The No Fun League's efforts to extend it's new found love of player safety into special teams has the Chicago Bears, and at least one ex-NFLer, Donnie Nickey, hot under the collar. The Bears, as you may know, protested the new kickoff rule -- which is a dagger to the heart of their spectacular return game -- by kicking from the 30-yard line in a pre-season game. And now Nickey has written a email basically calling Roger Goodell cancer (not in so many words, but I read between the lines). The guy is pissed. And he has every right to be, because like him, so many players that take the field earn their paychecks by being little more than human battering rams on special teams. It's a decent living, but Nickey thinks all these new rules and moving up the kick-off are eventually going to make players like him obsolete.
Here is Nickey's email published in the Tennessean:
Just a thought from an unemployed ex-Titan … In today’s economy industries need to be creating jobs. In the NFL, the new kickoff rule is eliminating jobs. The kickoff may as well be eliminated all together. For eight years I made my living covering kickoffs and I took pride in it. The kickoff may be the most violent play in all of sports but is one of the most exciting and game changing plays as well.
The first sign of the kickoff’s extinction was the elimination of the four man wedge. That eliminated the need for a wedgebuster, which is how I earned my job. I think the NFL is destroying the true game of football and the physicality that America has grown to love. For someone who has never played the game to make so many changes unchecked is criminal. Paul Brown is rolling over in his grave because of all the changes made in the name of “player safety.”
People go to NASCAR races to see wrecks. People go to football games to see long touchdowns and devastating hits. It’s an injustice to the game and the men who have made their living covering kickoffs and sacrificing their bodies to have their jobs made obsolete. They might as well just have the kicker try to make it through the uprights on the kickoff for two points and the receiving team start at the fifteen or miss and start at the twenty.
Roger Goodell is hurting our game and eliminating jobs. Do NASCAR drivers get fined $100,000 for wrecking their cars? It’s part of the sport. Come on Roger, America loves violence and the men who are lucky enough to be in the NFL love the game. Businessmen, lawyers, and insurance companies are turning football into flag football and preventing men like me from feeding my family.
He has a point. Guys who spend a career chasing punts and kickoffs might wind-up millionaires, but they aren't exactly raking it in hand over fist. I mean, not everyone has the luxury of being a a 3rd string quarterback. Hell, I said last week the Matt Leinart has the best job in the NFL. Along with other first rounders, Tebow and Brady Quinn, he will likely leave the league 5-7 years from now a very rich man. A f*cking failure of a quarterback, but he'll be set for life and unlike John Elway, he'll be able to navigate a flight of stairs without the use of a chairlift.
Hat Tip: Larry Brown