Green Bay Packers, NFL and integrity

The Green Bay Packers should be playing with three eyes open, as long as each player is on the field.

That’s the left eye, the right eye and one on the back of their heads.

They want to keep extra awareness on the sidelines, too. You never know when some sort of rotten, childish stunt will be pulled during an NFL game, and it’s a good bet to be aware at all times, including on the sidelines.

 

Is this some sort of paranoid creation of a scared to death Packers fan?

Well, sort of.

The track record of offenses are too long to mention, but include kicking quarterbacks and opposing players, spitting, late hits, and every other kind of bad manners and mean spirit that go along with verbal nonsensical babbling at other players.

This causes hardships for a team.

Old-timers, or others who listen to 1960s and 1970s music can remember the song about a guy with a bad attitude. “A Boy Named Sue” after all, had named him in such a way, he was a marked man. “A boy Named Sue” hit number one on country and rock charts back at that time, making another hit for Johnny Cash, himself a music icon, just like the Packers or Detroit Lions are icons of football.

Johnny became an icon doing good things, making music. The Lions’ defensive end who wears the number 90 also goes by the same name as Cash’s song, at least phonetically –  “Suh.”

Cash, in that famous song, went on to explain all the trouble Sue made for himself, blaming his father for giving him such a feminine name. Ndamukong was given as a first name for the Lions troublemaker. Break that name down, and what do we get? [N - dam - u - kong]. This play on words is accurate of his style on the field. With Suh being 6-4 and up to 317 pounds, he’s big next to average people, and that itself can be antagonizing to players facing him.

Add in the fact that Suh will hit you after the whistle blows, with his helmet or even stomp on players after the play is dead. He has drawn himself a list of dirty football play over his five years in the league, and has had warnings, reprimands and fines come his way, but he never seems to learn to play by the rules.

The Packers face their division rival (Detroit) twice each year. With the total number of teams right now at 32, the NFL should abandon that old scheduling rule to once per year. It would give the champions of the division more accurate means of “who’s da’ best” in the league, not just the division of four totaling a half-season. I, for one, would be happy not to face Suh at all. He is a thorn in the side of the NFL.

The Packers have a long tradition of playing fair, with very little in the lines of being dirty or cheating. No team has a perfect record over the 93 years the NFL has been organized.

In tradition, the Packers have long held a clean slate. The most glaring example of “dirty play” was from the Forrest Gregg administration. His teams were tough, and a few players went beyond tough, with the most glaring example, the Charles Martin on Jim McMahon incident.” It was no accident. Martin, a full four seconds after the whistle, picked McMahon up and body slammed him to the turf. Yes, Martin was fined and suspended, but we find the punishment did not fit the crime. This was the dirtiest Packers play of all time.

Afterward, the team returned to normalcy with the next coaching change. The Packers have always played the game of football as it should be played, tough, but with a clean slate.

Overall, NFL means fair, hard-hitting football. There will always be a few doing things wrong wherever you go – on the job, at a store, or anywhere you can think. These characters are acting like delinquent juveniles, looking for attention.

A serious injury occured when Martin slammed McMahon, and should have resulted in a much more severe punishment. These dirty players deserve much more than small fines and two games off for taking a guy out of action. They (the league’s management committees) need to show the kids who are learning the game, that their stupidity in doing reckless acts on the field can lead to problems and will not be tolerated no matter how insignificant the infraction may seem. This is not a demeanor you want to teach any child, or adult.

The league needs to set up fines on a percentage basis. A first-year player on the league’s minimum pay schedule will pay a much higher percentage, the way things are now, in comparison to an established Pro Bowl quarterback. Secondly, the crime needs to have penalties that fit.

A late hit will not produce injuries most times, when only a fraction of a half-step late. But four seconds after the whistle? Come on. Putting a guy out for the season deserves the highest of penalties. Now, the infraction might be passing down rules that will give the highest penalty allowed, but “highest” was not high at all. A fine and a couple games off is not a big deal. Getting knocked out for a half season, or even just one game, from an act that took place after a play is dead should warrant a a penalty to deter such acts in the future.

Much longer, stiffer penalties, as well as income lost for the wrong-doing player might make them think before acting in such tasteless manners.

During the Lombardi administration, celebrating after a touchdown was considered an infraction by Vince Lombardi himself. Penalties were handed out, including fines and extra physical activities, such as extra laps.

Somewhere down the line the “parties” between plays, or jumping into the stands gave the Packers an identity of their own. It was an original Green Bay tradition that began in the 1990s. The Packers new winning ways had returned and players around the league were dancing around after high-octane plays were run. Lombardi didn’t want his players getting the horse ahead of the carriage. One great play doesn’t win the game. Players were to get back to their position and prepare for the next play. He felt that celebrating would take away the concentration. The focus would be lost, and there have been times over the past two decades the team has floundered after such activities. We have seen the same from Mr. Suh. A celebration on a tackle followed by a walk through on the following play.

Things have changed since the 1960s and celebrations should be brief and tasteful as back then. I have thought about the Lambeau leap causing too much of a disturbance on players’ focus, quite a few times over the past 20 years. My guess was that sooner or later a fan would be injured, creating an insurance coverage nightmare. If the team must pay out for such a thing, and/or be subject to further legal suits, the leap would stop.

Ndamukong Suh, as well as all players around the NFL, college, high-school, and all the way to Pop Warner that like to test conformities, playing “hit below the belt” should take time to think. Take a look at the traditions Coach Lombardi practiced, as well as what those traditions produced. They produced many more wins than losses. They produced championships and titles. That is why they call Green Bay Titletown.

There will always be players testing the system, seeing what they can get away with. Some try to hurt others. That is not professional. The NFL is not roller derby or “All-Star Wrestling.” While no team is free from penalties, things can lean toward clean. The hold, the offsides penalties and infractions caused by lapses of concentration are difficult to stop, and will continue.

While there is shame in them, they are going to happen. Things happen. Those who intentionally injure or attempt to injure opponents need to be forced out of such acts. Perhaps a season with no pay or play?

This game needs to be preserved. High action passing games? Fine. Bloody games, fights, or late hits? Get outa’ here! That is not football.

Let’s keep the game real. Let’s keep things fair. Let’s not tolerate dirty play. In doing so, we will preserve the NFL to what it has become.

The greatest game in America.

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