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Old 07-13-2012, 05:12 AM    (permalink
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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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Old 07-13-2012, 08:17 AM    (permalink
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I do notice it, and I personally think it's more of a country wide phenomenon, not just regarding sports.

I think this generation is soft, competitive fire isn't as intense as it used to be, and complacency is more rampant than before.

Not just in sports, but more importantly, in education, which is a huge problem right now. But we'll leave that for another day.

But yes, competition in sports is not as intense as in years past. Look at basketball, all these guys are buddies now. It's just how our society has evolved. For better or worse. Worse in my opinion.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:18 AM    (permalink
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Having that said, I think football is still the most competitive American sport. You don't see as much complacency as in baseball or basketball.

Football is still very intense.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:06 AM    (permalink
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I think the era has changed. From the people, and how you can coach them, to the structure of the NFL, and free agency era. Coaches can't coach like they used to. If you did some of the stuff that was done back in the day you'd probably be arrested or fired.

Now coaches can be strict but can't cross that line. I think the intensity comes from the coaching staff and having the veterans on that team that facilitate communication among the players so that everyone is on the same page.

I think old school coaches, and I know when Coughlin leaves I will really miss him. I hated players coaches like Jim Fassel, and liked Tuna and Coughlin.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:10 AM    (permalink
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I blame Roger Goodell. **** that guy.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:52 AM    (permalink
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I don't believe in player coaches. I want a disciplinarian as a coach.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:58 AM    (permalink
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I've always hated this argument. It is just like when our grandparents say things are not as good and pure like in their day? really? It hasn't changed, we just remember the good things from our past more than the bad.
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:03 PM    (permalink
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:57 PM    (permalink
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I blame Roger Goodell. **** that guy.
Was this a joke post? Are you joking?
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:29 PM    (permalink
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As technology has progressed, so has our access. The all access feel we have now has taken some of the mystery away.

I don't think players are less passionate now than 10 years ago, however they are more aware that there is always a camera on them. And any emotion they show will instantly be judged and criticized by the media.

Phillip Rivers got a lot of heat for yelling at Jay Cutler, why would any other athlete do the same?
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:42 PM    (permalink
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I've always hated this argument. It is just like when our grandparents say things are not as good and pure like in their day? really? It hasn't changed, we just remember the good things from our past more than the bad.
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Old 07-14-2012, 12:05 PM    (permalink
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Plenty has changed. Some for better, and some for worse. The younger generation on here doesn't understand that bc you haven't lived through it.
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:20 PM    (permalink
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I've always hated this argument. It is just like when our grandparents say things are not as good and pure like in their day? really? It hasn't changed, we just remember the good things from our past more than the bad.
I'm with you on this. Nostalgia glasses to the extreme here.

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Plenty has changed. Some for better, and some for worse. The younger generation on here doesn't understand that bc you haven't lived through it.
You're not that old.
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:28 PM    (permalink
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I'm with you on this. Nostalgia glasses to the extreme here.



You're not that old.
29. Old enough to see generational differences.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:07 PM    (permalink
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The NFL is a watered down version of what it used to be... I've had conversations about that for years. Rivalries in the NFL died with the advent of free agency.

Players nowdays are loyal to whoever is willing to pay them the money. That's it.

Rivalries in the NFL only exist in the minds of the fanbases nowdays. The passion from the players simply doesn't match the intensity of years past.

I think this is one of several aspects that makes college football a better product than the NFL. Rivalries are real in college football. They go back over a century in a lot of instances.

In the NFL nowdays, "rivalries" are created in the minds of the fans by any dust up between two loudmouth players who have twitter accounts. Yes, it's a different era now, and I'm not impressed.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:15 PM    (permalink
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The NFL is a watered down version of what it used to be... I've had conversations about that for years. Rivalries in the NFL died with the advent of free agency.

Players nowdays are loyal to whoever is willing to pay them the money. That's it.

Rivalries in the NFL only exist in the minds of the fanbases nowdays. The passion from the players simply doesn't match the intensity of years past.

I think this is one of several aspects that makes college football a better product than the NFL. Rivalries are real in college football. They go back over a century in a lot of instances.

In the NFL nowdays, "rivalries" are created in the minds of the fans by any dust up between two loudmouth players who have twitter accounts. Yes, it's a different era now, and I'm not impressed.
Free Agency was the best possible thing to happen to the NFL, and I don't care if it "watered down the league" or not. With it, we get actual player movement and it allows for the ridiculous amount of profits that owners see to be actually shared with the players, instead of how it had been in the past. There are still rivalries (Steelers/Ravens, Jets/Pats for example), and just because the league is safer now to some degree (which was absolutely necessary, I don't care how much people *****) doesn't mean there won't be an avenue of smash mouth football in the rivalries.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:21 PM    (permalink
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I'm not upset with parity at all. I think it's good for the game.

The game is watered down at the top, but at the same time, what makes football such a great sport is the fact that everybody has a chance.

The term parity is kind of misleading anyway. The good franchises have remained good, and the bad ones have remained bad. Success in football has more to do with management and the ability to draft well moreso than free agency anyway.
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:38 AM    (permalink
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:35 AM    (permalink
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29. Old enough to see generational differences.
I'm the same age and agree with all of what you said. I don't think you start seeing generational differences until you start approaching the threshold of 30, or if you're really into history and take an interest in those type of things.


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I'm not upset with parity at all. I think it's good for the game.

The game is watered down at the top, but at the same time, what makes football such a great sport is the fact that everybody has a chance.

The term parity is kind of misleading anyway. The good franchises have remained good, and the bad ones have remained bad. Success in football has more to do with management and the ability to draft well moreso than free agency anyway.
Front office management, drafting well, and great coaching wins games and builds successful franchises. Savvy free agency moves help round out rosters, not build teams.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:09 AM    (permalink
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it seems like it became "uncool" to care too much or be passionate about anything.
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:58 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by bam bam View Post
There's a guy that came up playing in an era where defense was still allowed to be played in the NFL. Ray Lewis only knows one way to play... and that's with passion.

The NFL doesn't want defense to be played anymore. Low scoring games hurts viewership. They want high scoring track meets that are exciting for watered down fanbases.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:45 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by Bengalsrocket View Post
As technology has progressed, so has our access. The all access feel we have now has taken some of the mystery away.

I don't think players are less passionate now than 10 years ago, however they are more aware that there is always a camera on them. And any emotion they show will instantly be judged and criticized by the media.

Phillip Rivers got a lot of heat for yelling at Jay Cutler, why would any other athlete do the same?
Totally agree with this.

The media attention on things other than the game is so rampant that we now see and hear everything that goes on behind closed doors / on the sidelines. The Saints are in a lot of trouble right now for talking about hitting opposing players too hard. As if they were the first team to do it.

Broadcasts will stick a camera on Jay Cutler for an entire game once he leaves with a torn up knee, and then his facial expressions will be criticized and people will say he has no heart. Back in the 90s, they didn't have enough cameras for that nonsense. Now they do, and people watch, then there's talk shows like First Take, PTI, Around the Horn, ect. that talk about it incessantly.

There are still crazy athletes like James Harrison and passionate athletes like Ray Lewis + Philip Rivers. There is so much talent in the NFL now that it's impossible to have two teams with all the best players on them. Thats how it was in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Football isn't just a game anymore, it's a profession. And there's more resources / focus / training on grooming the next great athlete at earlier ages with off seasons dedicated to football.

I can watch a Steelers / Ravens game from 2011 and see an absolute war. The culture around football has changed, but the game really hasn't. Goodell is trying to change the game and take away the competitiveness by having offenses run up and down the field untouched. Players are still hitting harder than ever, running faster then ever and competing just hard as ever. It's not a sport that really tolerates guys who don't care / compete. Albert Haynesworth has been erased from the league for a reason.

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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.
There were probably young athletes in the 90s that didn't care, then faded away without much of a story. You listed a bunch of well known veterans as players showing a great amount of passion. Its easy to remember a player like Bill Bates. Or forget why Timmy Smith never did anything in his career other than have the greatest game of his life in a Super Bowl.
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:47 AM    (permalink
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Not sure of this is related but some people have mentioned it - the fact the game has become so offensive oriented and skewed in that direction really hurts the game. Offensive records seem to be broken every year - the passing numbers are inflated by the changes in the rules.

Cam Newton's rookie year was impressive but one has to ask if he would of put up those numbers if teams were allowed to play really strong defense - same goes for Brees, Stafford, Rodgers etc. who all put up huge numbers.

I remember when Kurt Warner and the "Greatest Show on Turf" were around - they put up video game numbers but not many other teams did. For me the rules have watered down the product to an extent. Its a shame that they cannot revert back to how the game was played 10-15 years ago. They hide the whole fact of changing the game behind player safety.

I can't really blame the players since they are just playing by the rules established by the league but I wish more would speak up to how much these rules change the game fundamentally.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:09 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by JHL6719 View Post
There's a guy that came up playing in an era where defense was still allowed to be played in the NFL. Ray Lewis only knows one way to play... and that's with passion.

The NFL doesn't want defense to be played anymore. Low scoring games hurts viewership. They want high scoring track meets that are exciting for watered down fanbases.
I think the NFL really missed out this year with the Giants and Patriots going to the Super Bowl instead of the 49ers and Ravens, which would have showcased more defense to a national stage and not feed the notion that only a great offense can bring you championship now and days.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:31 PM    (permalink
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It's not like the SB was a high scoring affair. It was a defensive game with the score only being 21-17.
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