On his program Monday, comedian and radio talk show host Dennis Miller took on the NFL for micromanaging the game in the name of safety.
To Miller, the NFL’s adjustments have gotten out of hand. And it may be time, he said, to stop tinkering with the rules and just start all over with a new game.
“I think we should reboot this whole thing,” Miller said. “I think American football should be shut down by Congress. And I think they should build a new game so people who, and players too, I’ll be candid with you — I know a few players who think that it’s gotten so crazy and so politically correct and so out of its way and you can’t touch a quarterback, now they’re not happy with it.”
“So why don’t we reboot?” he continued. “Why not let football remain in our memories as something — I don’t think it’s ever the ‘great American game’ like baseball, just because baseball is probably a better game and football innately does have the violence in it — but let’s stop it and leave it at that. Because it turned out that, as guys like [Bob] Costas and [Peter] King were the first to notice, it is a flawed exercise. And come up with a new game where people aren’t constantly thinking, ‘Oh my God. They are just contorting themselves to get around the fact that it is an innately violent game.’”
Miller took on the NFL’s 16-game season too, saying that if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell were anything more than a puppet of the owners, he would shorten the season to 12 or 10 games in the name of “safety.” Short of that, Miller argued, little can be done to change the game and make it safer. “I know that, within the parameters of the game, I don’t think you can change much of it,” he said.
“If you don’t see the encroachment of what you see generally in the society seeping into football — an innately violent game that has built its popularity on that controlled violence, just slightly controlled violence — I don’t know what to tell you,” Miller added. “They’re going to make you feel guilty now that you’re watching it.”
“And if you just say, ‘Kickoffs, you’re going to get rid of kickoffs?’ — ‘What, do you like the neck injuries?’ That will be the play. You either get the one-percent bomb dropped on you, you get the race bomb dropped on you in other fields. In football you’re going to get the ‘Oh, you want to see young men break their necks for your [entertainment].’ That’s how crazy things have gotten.”
“Just get rid of football. Come on, I’ll be OK with it.”