Throw the Flag or Let them Play?

I imagine I already know the overwhelming consensus to the question my title poses: Throw the Flag or Let Them Play? Obviously, we all agree we want to see these players going at it and playing at the top of their games, going skill vs skill as opposed to the game being decided by the refs having their hands in their pockets ready to blow each and every play that is slightly a violation dead. Of course some rules need to be applied or the game descends into anarchy and unnecessary violence. So where do we draw the line without becoming the No Fun League?

My first proposal: less flags in the trenches. The offensive and defensive lines are always going to grab each other and be fighting strength on strength, it happens constantly and it just feels dumb and biased when it is actually caught and called out. Let the big men get a bit physical and hold onto the flag when it comes to holding there.

Secondly: hand fighting between receivers and contact after the five yard zone should be a lot more lenient when it comes to the flags that are thrown. Obviously if there is a significant grab past five yards or excessive contact that can be construed as unnecessarily dangerous or problematic, then nip that in the bud, but otherwise, allow the players to use what slight advantages they can to create an edge for themselves. 

I know this next take will be met with mixed opinions, but I actually think that the newer unnecessary roughness rules have been very beneficial in keeping players from getting hurt and getting too violent and heated. A lot of spectators want to see big hits come back to the league, and while they are impressive, this rule does a good job of curbing that aggression and lowering the rate of injury in the league. I would rather see a healthy league with players and teams competing at full strength rather than a playoff battle of who is less injured. I want an expression of skill, not a stupid bloodbath.

So in summary: let them play, but do not let the game descend into anarchy. Damage mitigate real fights before they become too problematic, let most all else slide. The game should give room for skill expression, not limiting players by excessive rules or risk of harm.


  • Luke Nelson

    Luke Nelson (he/him) is an article writer for Mental Dimes, specializing in NFL related news and analysis. He currently is going through college to obtain his bachelors in Creative Writing.

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