New Rules Hurt The Players and Coaches
When you have collectively bargained agreement both sides have to give in on things that they feel are important. In the case of the NFL, the players gave a lot more than the owners- though they fail to realize this. Much of what the league gave the players actually hurts the players. In this article we will examine how some of the players’ union CBA wins are actually detrimental to the players and therefore the game.
Players enthusiastically accepted less padded practices and a bevy of practice rules and restrictions. The reason is that it makes the season easier. The intent is to make the game safer and reduce player injuries. The NFL has failed at these goals.
With less hits in practice players are less conditioned for the brutality of the sport. The players receive this brutality in one giant helping every Sunday afternoon. More alarmingly, the practice restrictions lead to deteriorating technique. The NFL does not run a circus but it looks that way with all the bad tackling on display. When good technique is not reinforced by practice bad technique becomes a habit. When faulty technique becomes a habit the players get injured. It may sound counterintuitive but less practice with pads makes the game more dangerous.
Veterans love the do not disturb sign that the CBA gives them in the offseason before mandatory mini camps. Many of the older players do not need contact with their coaches in this time period. The new rules however prevent rookies and eager young players from getting the early attention they need. A rookie should be able to get into the team facility and go over the playbook, technique and concepts with his coaches. Like many Unions do the Players Association protects and helps people with seniority first. Teams like the Minnesota Vikings with a rookie head coach and rookie quarterback are at a severe disadvantage.
Then there are teams like the Baltimore Ravens who are installing a brand new offense. Joe Flacco is being criticized (whats new?) for not organizing a off season practice session with his receivers. This is actually a silly complaint from fans. Flacco is in the process of learning a brand new offense. Before mandatory team practices Flacco barely had time to truly digest his new playbook that he literally just received. There was absolutely nothing that they could go over. Even if all the schedules worked out the only accomplishment would be pleasing the fans.
The new rules handicap the business of professional football. Its truly that simple.