Seriously, this protecting the QB stuff has gone way too far. It's taken the game out of the players' hands and put games on the referees.
The most recent piece of evidence: Jon Kitna...Now, that's bad enough, but it seems the NFL is not satisfied screwing teams over just to protect QBs. Think of your favorite games this season. Ask yourself what decided that game? It feels to me like in at least half of the games I've watched this season (Jaguars or not), a penalty, challenge, pass interference, helmet-to-helmet call or some other random penalty has changed the face of the game. Think of all the new calls we've had this year: The first Austin Collie concussion (flagged on a legal hit), the Megatron non-catch which cost the Lions a win, the ridiculous play where Peyton Manning got a penalty for being tapped on the helmet. And seriously, don't get me started on all the fines. There were a few calls that swung the game in todays Jags/Colts game, one each way. The hit on Mike Thomas in the first half, which led to Jacksonville points, was not a penalty, and the key play of the game was the "fumble" on the punt return later in the game. A potential game-winning touchdown was taken off the board last week in the Jags/Raiders game because a legal hit from William Middleton happened to contact Jason Campbell's helmet. This does not even mention the countless touchdown drives that have been aided this year by ticky-tacky pass interference calls when a defensive player has had a hand barely touching a receiver, usually on an uncatchable pass. It's really starting to bother me.
As a fan of football, I've been really annoyed by the helmet to helmet penalties and the overly protective rules put in place this year. Initially, I was annoyed because these new rules handcuff defenses by making them hesitate to play physical football, but I've realized that that's really not what bothers me. It just seems like every single week at least a few games are being decided not by the players on the field, but by referees and it's undoubtedly turned the champagne of the sports week into backwash.
The NFL has a real problem, especially with making their calls consistent. There were at least 4 times this week alone where Garrard took hits much harder than the one that Kitna took, and right to the helmet. Were any of them called? No. Would I have wanted them to be called? Last year, no. But this year, it seems unfair not to call the penalty because some trigger happy ref gives a penalty when the other guy gets hit but not my guy. I'm not suggesting they throw penalties on anything and everything, just that they stay consistent, because right now, they are obviously not.
What's worse is it seems that there are alterior motives in play. The NFL knows the league is headed towards a lock-out. So do the players. The NFL wants an 18-game season. The Players don't. The players say "It's not healthy and the league isn't taking protecting us physically." The league says "Fine, we'll start penalizing dangerous hits and throwing fines around so that you'll have nothing to complain about." Admittedly that's good politics, but let's be honest, is it really good football? Does Roger Goodell want people talking about pass interference calls on Monday or circus catches and crazy runs? Because I won't be talking about Donald Brown's touchdown run tomorrow, I'll be talking about that "fumble."