After reading the article NFL Rules Changes: When is Football No Longer Football?, I now question whether football will lose its power of becoming a paradise for the players and the spectators. The National Football League is starting to make significant changes in the interest of safety that will start to change the game in a large way. For starters, they decided to ban ball-carriers from lowering their helmets into oncoming defenders in an attempt to break free of the tackle. Other major changes include the elimination of the “Tuck Rule” and no more kick-offs in the Pro Bowl. In addition, they have even taken tackling out of preseason camps. All of these changes are designed to make the game safer for the players. Football is a very dangerous sport because you are making contact with your opponent at full speed with great force. However, I wonder whether or not the game will remain the same after all of these modifications.
A dangerously hard hit
In Giamatti’s Take Time for Paradise, he states, “In that moment of vision, of sensation compounded of sight and inside, everyone – participant and spectator – is centered” (24). The players and spectators are consumed by the world of the game. They are not focused on anything else but the competition in front of them. Giamatti explains that people play sports because they want to achieve a paradise that we have lost. This paradise is considered better than our actual lives. If many changes occur in the sport of football, will this paradise be lost?
With these changes, I believe the game would not be the same, as there would be “no more dramatic returns for touchdowns. No more advantage or disadvantage to be won or lost by improving field position. No more exciting, surprising, game-changing onside kicks.” (Tracy). These are all important aspects of the game because they keep the audience and the players guessing who will win the game. The surprises within the games keep the players going hard throughout the entire game, fighting for the win. I also agree with Marc Tracy that football would not be football without tackling.
Not only would the game change for the players, as they would have to learn new rules, but also this would change the intensity for the spectators. The loss of these aspects of the game would definitely cause the spectators and players to lose the paradise that was once created by football. As stated by Giamatti, “the spectator, seeing something he has only imagined, or, more astonishingly, had not yet or would never have imagined possible, because the precise random moments had never before come together in this form to challenge the players” (27). This means that the spectator goes to football games in order to experience something they cannot on their own.
A packed Giants stadium, full of fans awaiting the start of an intense game.
The NFL wants to keep the sport of football as safe as possible but when do they draw the line before ruining the sport completely? Football will never be completely safe because then it just would not be football anymore. As stated in the article, “would football without kick-offs still be football?” (Tracy). “the National Football League needs to figure out what football is”. They have the ability to uphold the tradition of the game or to create a completely new one, it’s all in their hands.
Giamatti, A. Bartlett. 1989. Take time for paradise: Americans and their games. New York: Summit Books.
Tracy, Marc. “NFL Rules Changes: When Is Football No Longer Football?” New Republic. N.p., 2 Aug. 2013. Web.