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Football Game

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The crowd sat on the edge, waiting impatiently for the next pass, the next tackle. This intense game had both teams fighting for control of the ball, struggling to score the next touchdown. The crowd was alive with concentration, which was then immediately interrupted by deafening cheers as soon as their team scored. As a fan, football from my perspective has always been a phenomenal sport that creates an intense, fun, and lively social atmosphere. It gives a chance for friends and family to bond over cheering their team on, while jokingly trash talking others in a casual manner. At a particular Eagles vs. Cowboys game I attended last year, this experience is exactly what I received. The lights, the screams, and the smell of delicious food all served to create a fun event. The highlight of the night, however, was when quarterback Michael Vick got hit extremely hard in the back field.

It should have been a late hit but no whistles were blown. The crowd was immediately silenced by the sudden knockout. No one had expected such a hard hit. We fans craned our neck desperately trying to get a better view of what was going on. I remember being completely in awe of the violent nature of football that was revealed to me that night. I was surprised to find that such a dangerous game was even being encouraged to play! But there was one thing that was undeniable for sure— that hit was one moment I would surely never forget. From that game on, I always continued to follow the events and highlights of football. The league put out a lot of new rules for the NFL, to ensure the safety of its players. One of these rules was that a defenseless player cannot be tackled.

So for example, if a receiver goes up for the ball, he cannot be tackled in the air. Another rule is the helmet to helmet tackle. A defender is not allowed to make a hit on a player, making contact from his helmet to the defenders. This can result in a serious concussion, and for long time purposes, the players can develop brain damage. To also make the game safer, kickoffs are now issued on the 30 yard line opposed to the traditional 20 yard line. This makes the return possibility very low, because the kick usually ends up deep in the end zone. This new rule change enforced on the kickoffs also accounts of less injuries, because it is one less play being executed.

Special rules for quarterbacks have also been placed. Quarterbacks are looked at as the captains of their team. They know the offense’s strengths and weaknesses the best so they can make the right calls in the right situation. These players cannot be injured whatsoever, because of their impact on the game. That is why new rules, such as late tackles, are being enforced on defenders that try to scare the quarterbacks. When the new rules first came out, I supported and respected the fact that they were concerned about the player’s safety. The scientific discoveries about head trauma and mental illness made sense to me, and protecting the players from it seemed like a great idea. Soon the rules were being strictly enforced in the pros.

When my friend and I went to the Cowboys and Eagles game, one of the first things that happened was a foul called for hitting helmets with a player. I approved of the call, it seemed fair. But out of the corner of my eye, I saw my friend shaking his head and say under his breath, “Man, football just isn’t the same anymore.” I shrugged it off— it wasn’t my fault he wasn’t enjoying the game. But later that night, his words tossed around in my head. Something did seem different about that game. But what exactly did he mean by not being the same? This question led me to reminisce back to earlier that game, when Vick first got late hit in the back field. The one thing I was certain of was that the beauty of the sport was created by the suspense of the game.

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