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Cory's Corner: What League Is This?

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Cory's Corner: What League Is This?

Mark Cuban is looking like Nostradamus after what he said in 2014.

“Just watch,” Cuban noted after the NFL just expanded its TV package. “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I'm just telling you, when you've got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That's rule No. 1 of business.”

The reason I bring that quote up is because I’m not exactly sure what the NFL is marketing itself to be? Before this season, if you sat down hoping to see the same game hard-hitting game that gave us Ray Nitschke and Lawrence Taylor, you’d still be searching. 

Today’s game doesn’t allow defenses to play defense. What’s worse, it’s making them terrified and forcing them to pull up, which often allows the play to continue causing ridicule on said defensive player. That happened in Week 2 vs. Minnesota. Mike Daniels met Kirk Cousins but since Cousins gave him a pump fake and since Daniels didn’t want to hit a quarterback that didn’t have the ball, he put the brakes on. 

Of course, there’s the other side with the NFL going Blair Witch Project on Clay Matthews. The first week was a bad decision by Matthews but he has gotten jobbed the last two weeks. And what’s worse, nobody seems to know what the answer is for players that are rushing the quarterback. 

There has been 33 roughing the passer penalties called in the NFL this season and the league is on pace to call 165. Last year, there were a total of 107 and in 2016 there were 89. This isn’t just a point of emphasis, the NFL is changing outcomes — subjectively. My whole point is, how do we know that a different set of refs would call Matthews’ hit on Sunday roughing the passer? Roughing the passer has turned into the toughest call to interpret in sports, usurping the block-charge call in hoops. 

Look, I get what the NFL is doing. It’s trying to keep starting quarterbacks in the game, because many casual fans gauge their interest by who is under center. But at the same time, the league has totally devalued everyone else and has made defenses nearly impossible to play. If you were a college football player, why in the world would you aspire to be a defensive player? The next level not only disrespects you but it totally throws everything you’ve ever learned in your entire playing career into the garbage. 

Matthews said that the NFL is “soft,” but I don’t even think quarterbacks want to see the game degrade like this. The game doesn’t look like football anymore. First it was complete confusion in terms of what a catch is and now the league has no idea what a form tackle is. 

The NFL is at a crossroads right now. It has to decide what kind of a product it wants moving forward. If it continues to let folks in the booth dictate how the game is played, the game will be littered with stoppages and second-guessing. But if the league gives autonomy back to the refs, the game will operate smoothly and resemble what we all remember. 

I don’t think the NFL will change the interpretation of the rule midstream but there’s no way it wants the enduring image from Super Bowl LIII being an erroneous roughing the passer call that decides the biggest game of the year. 

Your move Roger Goodell. I guess that’s why you make the big bucks. 


Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (7) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Johnblood27's picture

Just forget it Corey.

This hog has already been taken to the local abattoir.

My attention and my money are going elsewhere.

stockholder's picture

Soft? CMIII will not make the Hall of Fame because of it.

Rossonero's picture

The quote from Mark Cuban was very astute. I'm losing interest too. The ultimate responsibility lies with Goodell, but also Alberto Riveron, who is head of officiating.

GBPDAN1's picture

This game wasn't built on, or became popular, based on softness. It's hard to watch now. I also keep hearing that old NFL films clip of Marv Levy yelling out to the Refs " YOU OVER OFFICIOUS JERKS" when I watch a Packers game lately. The flags thrown in our game against the Queens really irked me, than a follow up of 11 flags for 115 yards against Washington was hardto stomach. Not saying the players didn't commit some of these penalties, but a lot are tricky tac or are not even penalties!

I'm actually hesitant to watch a game now because I know I'm going to get upset during and after the game, which isn't healthy.

Since '61's picture

Cory - looks like you have a double post! Thanks, Since '61

PatrickGB's picture

I don’t like the snarky Mark Cuban. But he may be right. I also think that Thursday night football is too much. The protests and other drama does not help. Then there is fantasy football. FF rewards “fans” with stats and yet no loyalty to the actual teams that they play for. Then, there are the rules that seem arbitrary at best.

A Pickled Packer's picture

I was thinking about a remedy to this and I thought of a point system instead of a penalty that punishes a player but not the team for landing on the QB. Three strikes and you get slammed with a fine, if the QB is injured you get nailed right there with a hefty, but the team and the game is spared. This sounds ridiculous but if your adamant about protecting the QB and keep the integrity of the game something radical has to be thought of because this is truly turning the NFL into the No Fun League.

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