Vinny Testaverde somehow survived a 21-year NFL career during which referees were not flagging opponents for touching his head or hitting him below the knees. The rules of the game have changed since Vinny T.’s prime, and you might be surprised to hear that he is not a big supporter of them.
During an interview with “Mike and Mike in the Morning” this week, the former NFL quarterback said he believes the league has gone a bit overboard in protecting its passers and receivers.
“I think they’re being a little overprotective,” Testaverde said. “When I came in the league, you could hit a quarterback high, you could hit him low, you could hit him late. Today, you can’t do any of that. So I think they’re just being a little overprotective of the quarterbacks and certainly a little overprotective of the receivers.
“It’s a contact sport. It’s a violent game. You’re gonna have some big hits.”
Typically quarterbacks and other skill players are the ones who support the NFL’s emphasis on player safety, but Testaverde is old school. While big hits boost ratings, the league has decided to focus more on the long-term health of its players and limit the amount of disability settlements it will have to deal with in the future.
Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle of the argument. A lot of the helmet-to-helmet shots defenders put on defenseless receivers are unnecessary and should be prevented. At the same time, guys are being flagged these days for simply hitting a quarterback or a receiver too hard. If a crushing blow is delivered, more often than not a flag for unnecessary roughness is coming regardless of where the contact occurred. That, in my opinion, has had a negative effect on the game.
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