Play ball: Dear NFL, let the player play, please

I'm a fan of professional football. I like to watch the sport. When I turn on an NFL game, I want to see the players on the field decide the game. I do not tune in to see penalty flags thrown on what seems like every other play anymore. I understand the NFL wants to prevent injuries and promote sportsmanship...but enough is enough. It's time for the NFL to let football be football again. I'm in favor of protecting players. I don't want to see anyone get hurt. And with concussion research showing the effects that a career of taking blows to the head has on a player, I have no problem with the NFL stepping up their efforts to prevent players from suffering after their career is over. But football is a full speed, full contact sport. Collisions happen at high speed. It's part of the game, and no matter how safe the NFL tries to make it, football is a violent sport. Taking the direct blows to a players head out of the game is a good thing. Making players pass concussion tests before returning to the game is a good thing. But the lines have been blurred between a good, clean, hard hit, and hitting a "defenseless" receiver. And the biggest part of the problem is a common theme in all facets of the NFL these days...consistency. To me, it seems like the NFL has used the players safety card to pretty much take defense out of the game. The NFL has allowed offenses to rule the game by penalizing defenses for what they're supposed to do. There is no penalty for a running back lowering his head into a defender, but every time there is a big hit, you're waiting for flags to fly right after because the offensive player may be considered to be "defenseless". Like I said, I don't want to see a guy lead with his helmet and go head to head with another guy trying to catch a pass. That's on the players. Basic fundamental football teaches you how to tackle...and leading with your head isn't the way tackling is taught. And when a defensive player is running at a high rate of speed towards a receiver trying to catch a pass or a back running with the ball, what is he supposed to do? Stop and think; "maybe I shouldn't hit this guy"? Football is a reactionary sport, and these guys are reacting in a split second. If they hesitate, that receiver or running back is already past them. Hard contact is going to happen because, well, it is football after all. Keep Reading