The regular season is over and with that, so is NFL Rage for the season...or so I thought, until I heard what the NFL's offices had to say last night. For those of you that aren't familiar with my weekly NFL Rage article, allow me to give you a brief run down. After every week of the regular season, I vent my frustrations at some of the most boneheaded decisions, made by the coaches, players, front offices, or in this case, the NFL office. I do this in hope that it'll provide me and the readers of this article a little sports therapy. Without further ado, let's begin the first ever, NFL Rage Postseason Edition.
Talk Ain't Cheap
As the second week of the NFL playoffs got started this week, players on the teams begin their trash talking. I enjoyed every bit. To me, it's the same as when Championship boxers sit at the podium with the microphone in front of them and take shots at their opponents. Then the intensity goes up another level in the room when the two fighters stand nose to nose. That's symbolic of the football players running onto the field and meeting at the 50 yard line and chomping at the bit to begin battle. Let's not forget that this is football, the last true gladiator sports. The NFL's top personnel that reigns down these orders of dictatorship, need to remember that Monday through Friday are the days they go to country club to play tennis, a gentleman's game. But, this weekend, it’s the men on that field that get paid well to run full speed into other well trained athletes. This game isn't for the faint of heart.
Quick trivia question. Who's the greatest boxer of all time? Muhammad Ali is the answer that the large majority of us would have given. Ali was a great boxer but an even better trash talker. The things Ali said were far worse than anything I have heard this week from Bart Scott, Wes Welker, Terrell Suggs, etc. They're hyping up the game. They're preparing to do battle.
How different of a public figure would Ali have been if instead of saying "I'll beat him so bad he'll need a shoehorn to put his hat on." He would have said, "I think it will be a good fight." How dumb is the NFL to not realize that the trash talk fills the week with hype, until the game gets here. Was Bart Scott saying ""Be very careful what you say about our coach. His [Welker's] days in a uniform will be numbered. Put it like that" really as bad as Greg Aiello made it out to be? Scott made the comments after Welker talked to the media earlier in the week and dropped 11 foot references into the interview. This was clearly a shot at the Jets' head coach, Rex Ryan who's become infamous for his wife's love of the feet region on youtube. After Scott took his shot back at Welker, Aiello released a statement saying "comments of a physically threatening nature are always taken into account in evaluating discipline for illegal physical contact on field."
The NFL is the most popular sport in this country by a landslide but it appears that Roger Goodell and his flunkies, are trying every way possible to ruin it. They take away the celebration after touchdowns, enforce helmet to helmet hits with astronomical fines, and now players can't talk smack or they could be fined or suspended? So, a team could get knocked out of the playoffs because a key player is serving a 1 game suspension for saying something that hurt another players feelings? This is why the NFL needs to be run by people that played the game. A veteran of the game would genuinely care about player safety and not talk about player safety in terms of preventing trash talking while at the same time trying to expand the season to 18 games.
The players are already speaking out about the possible fines / suspension for talking. Maurice Jones-Drew responded to Adam Schefter via twitter by saying this "so in other words they want us to be robots... Have no emotion or passion and we are talking about playoffs (Jim Mora voice). He went on to say via twitter, "Hey fans I grew up in the bay area in the Jack Tatum era... So a lil talk is just fine when the players start acting on it then that's when u fine them... Why do u think fans love this game, it’s violent and everyone loves that." I put the last part in bold just to give the NFL a hint on what their product actually is. The NFL can't act like their selling tickets and getting ratings to a bowling championship. The fans want action, they want drama, and if a fight breaks out, so be it.
I admit that today's trash talking isn't as amazing or well thought out as Ali's but there's still a place for it. NFL teams play once a week, this keeps their fans interested and something to talk about until kickoff. It gives you someone to despise and someone to like. Lighten up NFL pencil pushers. Boxing would love to have a cash cow right now that brought them ratings the way Ali did. That's my take on it and I'll leave you with a few of the more special Ali gems "If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize." "If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you." "I'm so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark."
I hope I was able to give you some playoff caliber therapy. Who knows, maybe this just upset me, if so, it was well worth it as I feel a ton better and ready to watch the game...hope there's some smack talk pregame.
Jayson appears on Sports Radio 790 AM in Houston, TX, every Thursday morning at 11:19 am CST as the football insider on the Dylan Gwinn show. He's a graduate of the Sports Management World Wide Football GM & Scouting Course and has been mentored by former NFL player / executive John Wooten and Sporting News.com NFL Draft Expert Russ Lande. His work is mostly appreciated by die-hard fans interested in every little detail about their team and not just watered down mainstream talk. - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports7910.com.
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