The NFL: Why We (or I, at Least) Continue to Watch

The NFL made another fun rule change on Wednesday at the owners’ meetings, now making it illegal for an offensive player to initiate contact on a defender with the crown of his helmet. With the league taking heavy fire for post-career concussions, the move towards more player safety makes sense. Still, it’s pretty absurd. Running backs and wide receivers have to finish runs, gaining every inch of field that they can. The new rule will make for more penalties, more stoppages and more complaining.


People are already complaining. They’ll continue to complain, and yet we’ll watch. We’ll never stop watching.

I’ll keep watching the NFL, even if it turned into flag football.

Why? Because I’m not as much a fan of the game of football as I am a fan of my favorite team.  If the NFL continued to trends towards Charmin UltraSoft I might stop taking interest in the sport as a whole, but I’ll never stop watching the players wearing my favorite team’s uniform. I am a die-hard San Francisco 49ers fan, and Sundays in autumn will always be about them.

iThe group of players that formulates our favorite teams becomes like family once the season kicks off. You root for them, you critique them, you offer your opinion on what they could do better. Still, at the end of the day, they’re your squad. They’ll always be your squad, good or bad.

Replacement refs, rule changes – what the commissioner does matters not. I’ll continue to tune in, and if you’re a fan like me, you will too.

The 49ers could go play water polo and I would root like hell for ‘em.  It isn’t about the sport; it’s about being a fan. It’s the highs and lows that come with being a part of a “team,” and being a fan definitely makes you feel “a part of.” I don’t love watching the 49ers play football because of the rules. I love watching the 49ers play football because I put my heart and soul into rooting for them to win every Sunday.

Every game is a battle, a constant flow of emotion.  Think about it. As kickoff draws closer, our emotions ride with team as if we’re waiting in the locker room with them. Once the score is final, we enjoy the high of a victory, or suffer the agony of defeat, just like the players do. The team’s success dictates your mood.

Will the NFL’s rule changes affect the outcomes? Maybe, but we’ll never shut them off because of it. The love for our teams is too powerful for that.

Frank Gore, Dannell Ellerbe

Just because Frank Gore can’t finish a run with the crown of his helmet doesn’t mean I’m not going to root my ass off for the 49ers to win.  Just because Aldon Smith may get called for a ticky-tack roughing the passer penalty doesn’t mean I am not a fan of this group of players.  Last season’s replacement referee debacle proved it. Bad rules, bad calls and the leagues misdeeds will never stop us from watching.

As a fan, I reserve my right to complain about these rule changes. We all enjoy that right. But let’s do so while understanding: our complaints won’t change anything. We’ll never stop watching and we know it.

NFL-commissioner-Roger-Goodell1More importantly, Roger Goodell knows it. We need the sport of football. We crave it. We watch every game, obsess over free agency and analyze the draft. He could make every team wear pink for an entire month and we’d all still watch. Oh, wait…

So be a fan of your team, and complain about rule changes if you choose. If the NFL wants to hurt its own product it’s going to do it, regardless of our reaction. Ultimately we are fans of our favorite teams.  Not the game of football.

I hate this new rule… but guess what?  Go Niners.

Special thanks to Kyle McLorg


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