Vinny Testaverde: NFL is overprotective of quarterbacks and receivers

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.

Helmet smack to Pro Football Talk

Vinny Testaverde Will Be Missed

Just as I was making fun of the Niners for starting Chris Weinke at quarterback and brought up a Vinny reference, the news comes across the wire that My Grandpa will be retiring at season’s end. In other words, he’s done after Sunday. I have to say, it’s quite a sad day for me. What other QB do you know who will stick around til they’re 44, providing me with endless content? Perhaps Brett Favre? I don’t know. Besides, will it even be fun to clown on Favre eight years from now?

Goodness, consider the legacy of one Vinny Testaverde. The man won a Heisman before half of you were born, and he’s still playing pro football as of this weekend. And how about this one? He’s the only QB in history to throw at least a TD pass in 21 straight seasons. I’m going to venture out on a limb and say that record won’t be broken any time soon. Vinny, for all the laughing and humor he provides, has to be respected for his ability to compete at an elite level at such a high age. Hopefully he’ll still have a few brain cells left to enjoy retirement.

Vinny Testaverde Refuses to Die

Damn, I remember back in the day when I was first growing up and Vinny Testaverde was just finishing up what had been a pretty decent career. Now, I’m no longer growing up, but the same can be said about Vinny. And rumblings are that the pre-historic, leather helmet wearing, tie-dyed t-shirting Testaverde will be signing with the Patriots once again this year. As he told The Tony Bruno Show on Sporting News Radio:

“I was up there for minicamp,” he said. “The plan was to wait until two-a-days were over, then I was going to go on in there and join the team then.”

Fact or fiction: Vinny Testaverde has been in the NFL longer than most NBA players have been born? Fact. Fact or fiction: you would rather have Vinny Testaverde as your backup than Joey Harrington? Probably fact. And what does that say for you? It will be interesting to see if the Pats actually sign him to a contract. Just another Bill Belichick specialty for you — a 43-year-old quarterback. Now you know their secret weapon.