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Super Bowl 52 Highlights NFL’s Problems, And Things Aren’t Going To Get Better

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While the Philadelphia Eagles celebrate their unexpected Super Bowl 52 victory over the New England Patriots, the NFL is celebrating a historic Super Bowl performance.

What the Eagles and Patriots combined to do offensively, was indeed historic as their combined 1,151 set an NFL record not only for the Super Bowl, but for any regular season game as well.

But the historic accomplishments didn’t stop there.

According to Elias Sports Bureau there were a number of records set at Super Bowl 52 including most points scored by a losing team (33), Most 1st downs passing combined (42), Most Passing Yard in a Super Bowl game by a player (Tom Brady, 505) a team (New England, 500) and combined (874).

In fact, you can check out a comprehensive list of all the records tied and set over at Sports Rants.

Now, the NFL loves this kind of stuff because, ratings, BUT last night’s game, despite all the history, is showing some of the NFL’s biggest problems.

Rules Have Crippled Defenses

I am not saying anything here that hasn’t been said, by many, an infinite amount of times, but Super Bowl 52 is a prime example of non-existent defense in the NFL.

No, that isn’t a knock on either Phialdelphia’s or New England’s defense, but rather a knock on the NFL’s complete crippling of a team’s ability to play defense.

Quite simply, the rules are geared to catalyze offensive explosions similar to the one we saw in Super Bowl 52 and while the NFL is all smiles, and while defenses cry, viewers such as myself will eventually tune it out.

The beautiful thing about football, is that it is setup to be a plodding chess match that leads to rewards if the right moves, in this case plays, are called.

Sure, from time to time we see a quick paced game, or series of moves, but, for the most part, football is becoming more of a game of Madden than a game of chess.

Defenders are barely allowed to touch a quarterback, or a receiver, and offenses are cashing in in historic fashion.

This should concern the NFL because while everyone loves a touchdown, you diminish it if every single defense is left virtually helpless to stop a team’s path to the end zone.

Over time, fans will bore of the game’s most exciting play and that will devalue the game as a whole.

Despite the NFL cashing in now, the long-term viability of this continued practice doesn’t bode well from my perspective.

On the flip side performances like the ones both teams, mainly Tom Brady, put in don’t get the praise they deserve due to the game’s current climate. Fans may be more inclined to view eye-popping stats as “just another game” as opposed to truly appreciating the historical significance.

And that’s not fair to the teams, the game and, more specifically, players such as Brady who may feel like their records have some sort of asterisk next to it when viewed over the history of the game.

The NFL needs to reverse course. Limiting helmet-to-helmet plays is certainly needed, but not allowing a cornerback to properly defend a receiver by essentially removing both of their arms with the rulebook is foolish and lacks long-term vision.

Also, injuries happen, they always have and always will, so making it virtually impossible to hit a quarterback without seeing a flag immediately afterwards hasn’t limited injuries and won’t.

In fact, it can probably be argued that the amount of rules the NFL has in place can do more to cause injury than to prevent it because players are always stressing their bodies to avoid doing things that come naturally sch as change of direction, taking hits but unable to hit back, doing so much to avoid certain areas of the body that injuries surface.

There will never be a perfect science, but the NFL needs to look at a game such as Madden, which is eerily similar, and keep in mind how fast fans become bored of each annual release despite the opportunities to score triple digit points on the backs of record breaking performances by several members of a user team.

Inconsistent Officiating

This one is short and to the point. There is no consistency in officiating, there is no clarity and it’s a major problem that the NFL has dangerously swept under the rug for far too long.

At this point you have to sympathize with officials, who are probably confused, on some level, as to the rules and cannot keep up with the numerous nuances, leading to over-officiating and flag-happy games.

Wake up NFL, because while the XFL may seem like a joke to you now, it won’t when they come on the scene and force you to make changes that are much needed, because they certainly will listen to criticisms such as the aforementioned, even though you won’t

 

AFC

Bengals Sign Thomas Rawls

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The Cincinnati Bengals have signed veteran running back Thomas Rawls, according to a team announcement.

In a corresponding move, the Bengals have waived/injured running back Tra Carson.

With starting running back Joe Mixon temporarily on the shelf due to a knee issue, Rawls will provide depth, alongside rookie Mark Walton, as Giovanni Bernard takes over lead back duties until Mixon returns.

 

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Patriots Sign Cyrus Jones

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The New England Patriots have signed cornerback Cyrus Jones off of the Baltimore Ravens practice squad, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe.

In a corresponding move, the Patriots released recently signed running back Kenjon Barner. Jones’ new deal with the Patriots, who released him earlier this month, is for a reported two-years, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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Steelers’ Antonio Brown Misses Practice, Agent Denies Trade Request

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Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown was a no-show for practice on Monday, fueling trade speculation after an interesting exchange on Twitter with a former team employee, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac.

Brown responded to the former employee’s belief that Brown would not be an elite receiver without the help of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger but tweeting “Trade me let’s find out”.

While the absence raises eyebrows, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said that Brown has not requested a trade.

Additionally, Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus released the following statement shutting down any rumors that Brown has requested a trade, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

“The tweet [on Monday] was not in reference to anything other than Antonio responding to a person he knows. It was not directed towards a trade, or wanting to be trading. Any idea he was asking for a trade is not accurate, Antonio had a personal matter. I talked to the team about it. His issue was unrelated to the tweet or his relationship with the team. Third, AB has an incredible drive to win. He just wants to win. That’s all that that is, that’s not anything more than him encouraging his coaches and teammates to win. And that’s what his entire focus is on. Any notion, any speculation otherwise, can be put to bed. This is a non-story that has been blown out of proportion. We can end this right here and now.”

 

 

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