Friday, August 5, 2011

Forget Love...Where's the Hate???

This past Sunday I was flipping through channels trying to find something interesting to watch.

And...ahem...TV really needs to work on their Sunday programming.

As I scanned the program guide, a feature on the NFL Network titled "Ten Things We Miss About Football" caught my attention.

"Well, this can't be any worse than Jerseylicious or Ice Loves Coco," I said to myself.

So I flipped it on.

And was immediately mesmerized.

I happened to catch the list at number kickers. Painfully (and ashamedly) unaware of this past phenomenon, I immediately grabbed my notebook to start jotting down ideas for my Friday Fun post. Cause let's face it....that's pretty amazingly awesome, no?

Why? And...oww.

But just as I was formulating thoughts in my head, number eight on the list appeared.

Too much love in the NFL.

What's that, you say? Too much love? No way!

Yes, way.

Back in the day, "dirty" was considered normal. If you were a member of the Cowboys, and you were playing the Redskins, you knew who the enemy was. Same goes for Packers and Bears. And Oakland and...well....everyone.

Most notable at not giving love to anyone is Conrad Dobler, who once said in an Esquire interview that "Some people get vasectomies. I used to give 'em". This is the same guy who invented the leg whip, the guy whose punch to Mean Joe Greene's solar plexus made him break down and cry on the field, and the guy who still to this day relishes his feud with Merlin Olsen, the Hall of Famer whom he kicked in the head.

Others who were on close terms with "hating" opponents? Dick Butkus, who would manufacture slights in his mind to get fired up for the game, is still regarded as one of the meanest linebackers ever. Jack Tatum, aka "the Assassin", was rumored to never have apologized for the paralyzing hit on New England Patriot's Darryl Stingley. And let's not forget the infamous dislike between Chicago Bears Mike Ditka and Green Bay Packers Forrest Gregg. Yes, even head coaches weren't immune.

Anyone want to be on these guys' bad side? Anyone? Bueller?

Now, though?

Present day NFL is defined by laugh fests, picture taking, and overall congeniality between opposing team players.

Juxtaposed with shots of hard hits, kicks, punches, and downright mean gestures from the NFL of the 70s and 80s, clips of the following were presented as evidence of this "softer" side:

"Hey man, call me! Let me get your number!"


"Hey, can you sign this hat for my son?"


"How are the wife and kids doing? You doing OK?"


"OK, we gotta get our picture taken!!"

Call Me. Luv you. Mean It!

Ummmm...alright then.

Maybe it's the fact that a franchise player has become an endangered (if not extinct) species. Maybe it's due to these young guys right out of college keeping in touch with their old buddies. Maybe "sportsmanship" has just been shoved so far down every one's throats that players can't summon up enough negativity to actually HATE their opponents. Maybe there's mandatory team yoga practices.

Whatever the case, though, the hard-nose, back breaking, face punching NFL of yore seems to be a thing of the past.

Just like barefoot kickers.


So NFL fans, are you happier with the kinder, gentler NFL? Or do you miss the days when teams really and truly despised each other? Hit me up (umm, not literally...remember, kinder and gentler) and let me know!

By the way...."Ten Things We Miss About Football" will be re-airing this Sunday, August 7th at 9 a.m. Check it out!

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