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Old 07-13-2012, 06:12 AM    (permalink
Ness
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Default Is the passion of the game as strong as it was for players twenty years ago?

I was watching the Cowboys against the 49ers 1994 regular season game that occurred in week 11. I have the entire original broadcast. And I noticed something that I rarely see among NFL teams as a whole now and days. Especially with how cerebral broadcasting. The players in that game played with a ridiculous amount of passion. Maybe because it was just Cowboys/49ers and both teams knew they were the only two that were really playing for the title that year, but it seemed like a heavy weight fight almost. Some things that stuck out to me while viewing:

- Charles Haley being the only player for the Cowboys that went out for the coin toss and stared the other 49ers captains and the ref with a gaze that didn't waver. Maybe he was just crazy, but...that was intense.

- Michael Irvin clearly being pissed off heading into the locker room at halftime when the Cowboys missed a field goal to take the lead. He looked like he was fuming.

- Steve Young was the most joyous I remember seeing him when the 49ers scored the final touchdown of the game after Merton Hank's second interception of the afternoon (Merton was clearly the MVP of that game by the way). Young was prancing around in a circle several times after Brent Jones caught the touchdown looking relieved that he had finally beat the Cowboys.

- Charles Haley being upset on the sideline knowing his team lost. I think he was literally crying. I didn't see any tears, but his hand had a towel up to his face like he was wiping away tears. The look in his eyes before the towel went on his face said it all.

Maybe this is all fluff and I'm sure a lot of people who are reading this, assuming they made it to this point, are thinking "who cares". But I remember the 90's as a simpler time and I've always had the notion the last few years in the sport of pro football that a lot of young guys seem to either...well, not necessarily not care, but that passion just doesn't seem as profound as I had witnessed in the past, even as a kid. Seems with how open the league is now and days (free agency has been a staple of the league for a while now) and how many other things in life that are..."around" (various media distractions, internet, twitter, cell phones, video games, easier social access with everything on the planet, etc.) that being on any kind of NFL roster is fine and maybe no one really gives a "ish" about legacy with a certain team or...the integrity of the game. Just playing any kind of pro sport is "sufficient" and a hobby almost. Yes I know it's a business and that aspect comes into play as well.

Now I'm being quite bold here as I obviously don't know what it's like to be an NFL player or on an NFL roster from a scrub to a franchise player, but it's just something from observing behavior a lot of these years from certain types of players. A lot of the old veterans like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed have it, but some guys, mostly the young dudes seem to just want to worry about their swagger or something. Is the majority of the league's individual players just out to get "theirs"?

I remember Adam Jones on draft day a few years ago and he was decked out in his white T and his titled hat with dreads. And it just seemed like he was prepping for a music video, and I remember thinking to myself "Are these the all stars of tomorrow"? I think Michael Irvin put it best when he said "ghetto fabulous lifestyle" and "we can't let the ignorance of our youth and history shape your destiny" or something to that effect at the rookie symposium a couple of weeks ago.

If you don't know what I'm getting at, ignore this, but if you have a slight clue and think it's worth talking about chime in. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

I still enjoy the game of football, but something just feels off than it did 10 or 15 years back.
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Oh, my bad. Didn't realize SWDC was the pinnacle of class and grace.
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