Let the players decide the game.
It is a frequent mantra among fans and with which NFL the players seem to agree. Among the 68 players present Athleticismthe recent NFL player poll who answered a question about the biggest problem facing the league today, nearly a quarter cited officiating and the number of penalties called.
“We have seen many games this year where everything was in the hands of the referees,” said one player. “There are no consequences for them, but these games have big implications on the playoffs and things like that.”
As players made clear when asked about an NFL rule they would changedefensive fouls for pass interference, roughness of the passer and targeting are their biggest complaints.
Defensive pass interference “can be a game changer,” another player said. “You throw a deep ball, DB tries to make a play and the receiver goes back to it even though he wasn’t going to catch it and they get the ball back on the 1-yard line. You are always at a disadvantage.
Another player said he agreed with the rules designed to protect the quarterback, but was concerned about the lack of consistency in their enforcement.
“I think some of these player safety rules are really good,” he said. “I think the way they try to protect the quarterbacks is great. I don’t think the rule is always clear. I think you see manhandling the passer when he shouldn’t and you don’t see it when it seems like it should be. I think these player safety rules are just too inconsistent.
The second biggest issue for players is the ongoing debate over NFL playing surfaces, with more than 17% of our respondents continuing to advocate for improved field conditions.
NFL turf problem a real concern, players say in survey
“Grass fields are healthier. The guys prefer to play on grass. And they trade all the turf fields for football players, not their own players. It makes no sense,” said a player whose local team plays on grass. “Vegas does it inside, Arizona does it inside, Lambeau does it outside, Chicago does it outside, Cleveland does it outside. You can grow grass anywhere, no excuses.
For others, the problem is more than just eliminating artificial turf.
“Teams should make enough money to be able to maintain a grass field, but it goes beyond that,” this player said. “Some of the grass pitches aren’t good either. There should be some uniformity in the surfaces and the way they are maintained.
Speaking of money, players are tired of the NFL taking money from them, with 14% citing fines as the league’s biggest problem. In Week 10, players were fined nearly $4 million this season.
One player was particularly concerned that “ball carriers are being fined for unnecessary roughness.” You just have to let people play. The league has already fined running backs more than $215,000 for unauthorized helmet use. This represents almost a third of the fines imposed in the league for this misconduct, with PittsburghIt is Jaylen Warren be sentenced to two fines in the amount of $97,112 and to Las Vegas’ Josh Jacobs sentenced to two fines totaling $43,710. Jacobs was fined for consecutive weeks, the first prompting him to implore the NFL to “relax with the bs.”
These running back fines seemed to be something of a double whammy for players already dealing with the question of place value, a topic raised by a handful of players.
“I feel like there are overpaid positions and underpaid positions,” one player said. “If you can play ball, I don’t think it should be like, ‘You play this position, you should only be able to win this.'”
Another player kept the issue simpler: “Quarterbacks are paid too much. »
Yet another, sharing a similar opinion, sought to remind people that defenses matter too.
“The league wants offense. The fans want offense. It’s a bit complicated here, but the defenses are good,” he said. “They are fast. There are a small handful of elite quarterbacks. There’s a lot of ticking calls with hold and stuff like that. If we win 15-13, that’s fine with me. But I don’t really think there are many quarterbacks capable of putting up 300 yards and 30 points every week. I think there are enough good defenses that it’s hard to say, “OK, we got our QB and now we’re great.” So maybe the structure of money and superstars is a little unbalanced.
Another player emphasized the dichotomy between the lack of fully guaranteed contracts and the NFL’s interest in protecting player safety.
“When your argument (against guaranteed contracts) is, ‘Well, we think this guy is going to get hurt,’ it makes me a little confused,” he said. “We preach player safety and we care about you and your family and everything else, and your only escape from getting guaranteed money is, ‘Well, what if you get hurt?’ Doesn’t it make you want to guarantee it more?
NFL players: Arrowhead Stadium is the best place to play
Perhaps the most thoughtful response came from a player who advocated for mental health support.
“With how easily opinions can be read on social media, if men don’t have a strong support system and good self-esteem, it can be very difficult,” he said. declared. “Sometimes people don’t understand that just because a player makes a certain amount of money doesn’t mean they’re invincible to comments or things like that. Someone tweeting it’s like, “Hey, it’s just this one person.” But multiply that by thousands of people who think the same way.
“Then it’s all like, ‘This guy sucks!’ to “I’m going to kill your family!” to “Your wife is ugly!” » They will even talk about your children. And that’s probably something that will never be fixed because the NFL is such a fan-driven sport, and that’s what makes our game grow. We open everything up to the fans so they can really get involved . … Fantasy football, and then sports betting, probably increased that (vitriol) because they made it more emotional and fans are more invested. There’s some give and take because they’re obviously invested in football, but when it doesn’t go the way they want it to, they’re obviously upset.
Other issues cited by several players include gambling, lack of sufficient health care and a retirement program that lags behind other sports.
“Baseball players get a lot more,” said one player who mentioned pensions, “and we’re the ones taking all the body hits.”
(Top photos: Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images and Elsa/Getty Images)
“The Football 100,” the definitive ranking of the 100 greatest NFL players of all time, is now on sale. Order it here.