Monday, February 4, 2013

4 comments Buzz Bissinger Thinks the NFL Sucks and Wants to Turn the NFL Players Into Girly-Men

When I think of Buzz Bissinger, the very first thing I think of is an angry old man screaming at bloggers. The second thing I think of is just how incredibly manly and tough he comes off as being on the television and in print. It's this very obvious toughness that caused him to write a column saying the NFL sucks, and even if it didn't suck, the sport is unwatchable because football doesn't require the players to be as tough as Buzz is. Actually, Buzz says the NFL has "Namby-pamby rules," so whatever that means, that's what Buzz really thinks about the NFL. Good burn, Buzz. Good burn.

The National Football League regular season ended Sunday …

Awaiting punchline...I'm sure it has something to do with the NFL being "namby-pamby."

If you were interested in the social ramifications of the murder-suicide by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher (none),

It's almost been well two months since Jovan Belcher killed his fiance and then killed himself. That's not really that long of a time. Yet Buzz thinks the social revolution to ban all weapons and stop domestic violence entirely hasn't worked, so there's no point in continuing the fight. Buzz thought we could get all domestic violence stopped at the very most a week or two after Belcher killed himself and his fiance. Clearly no one cares anymore, since social change is so easy to do in such a short time span.

the continued debate over concussions (point taken), a possible rule change to dilute a game already too diluted (terrible idea),

"We need to eliminate concussions as much as possible, but keep the game as violent as it currently is. There's no way these are contradicting statements."

and this amorphous thing called the NFL culture,  in which players act violent off the field because they are violent on it (duh), then it was maybe the best regular season ever.

I love how Buzz takes "the NFL culture" that a small percentage of NFL players participate in and then uses it to just say players act violent off the field because they are violent on it, like this doesn't go for other sports as well. There are plenty of NFL players who don't act violent off the field, just like there are plenty of baseball players who act violent off the field even though they don't play a violent sport. I don't know if NFL players act more violently than athletes in other sports, but there are NFL players who aren't violent, and violent athletes who play other (non-violent) sports.

If you were interested in the quality of play—watched only out of Pavlovian habit or fantasy football or gambling—then the 2012 season ranks among the worst. 

This is an opinion, not a fact. Don't pass off your opinion as if it were fact. I enjoyed the 2012 NFL season. Maybe that makes me a "namby-pamby" person.

Not as bad as the 2011 season, in which a Pop Warner second-stringer could have passed for 5,000 yards because of defenses neutered by rule changes and stripped of aggression. But close.

In conclusion, Buzz Bissinger thinks every NFL season sucks. So we should obviously listen very intently to him when he says the 2012 season was boring, since he has such an open mind and doesn't seem to just dislike the NFL. 

On Monday seven coaches got fired, and it should have been eight, with the New York Jets’ beyond-bombastic Rex Ryan.

Let's try to hang with Buzz Bissinger as he desperately attempts to prove his next point. Buzz says seven head coaches got fired and it should have been eight head coaches that got fired. So based on this statement, Buzz seems to not have an issue with these seven coaches being fired, and actually thinks there should have been eight head coaches fired.

Owner impatience is one reason, 

Wait, so if these coaches deserved to be fired then the owners really weren't being impatient were they? In fact, Buzz doesn't seem to think the owners were impatient enough because he also thinks Rex Ryan should have been fired. So he shouldn't say the owners were impatient when he thinks more head coaches should have been fired.

but so were listless teams that played such quarterback studs as Ryan Fitzpatrick, Nick Foles, Brady Quinn, and roughly 35 different ones from the Arizona Cardinals.

And the 2012 season was, of course, the first season where mediocre quarterbacks started any games for NFL teams...which is why the 2012 season was no good. No NFL teams had ever started shitty quarterbacks prior to this past NFL year.

The NFL is troubled. It’s not because of concussions or violence off the field

I think Buzz meant to type, "It IS because of concussions or violence off the field" because that's a much more accurate statement. 

or the league’s own politically correct, pussy-whipped ad campaign for improved safety.

Apparently Buzz's solution to the concussion and violence off the field issues is to make the game less safe overall, which would decrease player's safety. I'm not sure how that makes sense.

I'm not going to argue the league isn't working hard to make it seem like they care about player safety, but the NFL isn't in trouble because of the ad campaign for improved safety. The NFL is (potentially) in trouble because the league has a violent product. The NFL has had to adapt based on the litany of ex-players who are having their lives changed for the worse physically because of the time they spent playing in the NFL. The NFL is in trouble because the public is realizing more and more football is an inherently dangerous game and players are going to be severely injured playing the game, whether it is in the short-term or the long-term, no matter what the NFL tries to do. I don't like the kickoff moving up five yards, but I get why the NFL did it. They have to try and adapt to make the sport 5% less dangerous, or otherwise the sport would really be in trouble. The product is still watchable, no matter what Buzz says.

It is because the product itself is largely unwatchable, too many dull teams playing too many other dull teams,

There are always dull or shitty teams. The product is still watchable. The NFL has had to balance the fact it is an inherently dangerous sport with attempts to improve player safety. It's not exactly easy to do, but the measures they have taken can be frustrating at times (like the discussion over whether an offensive player moved his head and caused the helmet-to-helmet contact a defensive player got called for), yet the product is still very much watchable. It had to be changed in response to the concussion issues that ex-players were experiencing after their playing career was over.

I'm not sympathizing with Roger Goodell, but this is the balance he has to strike. On one hand you have those like Bill Simmons who criticize him for not paying attention to concussion issues early enough or doing enough to prevent players from experiencing concussion-related issues. On the other hand, you have those like Buzz Bissinger who thinks the game is being pussified and the changes are making the game unwatchable. He has to keep the violent spirit of the inherently dangerous sport while also increasing the safety of the inherently dangerous sport. I don't sympathize with Goodell, but he can't and won't please everyone.

the only excitement now guessing the halftime entertainment at the Super Bowl and which performer will trip or simply keel over from old age. Or wondering if the day will ever come that Tim Tebow throws an incomplete pass still in-bounds.

I hate to make a generalized statement (ok, I really don't hate it), but if you didn't enjoy the NFL this year then there is a possibility you don't like NFL football. This has been an exciting year for NFL fans. New stars have been drafted, new (and old debates) have started, and this is a year where there isn't one dominant team in either conference that seems destined to make the Super Bowl. So if Buzz doesn't find excitement in watching the NFL this season, it is possible he just doesn't like to watch the NFL. I am sure he would argue he does like the NFL, just not with the current rules, but that's a cop-out. The game hasn't changed all that much from five years ago. The NFL has cracked down on hits to the head, they don't allow defenders to man-handle receivers and are overall more concerned with player safety, but the game isn't unrecognizable.

Football is violent because it was designed to be violent. Football hurts because it is meant to hurt. 

I 100% agree with this statement. Football is a violent sport that is designed to be violent and is difficult to play any other way. The problem that Buzz fails to grasp is that the NFL has to stay violent while also working harder to protect the NFL players. I'm not pushing the panic button, but the NFL had to make changes to save face in light of the concussion lawsuit brought by ex-players and the documented suicides of ex-NFL players caused by depression. Some of these suicides have been speculatively linked to concussions. Football is violent and to ensure the sport didn't go the way of boxing Roger Goodell and the NFL had to make tweaks to the game as opposed to putting their head in the sand hoping these concussion problems go away. Football is violent and that's the problem. If we want to still watch football on Sundays then the NFL had to change.

Hitting is not for the faint of heart, and I proudly number myself among the cowards after getting slammed into the ground on a missed tackle in eighth grade that I still remember.

Right, imagine getting slammed into the ground 20-30 times in a game by an overly-grown man (who weighs 220-300 pounds). That's the nature of the NFL. It is violent, but had to change slightly to endure as a sport. The fact Buzz admits he is a coward only shows that his tough guy act in calling the NFL "namby-pamby" is a farce.

But some of the referee calls this year in which contact was so clearly incidental, defensive linemen gyrating into contorted ballet to not touch the quarterback but still getting flagged, were ridiculous.

Like most things in life, we can blame Tom Brady for this. Defenders aren't allowed to make contact with a quarterbacks head or dive at his knees. The way the NFL protects quarterbacks was a big issue prior to this season, so Buzz's whining about how the NFL protects quarterbacks didn't cause the 2012 NFL season to be no good. Buzz is just being crotchety.

Football still is football, but every year it edges closer to a tamped-down ersatz version thanks to Roger Goodell, the Mother Teresa of professional sports commissioners.

And yet, Buzz still misses the point that the NFL had to change or face more concussion-related lawsuits and a backlash from certain sectors of the public. Adapt or die. The NFL couldn't go allowing helmet-to-helmet hits to continue unabated while pretending to care about their player's safety. Of course that isn't the issue here. Buzzs think the NFL shouldn't have done anything at all to make the sport less violent, which not only isn't realistic, but also shows a fundamental ignorance of the player safety issues the NFL faces.

If Mother Goodell

Catchy nickname. I'd also like to point out Buzz is using a off-shoot of Mother Teresa's name in a negative light. Mother Teresa spent her lifetime helping out those less fortunate and more needy, but to Buzz Bissinger this just showed how pussified and weak she was.

has his way, don’t be surprised if “huddles” become “meditations,” “timeouts” turned into yoga breaks, posturpedic mattresses placed in the pocket to further protect the quarterback.

Buzz is the same guy who took one hard hit as an 8th grader and quit playing football forever. This is the guy who is complaining that football is becoming too soft. Admitting he is a wimp shouldn't cause the fact NFL players aren't wimps and this takes a toll on their body over the long-term to be ignored.

Now there is serious talk about banning kickoffs. Kickoffs are adrenaline-spiked kamikaze, players running at full speed trying to decapitate each other. 

Based on that description I can't see why the NFL would look to ban kickoffs.

It seems that Buzz has a fundamental inability to understand how and why the NFL is trying to make the sport safer. Yes, football is an inherently violent sport and to remove this violence is to change the sport so basically it would no longer resemble football. Yes, I get there are people who think the NFL has gone too far to protect players, but this is something that needed to be done (dramatic voice inserted) to save the sport. Football will always be violent, but the last thing the NFL needed was the perception they don't care about the players, so they tweaked the game to make it a slightly safer sport.

Stop watching the sport if you don't like the changes. I used to love the NBA and rarely missed a game, but some of the rule changes and changes in the way the game is played makes it no longer my favorite professional league to watch. The NFL had to change in some ways. I don't always like it, but I also think the players understand the new rules and the sport hasn't been changed so much to me that it is no longer recognizable. Again, Buzz is being crotchety. I hate the new kickoff rule, but when Buzz describes it as,

"adrenaline-spiked kamikaze, players running at full speed trying to decapitate each other"  

I can see this statement as an argument to eliminate the kickoff entirely.

Journeyman players whose only skill is total disregard for their bodies become legends, albeit short-term ones. It’s part of the visceral thrill, and no single play in football can shift momentum more than a kickoff return for a touchdown.

And there still are kickoff returns for a touchdown. If you notice, Buzz has slowly changed this article from "The 2012 season stunk and the league is becoming namby-pamby" to "I hate change and the NFL is ruining the product, but I still think concussions are an issue yet want to ignore that because I have a 3pm deadline to meet and can't think of anything else to write."

If that’s the case, it is only fair that other sports surrender—no more pitching inside in baseball for fear an errant throw might hit a batter, no more body checks in hockey, no more headers in soccer, bowling balls made of papier-mâché for the sanctity of those pins taking such brutal beatings.

Let's hold back the reins a bit you little drama queen. None of these sports, outside of maybe hockey, have had so many documented cases of ex-players having experience health-related issues after their playing days like NFL players have. Terry Steinbach isn't walking around in a daze or threatening to kill himself because he got beaned in the head 20 years ago. Pele isn't in a wheelchair due to too many headers during his playing days.

The evidence does mount that not only concussions but repetitive hits in football (how the hell are you going to get rid of that?) can have terrible after-effects.

The NFL knows this, which is why they are cracking down on helmet-to-helmet hits and trying to make the game as safe as it possibly can be. Buzz can't acknowledge the effect of concussions on NFL players and then claim the league is becoming namby-pamby and protecting players too much. He has to see the financial and societal reason for the NFL making the rule changes.

The adoption of a new rule pushing kickoffs from the 30 to the 35-yard line did result in 20 concussions in 2011 as compared to 35 in 2010. If you subtract kickoffs, the number of concussions rose from 235 in 2010 to 246 in 2011, although part of that increase may be due to more stringent reporting.

"May be due to more stringent reporting." May be? I would say this increase is directly and unequivocally connected to the more stringent reporting. Teams are becoming more and more aware of the signs of concussions and are focusing more on what concussions symptoms after a game is played can look like. With increased knowledge of concussions comes an increase reporting of concussion symptoms. There aren't necessarily more people with AIDS than there was 30 years ago, it's just there is a greater awareness of the disease.

Head injuries are an occupational hazard of the game.

I 100% agree players know what they are getting into. I also think the fact the players know what they are getting into isn't any reason to not try and make football safer.

A study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health showed that pro players from the 1960s and 1970s, and 1980s had lower mortality rates than the male general population.

Well that just proves football is really safe then, doesn't it? What this study doesn't include is the assumption pro players are more physically fit than the male general population, which would explain the higher mortality rate of the general male population. Being fat and out of shape kills people too. This study also doesn't include the quality of life of pro players versus the general male population. I'm not sure how to include this, but just because pro players aren't dying doesn't mean their quality of life isn't worse than the general male population.

To improve player safety and still maintain the necessary bloodlust spectacle of the game, the answer lies in better equipment, not in continued politically correct dilution. Some say helmets cannot be improved, but in the age of technology and advance medical discovery we live in today, that’s balderdash. 

Namby-pamby balderdash to be exact.

Goodell also has to get off the increasingly wearisome holier-than-thou kick. He recently opposed instituting sports betting in Atlantic City. It may please the holy rollers who also own an arsenal of semi-automatic weapons for Armageddon, but football would be a higher form of bocce ball without gambling.

This really has nothing to do with why the 2012 season wasn't very good. This is what happens when you give a crotchety old man a forum to complain, he can rarely stay on topic.

It needs gambling, given the swill we are forced to watch.  

There have been exceptions this season. Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson may go down as the best runner in NFL history, and the same with Denver Bronco quarterback Peyton Manning after leaving the Indianapolis Colts.

How about the fact there are five outstanding offensive rookies that came into the league this year? How about the fact there are exciting second year quarterbacks in the NFL? None of this excites Buzz apparently. Things were better back in the good old days, whenever the hell that was.

But ponder the playoffs this weekend, and do you really want to see Christian Ponder at quarterback for the Vikings (17th in the league with a 53.8 total quarterback rating as calibrated by ESPN)?

Yes, I do. I saw Brad Johnson/Trent Dilfer win a Super Bowl and T.J. Yikes win a playoff game last year. Christian Ponder won't be the first or the last mediocre quarterback to lead his team to the playoffs. There have been plenty of other mediocre quarterbacks who have done this same thing in the past, so Buzz has no point.

As good as they have been, do you really trust two rookie quarterbacks in Robert Griffin III (6th) of the Washington Redskins and Andrew Luck of the Colts (11th), still young mixtures of exciting and woeful?

What the hell does it matter if I trust these quarterbacks or not? This doesn't make the NFL any less exciting to have two rookie quarterbacks (actually three) starting games in the playoffs. Does Buzz has some bizarre idea that the NFL can only be exciting when the best quarterbacks are all in the playoffs? Then why he didn't he like the 2012 regular season? All of the great quarterbacks played during the 2012 season, so Buzz should have thought the regular season was very exciting. You know, 2012 isn't the first year some NFL teams had shitty quarterbacks.

Does Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (14th) do anything for you, given that he has thrown three touchdowns in the past five games? Or Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals (22nd)? Or Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens (25th)?

The playoffs are not just about what quarterbacks are matching up against each other. Football is a team game and the playoffs are exciting because of the teams that are playing each other. The playoffs can't simply be dismissed as boring because every quarterback in the playoffs isn't elite based on an ESPN rating for that quarterback.

The big guns—Manning and New England Patriot Tom Brady and Atlanta Falcon Matt Ryan (maybe)—have first-round byes.

So the 2012 NFL season would be less boring if these elite quarterbacks didn't have a first round bye and had to play in the first round? Also, if both Brady and Ryan were playing with concussions this would prove they aren't namby-pamby pussy-boys and Buzz Bissinger would then feel like the NFL was worth watching again.

But last year’s Super Bowl winner, the wildcard New York Giants, tripped into the playoffs with a record of 9 and 7. Two years before it was the wildcard Pittsburgh Steelers. The last time the team with the best regular season record won the Super Bowl was the Patriots in 2004. Parity has become pariah.

Yes, it is terrible the NFL has a system set up where every NFL team feels like it can compete at the beginning of each year. As much as Buzz bitches about NFL parity becoming pariah, the Giants have won two Super Bowls in the last five years, the Patriots have been to two Super Bowls in the last five years, and there have been consistently good teams in both the AFC and NFC over the last decade. So there is parity, but it isn't like every NFL season is just a crapshoot. The NFL has good parity in that you know some of the these teams that will be good, along with teams that surprise and make the playoffs.

So just make sure your local bookie is on speed dial.

But gambling isn't endorsed by the NFL and this is why the 2012 NFL season was no good, boring, and namby-pamby. Well, along with the NFL trying small changes to prevent it's players from experiencing short and long-term health issues that Buzz acknowledges exist, yet can't seem to make the connection between the financial and societal repercussions these health issues could present if the NFL didn't make these small changes. I don't like all the changes, but the 2012 NFL season didn't stink because of these changes. If Buzz thinks the NFL stinks it could be because he doesn't like the sport.


HH said...

league’s own politically correct, pussy-whipped ad campaign for improved safety

You think he knows that "pussy-whipped" refers to men who do whatever their women tell them to do because they [the men] want to continue having regular sex with the women? 'Cause I don't know of any ladies who are threatening to withhold sex from NFL executives until concussion rates decline.

Eric C said...

So any Pop Warner second-string quarterback could have passed for 5,000 yards in 2011, but in 2012, there was shitty quarterback play from Shitzpatrick, Foles, Quinn, and Arizona. Obvious solution: they should have started a backup Pop Warner quarterback. You can't have it both ways, either it is too easy to play QB or it is not.

Arjun Chandrasekhar said...

robert griffin, andrew luck, and russell wilson had perhaps the most compelling ROY race in years. Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson had two of the most incredible comeback seasons in years. The patriots and 49ers offense set the league on fire using concepts implemented by the most exciting college football teams. the playoffs produced a lot of really exciting games (seattle/washington, baltimore/denver, seattle/atlanta, san francisco/atlanta, san francisco/baltimore). but i suppose if buzz bissinger decides that this season was factually the worst in the history of ever then i guess that's that and we're all idiots for having enjoyed the season.

Bengoodfella said...

HH, I'm pretty sure he doesn't know that. He's just trying tough talk about the NFL, because Buzz is a man who likes manly sports.

Eric, but Buzz wants it both ways. It's too easy to play quarterback, but the quarterback play was shitty. Having it both ways is so much fun though.

Arjun, you are stupid for having enjoyed the season. I hope you feel stupid for enjoying a season where three rookie quarterbacks entered the league and played well. Anyone who is friends with Tony LaRussa is obviously smarter than any of us.