Penalties levied by the NCAA and NFL are changing football. A warmer, fuzzier, nicer experience for the players. Does the world need a penalty filled game?

New Orleans against Washington. The Saints possession on 3rd down should have resulted in a quick punt. Instead a holding call gave them 15 yards and a first down – ultimately resulting in a scoring play. Was the hold egregious? Would it have resulted in injury? Could anyone actually call it holding other than a biased ref? Not likely. However, the announcers defend the call saying football is trying to protect the players. The penalties are mounting.

Arizona State University has been the victim of a few penalties this season. In their loss to San Diego State, Frank Darby was clearly targeted. The SDSU player was ejected – and ASU got 15 yards – but the deliberate targeting negated what should have been a 48 yard completion. The SDSU bench knew that they would come out ahead and used the targeting penalty to their advantage.

NFL NCAA Penalties

This season, both the NFL and the NCAA have been applying penalties inconsistently. On the one hand, they are ignoring obvious and malicious hits to the head and neck region. On the other hand, they are ejecting players for incidental contact. And, more often than not, it is the latter.

Football is moving away from being the “tough-man’s sport”. What would have been a great tackle 10 years ago is now the basis for ejections and fines. In the days when football was actually a sport, one defender could take down one player. Now, because the players are afraid to actually tackle, it takes 3 or 4 defenders to stop just one. The game is getting boring. There are penalties every other play.

Some years ago, the creators of South Park aired an episode called Sarcastaball. In it, one of the fathers complains that football is being so diluted and so touchy-feely that the kids might as well use balloons instead of footballs. Give hugs and not tackles. In the episode, everyone embraces the change and the kinder, gentler game is a success. The penalties are only for poor attitudes.

Unfortunately, the NCAA and the NFL seem to have drunk some of South Park’s Kool-Aid. They are taking a game that once was applauded for its difficulty, toughness, and even machismo and turning it into a fluffy joke. While its understandable that there is concern about head trauma and concussions, the players have made the choice to compete at this level. Its time for the NCAA and NFL to stop acting like helicopter parents wrapping their precious babies in bubble wrap.

Give the penalties a rest. Call the major ones – ones where someone really might get hurt. Skip the ones where the only injury is to their feelings.

Let’s play some FOOTBALL! Or – would you rather have milk and cookies and hug it out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.