The Instigator
wolfpacktjp
Pro (for)
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The Contender
mpwolfpack8
Con (against)
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The NFL is beginning to take away from the game of football with all of its precautions

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/19/2011 Category: Sports
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,122 times Debate No: 16037
Debate Rounds (3)
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wolfpacktjp

Pro

The NFL is beginning to take away from the game of football with all of its precautions. By this, I mean that these new rules protecting the players are beginning to take away from what football inherently is. There are many different aspects that make up football, one of which is its violent nature. If the NFL does not change the direction it is going, then football at the professional level will cease to be the sport that Americans have come to love.

Football is a sport that needs hard hits. It is inherent in the actual game of football. Players are protected by helmets engineered to reduce concussions, and a lot of other padding to protect the rest of the body. I understand that concussions are a serious injury, and precautions should be taken to help prevent those injuries, but not at the cost of changing the way the game is played. These rules are mainly being implemented at the professional level, because the NFL athletes are becoming so strong and fast that injury is more likely to occur. In college and high school, this risk is significantly less because the players are not fully developed yet. The NFL players do not deserve the level of protection they are receiving. The average salary for a player in the NFL is about $1.8 million. By signing the contract to play professional football, I believe that the athlete is assuming the risks that come with the job.

By implementing a large variety of new rules and fines, the NFL is actually changing the way certain players approach each play. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who has received over $100,000 in fines, has said that he is adjusting his game to abide by the new rules, but openly mocks the NFL and its commissioner Roger Goodell for the stupidity of these unnecessary rules. It is a shame that great players like Harrison should have to change the way they have been taught to play football since they were small children, just to protect athletes making seven figure salaries. I can only imagine what the legends such as Dick Butkus, Lawrence Taylor, or Joe Green would have done if the NFL had forced them to play the game that is being played today.
mpwolfpack8

Con

While I understand your desire for football to remain the hard-hitting sport that it is, or was. I argue that the safety of the players needs to be priority number one, even above pleasing the die-hard fans that love the violent hits. As the years have gone by, professional football players have been getting progressively stronger and faster than previous generations of players. Along with this increase in speed and strength comes an increase in the velocity and impact of the hits on other players. These violent hits have seriously injured players over the years. These injuries, especially head and knee injuries, have long-term effects. Many players after they retire suffer from their injuries for the rest of their lives. While these injuries can never be completely avoided, safety measures can only help. Your argument about the pay of the players is completely invalid. One can not put a price and the safety and health of a human being. While these precautions that the NFL is implementing may be "taking away from the game", they are a necessary evil to help provide a safer field of play for the athletes.
Debate Round No. 1
wolfpacktjp

Pro

I would agree that safety should be the number one priority, if the players did not have a choice in the matter. My argument on the pay of the players is actually a valid argument, because the point I was making through that argument was that the players have to assume the risks of the job in order to perform their job the way they are supposed to. Just like people who work around nuclear reactors assume the health risks involved in the job for the high level of pay they receive, NFL athletes are assuming the risk of playing football the way it is meant to be played, and are being compensated well for it.

In response to the long term health effects, the NFL already assumes some of the costs of the players for injuries they receive while playing. I wouldn't be opposed to the NFL putting more plans in place to give ex-NFL players more health care once they have retired from the league, but don't change the game. For instance, the new rule moving the kickoff up 5 yards is basically eliminating the threat of players such as Joshua Cribbs and Devon Hester as extremely dangerous special teams players. Kick returns used to be the most exciting plays during the game, but now teams might as well just start every drive from the 20 yard line because I doubt any coach will kick to the opposing team's kick returners because of the potential for the big play.

Another change to the game made by the NFL's new rules is the over protection of the quarterback. The quarterback is arguably the most important position on a football team, and it is obvious that teams without a quarterback, no matter how talented, have trouble playing at a high level without a capable quarterback. I understand trying to protect these players because of their importance to their teams, but the NFL has gone too far. Since Tom Brady's knee injury, the NFL has implemented a number of excessive rules protecting quarterbacks. These rules put the defensive players at a huge disadvantage because they cannot make contact with the quarterback's helmet, or hit them below the knees, or hit them once the ball has been released. This makes their job much harder, and in order to not commit a critical 15 yard personal foul, a defensive player hitting the quarterback has to second guess the hit almost every time. This takes away from the way defensive players play the game.
mpwolfpack8

Con

Regarding your argument about the pay, you say it is just like people who work around nuclear reactors. Well I say not so. Anytime there is an opportunity for more safety in the work environment around a nuclear reactor, those new safety guidelines would be implemented. You said that "NFL athletes are assuming the risk of playing football the way it is meant to be played, and are being compensated well for it". Players are at a substantial risk of injury with or without the new rules. However if the NFL can take away a small chance of them being injured, then that is a welcome change.

We are in agreement concerning the retirement plans and health care offered for retirees from the NFL. I also believe that new plans should be put into place. With the kickoff, having players running full speed head on is about as dangerous of a situation as you can have in a game. Moving the kickoff up 5 yards is not taking away the chance at a return, but its limiting the chance that the returner is injured.

In regards to the quarterback rules, the NFL is correct in putting these rules into place. Quarterbacks must be protected at all costs. One reason is because often times they are defenseless in the pocket. Another is, like you said, because the quarterback position is an invaluable position to a football team. Defensive players do not have to second guess their decisions, they just need to be more aware of the situation. Perhaps this is part of why they are getting paid so well also.
Debate Round No. 2
wolfpacktjp

Pro

I guess it all comes down to what you consider to be more important. I personally believe the integrity of the game is the most important, which means that the NFL should not compromise the nature of football just to protect its highly paid athletes who voluntarily assume any risks involved. Player safety should not be taken lightly, but football has survived and thrived as a violent game played by violent players who enjoy sacrificing their bodies to deliver huge hits and make game changing plays.

Even the great offensive players suffer from these rules. One thing that separates the great receivers from others is there ability to go up in traffic and make the tough catches, take a big hit, but retain possession of the football. The new rule about hitting defenseless receivers further hinders the ability of defensive players to make plays. If a receiver is allowed to leave his feet to make a catch, with no risk of receiving a vicious hit when the ball arrives, then the receiver will have too big of an advantage over the already disadvantaged corners and safeties.

The helmet to helmet contact rule is also being overly enforced. While I understand the risk of helmet to helmet contact, and agree that it should be punished, it shouldn't be punished as aggressively as it is now. If a player blatantly trying to cause harm to another player with helmet to helmet contact, then he deserves a 15 yard penalty and maybe a fine, but if the contact is incidental then I don't think the player should be penalized. James Harrison's hit on Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi was helmet to helmet, but I don't think it was intentional, yet he was still fined $20,000 for the hit.
mpwolfpack8

Con

mpwolfpack8 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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