The Football Season Has Gotten Off to a Dirty Start, But That’s Nothing New

A BYU player punched an opponent in the sack, and other NFL lowlights from the weekend.

A BYU player punched an opponent in the sack. Adam “Pacman” Jones ripped Amarui Cooper’s helmet off and slammed his head into it. Ndamukong Suh kicked Alfred Morris’ helmet clean off his head.

In a weekend full of dirty plays, those were the most visible. They were all over Twitter as soon as they happened. All over the sports blogs not long after that. And today, all over the minds of those of us who keep wondering is football is turning into a irredeemable blood sport.

Take heart, it’s not. Despite appearances, this football season is no dirtier than any before it. It’s just that the dirty plays are more visible. Think about it. There are more cameras trained on players now that every before. Which means a much higher likelihood that nutshots are on TV. And there are more ways to see the content captured by those cameras than our grandfathers could have ever imagined.

There’s no doubt that this stuff is nasty, but there’s also little doubt that it’s new. Don’t let the sepia toned images of the past fool you, football has always been a dirty game. Hell, in 1978 Ohio State’s coach throat punched an opposing player. Can you imagine if that happened today?

None of this is to say that we should look past the actions of football’s most sadistic maniacs, just that we should recognize their rampages are not unique, but rather, a part of a game that encourages men to approach the edge of sanity then asks them to stay on the right side of it. It’s kinda hard to blame those who don’t.