In the Hands of the NFL

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 hard hit

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.

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.

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The Renounceth of the Michigan Right

This fall has been a rarity in Michigan Athletic history with the recent struggles of our beloved football team. With all the negativity engulfing the campus, it has resulted in the need for a scapegoat to pin the losses on. Unfortunately students and even some faculty members have found it most reasonable to point the finger on turmoil of the fall towards Athletic Director Dave Brandon. From rallies to petitions, Mr. Brandon has been faced with all in an up front manner that no person deserves. Regardless of how well our athletic teams perform in their respective seasons, there is no excuse to display frustration in such a disrespectful manner. As a student-athlete of this school, the way in which the student body and alumni handled this adversity, which became the center piece of the season, was a distraction that didn’t solve the true problem at hand. That problem was the fact that Michigan football isn’t normally what is known to be.

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Yes I do agree there was something that needed to be done about our athletic department, but not in the fashion it was performed. The culture of Michigan Athletics since Brandon’s hiring, was treated as more of business rather than the focus of benefitting the student body and alumni. Therefore I wasn’t surprised when the times finally got tough that it became so easy for people to use Brandon’s name as the cancer that infected the University of Michigan. Although Brandon didn’t make the University of Michigan, one of 26 Division one programs that actually made more than spent in the last year. He turned Michigan into a haven for prospect recruits to strongly consider when it came to their final decision. However, the situation with quarterback, Shane Morris, ultimately sealed the fate of the once beloved Athletic Director.

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Recently in our Political Science class we read and discussed a piece, Leviathan, by Hobbes in which addressed the actions of a man when it came to his rights and liberties in chapter 14. The chapter spoke a lot about the way in which a man’s action define a lot about his character. It got really specific in the sense that with each action comes a motive behind it. And with said motive results in the how the outcome is displayed and portrayed to those affected by each decision. Through this article I made a connection to the situation here at Michigan. “Whenever a man transferreth his right, or renoucneth it; it is either in consideration of some right reciprocally transferred to himself; or for some other good he hopeth for thereby.” (Hobbes) Through this quote, it speaks of what Dave Brandon’s intentions were when he finally decided to resign. Brandon heard of what was being said about him and the decisions he made while in his position of power, therefore when he felt it was the right time he renounced his position for the benefit of the public. He also did this to save himself for his pride and reputation were beginning to be tainted as each new article and petition was published by angry Wolverines. “..nothing else but the security of a man’s person, in his life, and in the means of so preserving life, as not be weary of it.” (Hobbes)

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Although Dave Brandon was far from the best when it came to being an Athletic Director, he still made strides to bring Michigan pride. He always had what he thought was the best interest of the school in mind when it came to whatever decision he made regarding athletics. And that is all anyone can really ask for, at the end of the day when you know that your best effort was put forward then there is nothing to be ashamed. Even though Brandon’s departure from Michigan wasn’t the way he expected to say goodbye, he still willed be missed and remembered for his effort to help make Michigan truly, “the leaders and the best.”

A Marathon Over the Hill

The topic of women in athletics continues to be an ongoing controversy in America and all over the world. Even though progress has been made, there are still clear differences in the treatment of women in sports versus men. However, with the constant discussion about the gender differences between men and women, is society overlooking the obvious differences and discrimination against older people in sports? Do people ever stop to think about the cultural norms attached to being “Over the Hill?”

After reading Ariel Levy’s article “Either/Or,” I gained a better understanding of the nature of gender norms and sex and the resulting barriers to participation in sports due to these norms. Historically, men have been thought to be generally more athletic than women and more fit to participate in sports (see Title IX). There used to be institutional barriers to participation in which women were simply not allowed to participate in specific sports. Society has since made progress in attempting to eliminate most, but not all, of these institutional barriers. However, there are still value barriers that make it difficult for women to engage in certain sports due to societal norms and cultural beliefs. Some value barriers present false beliefs about the competence of women such as sexist comments like “girls can’t throw” and “women should wear dresses.” Other value barriers follow the assumption that because women participate in something, it makes that institution inferior. Continue reading

The Machiavellian Athlete

“Modern psychiatrist now use Machiavellian to describe people who are brilliantly and dangerously self-centered” this is described by Rebecca Coffey of Psychology Today. Which means people are selfish, driven, devious, and would do anything to get what they want. The term Machiavellian comes from Niccolo Machiavelli and his dissertation called The Prince. The Prince tackles selfishness, manipulation, cruelty, and being tricky in the expression of power. Today business leaders, politicians, and now coaches agree that Machiavellian traits are central to success.

To be competitive it means to be fearless, strong, and motivated to win. People who are competitive would do anything in their power to win and nothing can get in their way. In my opinion, being competitive is essential to being a successful athlete. Without competitiveness either in an athlete or in the work force it would be difficult to get to the top as in being where you want to be in your career.

Win!

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