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NFL Preview Week 7:
Hard Hits and Regrets   Share

20 October 2010

Minnesota Vikings at the Green Bay Packers
Broadcast:  8:20 NBC

 
Sunday night, the Vikings will head to Green Bay to face the Packers.  The Vikings’ starting quarterback, Brett Favre, took the Packers to a Super Bowl in his heyday.  Favre left football in March of 2008 and his prodigy Aaron Rodgers took the team.  After a few months of reflection, Farve decided retirement was a mistake and attempted to come back to the Packers.  Instead, after appointing Rodgers as their quarterback, the Packers traded Favre to the New York Jets.  After a mediocre season and another “retirement,” Favre went to the Minnesota Vikings.  Last year, he led the Vikings to the NFC Championship game against the New Orleans Saints, and lost in overtime after throwing an interception.  He was also named to his 11th Pro Bowl (NFL All-Star Game).

This year has been a bit more rocky, with the Vikings plagued by injuries and a tough early schedule.  The Packers are also struggling, even with Aaron Rodgers, arguably one of the better quarterbacks in the league.  Most Packer fans love Rodgers, but in reality, he’s achieved little since he’s been there.  Say what you want about Favre, he took the Packers to a Super Bowl victory and led the team to success for years.  In contrast, Rodgers may put up big numbers, but he loses where it counts the most.  In seven games during the 2008 season, where the game was close and on his shoulders, Rodgers came up short.  Despite passing for 4000 yards in only his second season (2009), he lost the first play-off game.  Rodgers did make the Pro Bowl last year, but he was the third stringer, behind, yep, you guessed it, Brett Favre.

So when Minnesota goes to Green Bay this Sunday, the Packers get to watch again what they decided to give away.  Although they’ll never admit to you it was a mistake, the numbers don’t lie.  Wouldn’t it be true to form if Rodgers throws for like 450 yards, but loses the game?  I think that’s what happens.  The Vikings will win this one in a close one.


The NFL Drops the Hammer on the Hammers
 
In case you missed it last weekend, the NFL saw some of the most violent tackles/hits in recent memory. (Here is a video of one of the hits.  If you have a queasy stomach, go back to your knitting or get a bag handy).  It is a penalty to hit another player with your helmet, using it as a weapon.  Players are usually fined for this offense.  In college football this weekend, a Rutgers University player was paralyzed from the neck down due to a hard tackle during a kick-off. 
Due to the utter violence in this weekend’s games, the NFL has decided to take some further action.  Having a game broadcast nationwide where a player is nearly killed would have devastating effects for PR.  Not only that, the NFL has a responsibility to protect their employees.  Within 12 hours, the NFL announced they would begin to suspend players that dish out “flagrant illegal hits.”  Monetary penalties haven’t worked, so the suspensions are the next step.  With more and more evidence of the negative effects of brain jarring concussions, not just from the NFL, but also from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the league is taking the right step. 
Some argue that the NFL is going “soft” or that nobody forces the players to play football.  They’re short-sided and naïve.  The NFL is a business that has a vested interest in the health of their players.  If there was a player killed, laying on the field on Sunday afternoon, watch the sponsors and viewers run.  Would you let your kid watch a game so violent the players could end up dead?  I wouldn’t.  Bravo to the NFL – it’s the right call.
 
One Liner:  “You think Favre could pull off a Lambeau Leap?” Referring to a tradition of Green Bay Packers players to jump up to the fans after a touchdown in the stadium.  Opposing players are not welcome, so don’t bet Favre would pull this off.  He probably wouldn’t try either.

Send comments to: Chris@notasportsguy.com

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