Given Donald Trump’s prominent role in the demise of the USFL, who better to weigh in the state of the current NFL product? At a Reno, NV campaign stop Sunday, the GOP Presidential hopeful declared, “”Football has become soft, like our country has become soft…we’re going soft, just like the NFL, we’re going soft.” (“You used to see these tackles and it was incredible to watch. Now tackle — head-on-head tackle — 15-yard penalty…I don’t watch it. The referees, they all throw flags.”) While Shutdown Corner’s Jay Bugbee doesn’t quite accuse Trump of missing a great game, the former’s not quite certain the latter knows what he’s talking about.
Perhaps Trump didn’t see the plays in which Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown and Cincinnati’s Giovanni Bernard were apparently knocked unconscious by hits to the head, their limbs flailing as they dropped to the turf like sacks of dropped dog food. Or perhaps he fixated on the regulation of those plays, rather than the human cost of them: “You used to see these tackles and it was incredible to watch. Now, tackle — head-on-head tackle — 15-yard penalty,” he said.
It’s a lament common to those who haven’t played football — the game’s gone soft, the old days were better, et cetera et cetera. It’s a lament that doesn’t hold a whole lot of weight when you consider the pain and suffering of hundreds of NFL players who gave their bodies, and in many cases their minds or even their lives, to play football.