It's amazing what a few well oiled, machine like athletes can do to each other in an instant. They can make spectacular twinkle-toe catches or phenomenal no look drop passes leading to a laser beam slap shots. They can also end each others careers in an instant.
I wanted to write about this as soon as it happened last Sunday, but I decided to really think about the subject before I just blabbered on for paragraphs and managed to say nothing important or original. Not that the four days of thought actually did those things. But I digress.
On Sunday, the NFL saw a rash of head-on collisions that sent shock waves through the league and the sport. Sportscenter gave their writers three days off, in fact, since they weren't going to be covering anything besides the hits and the NFL's subsequent reaction.
A can of worms was opened when several players ended up face down on the field motionless due to devastating hits. And the NFL didn't waste any time acting. They touched up their rulebook. They handed out fines. Big ones. One of the players involved is even considering retirement. From guilt! Could you imagine Matt Cooke saying in an interview that he was considering retirement after one of his disgusting plays? No.
Could you imagine the NHL responding with the same haste and heavy-as-a-hammer response?
How many players ended up cheek down on the ice before the NHL bothered to hold a meeting? Ask David Booth. I'm sure he was counting the days - granted he could count past three after this hit at the beginning the season last year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7M-5ixMdIQ
Crushed. The only thing left after that hit was a buy-low option for fantasy hockey players who were in a dynasty league. A good, young player hit high and dirty by another good, young player. And what did the NHL do? Diddly squat. Nadda'. Nothing. I don't remember there even being a damn statement.
The NFL, on the other hand, didn't miss a beat. They dropped punches onto the heads of the players who were breaking their rules and, more importantly, hurting people. No nonsense.
The league full of clowns like Terrel Owens - the kind of athlete hockey fans are proud not to have grabbing headlines - reacted better, and with more accuracy than the bureaucratic mess that is the NHL and the NHLPA.
I guess to some degree I just wanted to give credit where credit was due. Kudos to the NFL front office for not hesitating. Some people are saying that maybe the reaction was a bit knee-jerk. But I'd rather have people accusing my league's commish and co. of being too quick on the trigger than wondering if they are even paying attention at all.