NFL: National Fatherless League

It is officially fall. From pee-wee to professional, football is in full swing.

The National Football League is America’s most popular sports league based on TV ratings and game attendance.

With such attention, you wouldn’t think the league would have discipline problems. In reality, you could see more tasteful behavior through the YMCA Childwatch window.

Last Sunday, the New York Giants’ offensive tackles racked up three personal foul penalties. For football neophytes, personal fouls are not nearly as common on the gridiron as they are on the hardwood. At least they shouldn’t be.

But David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie set a new low standard. One purposely ripped off a helpless opponent’s helmet. The other got flagged twice in ten minutes, the second time for blatantly shoving down an opponent right in front of a referee!

Sadly, “unsportsmanlike conduct” and “unnecessary roughness” in today’s NFL are as plentiful as beer bellies in the stands.

Then there are “excessive celebration” and “taunting.” Nearly every play is punctuated by self-aggrandizing grandstanding. Even third-string special teamers thrust, strut and pump when they merely bump a kickoff return man out of bounds at the 50 yard line.

Miami Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis takes the cake. He made a tackle two weeks ago, stood up, arched his back and made a goofy Russian-like salute. He subsequently knelt to the ground in pain, having strained a muscle in the celebration.

Davis, et. al don’t realize that nothing can improve upon an outstanding play. Showboating diminishes the very plays players showboat about. How foolish, and telling of their personal expectations that they seem so surprised when they actually make a decent play.

In contrast, the real studs head back to the huddle, thank a teammate or two for their help and prepare to do their job again. For them, execution is the norm, not the exception.

Angst and volatility also seem more prevalent.

Whether disappointed or pleased, players are angry. If they don’t get the ball, they curse their quarterback. If they do get the ball and burn a defender, they curse the defender. Either way, they’re cursing.

And despite league attempts to curb it, the brutality of hitting keeps getting worse.

The goal is not just to get your opponent down, but also to injure him in a way that satisfies a rabid, Roman Coliseum crowd. How shortsighted. I can hardly watch.

Whence the rage?

According to data from the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida and the U. S. Census Bureau, a majority of NFL players were raised in father-absent homes. It shows.

CBS’ 60 Minutes told the story once of juvenile bull elephants who, because of overpopulation, were moved with their mothers away from their fathers. As they neared adulthood, they became extremely violent, killing rhinos in poacher-like fashion.

The solution? Import larger, older bull elephant role models.

The older elephants subdued the raging testosterone in the young. The young didn’t mate before they could handle their hormones. Rhinos were saved.

Undoubtedly, testosterone has given rise to the NFL. Unless some maturity is imported, it could also make it fall.

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