I am still irate at the chickenBrown call on Justin Tuck in the first Dallas game when he makes a totally legit tackle of the QB, they call him for a personal foul, THEN THEY HAVE THE INSANITY TO FINE HIM, then someone wakes the Brown up and tosses the fine out on appeal. To be fair, I actually think the pansyofficiating came to a head that weekend and got a little bit of reality therafter. I like the line from Lombardi- this is a COLLISION sport. When you start outlawing collisions, you degrade the quality of the game. LET THEM PLAY.
2) I was howling when Jurgenson talked about the likes of TO. At least you see that kind of discipline coming from Drew Brees when Shockey opens his mouth. This is what Manning was lacking. Bill Parcells would have controlled that stuff, and then he would have told his QB how to control that, and if his QB did not control it, Parcells would have gotten pissed at ... the QB!! For not being in charge! It is a little lonely at the top, but if you want to lead as a QB that is what it takes.
One of my favorite stories from Monday Morning Quarterback is when Phil Simms remembers how the Offensive Line was not protecting Simms well enough, and how Parcells was starting to lay into the linemen during practice. So Simms is thinking to himself, yah Bill, go Bill, yes, lay into them for not doing a good job. And then Parcells pulls back and stops criticizing the linemen. He turns to Simms and starts ripping into him!! Why? Because (as he then continued in the practice) Simms was getting too buddy-buddy with his linemen, too much of a friend, not willing to take charge and keep his linemen in line. So Parcells ripped into Simms and let him know that winning was not about being friends with everyone in the huddle all the time.
Is it possible that maybe Burress would not be in the trouble he is in if Manning were a little more in charge and would tell the diva star WR who the real law was, before he ever had to know from the NYC law? Just thinking out loud.
How does all of this tie together? The quality of the game is built up or is lost not in one fell swoop but in a combination of smaller things that click together or drop off one by one. Too many franchises. Too many games. Flex scheduling punishing premium viewers. Night winter games. Diva WRs putting themselves before the sport. The Brady Rule. Poor officiating. Pansy officiating. Nature called our sport's commissioner Roger GoToHell, and I am beginning to think he is right. The NFL is losing its compass, and GoToHell is slowly sending the league off the path.