The NFL is still king, but that doesn't mean the product is perfect. Every year the league tries to find ways to make the game safer. While this is a noble pursuit, some of the new rules implemented have negatively affected the game in other ways. Flags are thrown on "bang-bang plays," and a massive hit will almost always draw a piece of yellow laundry. While these penalties are made to protect the players, Tom Brady recently called them a "disservice to the sport."
Brady is entering his 22nd season in the NFL, and he has seen plenty of change. The hits that are allowed and how the quarterback is treated are very different compared to what they used to be, and Brady said during a recent "Player Chat" session with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that it's been difficult to adjust to. The future Pro Football Hall of Famer said that quarterbacking is not being taught the right way anymore because signal-callers used to have to throw the ball into very specific areas to protect their wide receivers from getting blind-sided.
"A quarterback should only throw the ball to certain places, because your receiver is in danger of getting hit," Brady said.
Brady brought up how, when he played against legendary Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, he wouldn't throw to the middle of the field because Lewis would knock players out of the game.
"And now, every hard hit is a penalty on the defense," Brady said. "So I feel like they penalize defensive players for offensive mistakes."
Brady isn't just speaking on penalties in the passing game. He also has a problem with how quarterbacks -- like himself -- are protected even when they fail to protect themselves. Brady spoke about how if the offensive line makes a mistake in blocking or a quarterback fails to register an approaching blitzer coming in like a missile, that eventual big hit could be flagged.
"If you're a quarterback you gotta protect yourself and your players," Brady said. "It shouldn't be the responsibility of your opponent to protect you. It creates really bad habits for players because you feel like 'I can basically do anything. I can run and not slide, I can throw my receiver into any coverage and not have any repercussion for it.' The only thing they're gonna do is they're actually going to blame the defensive player for making a good solid hit, and now the defensive player is going to feel like, 'Oh I can't do that,' even though I feel like it was an offensive mistake.
"In the end, I think it's a disservice to the sport because the sport isn't being played at a high level like I believe that it once was. It actually deteriorates because you're not teaching the players the reasons and the fundamentals of what the sport should be."
Brady is saying NFL rules are rewarding what is actually bad quarterback play. Campaigning for defenses to be more free to inflict pain on players like himself is not something you would expect to hear, but his reasoning has more to do with how the game is played instead of just pure entertainment.
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