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The NFL Season Kicks Off

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I cannot believe the NFL season opens tonight.  The Baltimore Ravens at the Denver Broncos. (interruption) Why, what is that weird look on your face?  Did you not know the season began tonight?  (interruption) You're just not up for it?  You're just not. What if the Cowboys were playing tonight?  (interruption) Okay, so you'd be revved if it was the Cowboys tonight? I have to admit, an opening night game Ravens and Broncos is not all that, but it is what it is.

(interruption) What? (interruption) Yeah, they're two good teams.  I guess.  I don't know.  (interruption)  Yeah, they say that every year, Snerdley. "The Cowboys have a really good team."  You know what, I can't... Tony Romo makes, what, $125 million and he's won one playoff game?  And they... This guy, I'll tell you, he's really mastered it. I mean, he's made money on the come for I don't know how many years now.  It's great.  I'm all for it. 

Capitalism. 

Tony Romo would have been a great pilgrim.  If he'da been on the boat, he'da been a great guy.  I'm sure William Bradford would have thought he was cool.  The Wall Street Journal. TV ratings are gonna go through the roof.  Folks, I have to tell you something.  Even preseason ratings have gone through the roof. Do you know why that is?  As much trouble as football is in -- and it is. Don't doubt me. There's a dearth of stuff on TV.  But my God, it's so bad out there, people are looking for something to watch.

You know what the popularity of the NFL equals? What it equals is a link to the past when times were better in people's mind or whatever that means to them.  Not more innocent.  It just something that's there.  There's an American tradition that they haven't changed. They're in the process of turning it upside down. They haven't pulled it off yet, but they're trying.  It's still something good in the midst of lackluster TV, in the midst of lackluster life, lackluster job, lackluster government, lackluster president.

You watch. The ratings are gonna be through the roof.  They really are.  It's something solid that is American, that people can glom onto, and I think people are searching for that.  For a lot of people, it's subconscious.  They're not even aware of it.  But I, who have lived much of my life by observing others live it, know exactly what I'm talking about.  This concussion thing is not over by a long shot.  Oh, I've got three or four articles on that in the news Stack of Stuff.

Within minutes of the settlement! The NFL said they want to get this off the table, get this out of the conversation.  It's not gotten it out of the conversation.  The conversation is growing on this.  But look.  Wall Street Journal headline: "NFL Offenses Exploit a Fear of Fines."  This is a story about rules changes that are rooted in increasing player safety and how players have learned to exploit it.  It's another object lesson in how massive bureaucracies can try to control large numbers of people with regulations and laws -- and how entrepreneurial, creative people find ways around it. 

I don't want to give it away, but this is about how defensive players now have to pull up and make sure they don't hit offensive players too hard and hurt them.  Defensive players are not supposed to hurt offensive players.  Rodney Harrison is quoted. In the game of NFL football (college football, too) manliness is defined by your willingness as a receiver to go over the middle. Not run the sideline routes. Not run go and out patterns on the sideline.  Do a crossing pattern over the middle. 

That's where these supposed decapitations have taken place.  That's where the real brutality is, because the offensive player does not see what's coming.  Now the NFL has decided, "That's too brutal. That's too mean." So they have put limits on what defensive players can do to offensive wide receivers going over the middle, running past the middle of the field.  Rodney Harrison says, this is just a joke.  He says these wide receivers are now laughing as they go over the middle. 

They're not afraid of anything. 

They know they can't be hit -- and if they're hit, they know that the defense is gonna get a major penalty. So these guys, there's no fear anymore.  You know, Rodney Harrison is the prototype safety in the NFL. Prototype.  It's funny to listen to these old-line guys who played the game like it was meant to be played and they're watching it now. This is not their word, but they're watching it be a little "wussified" here, as the lawyers are getting their hands in it, which is naturally gonna happen. 

To hear Rodney Harrison say these wide receivers are crossing the middle now laughing? It's a perfect, a perfect description for what his view of the rules change is.  The Wall Street Journal has a whole story about this.  There is another story.  Get this, folks.  I know when we get into football some of you say, "Stick to the issues!"  But this is "the issues" now.  That's the point.  They've turned it into the issues.  Football is the issues now, sadly. 

There is, in the NFL now, supposedly something new that's never happened before.  Obviously it has happened.  It was part of the early game.  It's called the "read option offense," and it's the kind of offense run by these new quarterbacks like RGIII who plays for the Washington (shouts) REDSKINS!  (interruption) Well, until they change it I'm not gonna whisper it.  RGIII for the Redskins, Russell Wilson for the Seattle Seahawks, Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco Fort'iners. 

The read option is basically a variation of the college wishbone offense. The quarterback takes the ball, starts running either way, pitches out, or takes/carries the ball himself (which is the key to this), or maybe stops the whole thing and throws a pass.  So defenses now have been created to deal with the read-option quarterbacks.  In fact, the Kansas City Chiefs have 22 coaches on the staff, and they've got a guy for this.

The Kansas City Chiefs have a coach whose title is "read-option analysis." His sole job is to analyze the read option on both his team and his quarterback. His quarterback can't really run it, Alex Smith. So he would be analyzing the other team, helping with his defense.  Now, the read option is crucial because when the quarterback leaves the pocket, he no longer is afforded wussified rule protection.  He can be decapitated like any other player when he leaves the pocket running with the ball. 

Well, guess what?  Clay Matthews is a major linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. They're playing the Fort'iners this weekend, and he's talking about all the possible ways they can go after Kaepernick.  He's talking about the legal ways, the illegal ways. He's talking about what the Packers' plan is.  Of course this has the Fort'iner coach, Jim Harbaugh, saying, "This is horrible! You don't have people out there talking about how you're gonna hurt a man. 

"This isn't right.  We went through this two years ago! We don't want to go through this again now," and that's a reference to the bounty program.  So now you got the Fort'iner coach getting close to saying the Packers are behaving the same way the Saints did with the bounty program, although he's not saying it, but he's alluding to it.  You got a linebacker now saying he's salivating over these quarterbacks in the read option leaving the pocket 'cause now they can be creamed like any other player. 

All this is taking place while the league is going to great lengths to make the game safer.  But look what the players are doing. The players are looking for ways around it. Just like when Obama raises taxes on the rich, what do the rich do?  They don't sit there and pay it.  They figure ways around it.  It's what productive entrepreneurial people do.  When times are tough because of overregulation, massive government, they find ways around it.  The people who write the regulations, write these laws, just expect everybody's gonna be a bunch of sheep, sit there and abide by it. 

The NFL in this case is the government, and all these new rules, supposedly to make the game safer, and the players are conspiring -- (laughing) The Wall Street Journal has a story about it!  So the NFL is the issues.  It relates.  And it's all about this concussion business.  It's all about player safety and limiting liability, which takes it all back to money.  Of course.  I'm fascinated by it.  And now Rodney Harrison, two defensive players, talking about ways that they would -- (laughing) wide receivers laughing as they go across the...  You know, that offends defensive players.  I mean, we're laughing about it, but football is a collision sport.  It is a man's game. 

 It's a brutal collision sport.  Everybody playing it knows it.  And this effort here to take manliness out of it and to reduce the collision and so forth, you got all these quotes of defensive players, "Yeah, I coulda made a huge hit, but I had to let it go 'cause of the rules."  You got players now on record counting the number of touchdowns they allowed to happen last year because of these rules changes. Defensive players all upset about the number of touchdowns that happened that needn't have happened if they could have leveled a guy like they used to be able to.

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