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Richard Sherman Says the NFL Changed Rules to Boost Fantasy Football

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Sunday Night Football on NBC during the halftime break, the reporter, Josh Elliott, who is one of the new heroes-in-waiting at NBC News, he's gonna be one of the new saviors, Today Show, Dateline NBC, whatever.  They were featuring him at halftime of the game between the Seattle Seahawks and I don't even know who they played. I'm embarrassed.  I didn't know there was a game on TV Sunday night. (interruption) It was the Packers?  Where was the game?  Do you know where the game was played?  Was it Green Bay or Seattle?  Look at this.  Nobody knows. 

Folks, this is unheard of.  I can't believe that I didn't watch a Sunday Night Football game week three, dress rehearsal the preseason, and it was the Seahawks and the Packers.  I was at home Sunday night, I was doing show prep.  In fact, I turned the tube on at nine o'clock to watch Ray Donovan, that depraved family.  By the way, did you watch that?  Did you do what I suggested yesterday? 

Folks, I'm telling you, if you think your family is an embarrassment, if you think your family is the most dysfunctional family in America and if it embarrasses you and if you do not ever want to get together with your family again, you've got to watch Sunday night's depraved episode of Ray Donovan on Showtime, because the depiction... in the first place, everybody forgets the 14-year-old boy's birthday.  Nobody remembers. His parents don't remember, nobody remembers it's his birthday. 

So in order to make it up to him, the parents ask, "What do you want, Con, what do you want?"  He says, "I want family party and I want my convict grandfather here. I want everybody in the family here."  That doesn't go well.  But since they feel guilty forgetting the kid's birthday, they get everybody there, and it is an absolute... I don't even want to try to describe it. I don't want to do spoilers.  You've got to see this.  It will hearten you.  It will renew your, well, it'll tell you that your family, no matter how bad it is, isn't that bad.  But I did.  I was watching that.  That's when I turned the tube on at nine o'clock. 

I didn't even know there was a football game.  Anyway, Josh Elliott, at halftime, interviews cornerback Richard Sherman, and I guess the NFL has instituted more stringent contact rules for the defensive players, particularly defensive secondary this season.  They're gonna not be as tolerant of incidental contact downfield beyond the five yards of the line of scrimmage.  And it's gonna cause probably the game to be slowed down some.  They're gonna be calling more penalties, throwing more flags.  And of course the defensive players don't like it at all.

But Richard Sherman thinks he's figured out why the league is doing this, and I've told you, back last Super Bowl when Richard Sherman went off on Michael Crabtree, I tried to tell everybody in this audience, at least who might not know, that Sherman is a bright guy. He's educated, extremely intelligent, smart.

So listen to what he says here.  Josh Elliott of NBC says, "Points of emphasis by the NFL this year, specifically the cracking down on illegal contact, holding, in the eyes of the referees.  Do you feel like those are points aimed directly at you guys?  Is the league tightening down on this because you guys are too good as a secondary?"

SHERMAN:  If you look at statistics the way the preseason has gone, it's rarely ever affected us in a game, but, you know, when the fantasy football numbers need to be what they need to be then the league needs to do what it needs to do to get it done, you know, and this is a money-driven league.

RUSH:  Richard Sherman is saying that the rules changes are because the number of fans playing fantasy football is growing exponentially, at geometric proportions, and that fan group consists of a lot of people who are not even football fans, but they understand following a player and points.  They may not know what slot right 63 hook and go is. They might not know what a cover 2 Tampa 2 defense is. They might not know what a double rollover zone is, but they can draft players, and they can follow points being scored. Fantasy football players don't care about teams; they care about individuals. 

In fact, folks, many NFL Drive-By Media purists hate fantasy football.  You know why?  Because fans are not fans of teams.  They are fans of individuals.  And the Drive-Bys don't like to focus on the individual.  It's a team game.  In fantasy football, any number of ways of doing it.  I was in one of the first ever fantasy football leagues back in 1980.  I was the commish of the PFL, the Paper Football League.  That's what we called it.  There were six of us.  The name of my team was the Limbaugh Laxatives, 'cause our team was full of whatever. 

It was fun. The way we did it, we had a draft at a bar on a Saturday afternoon after the final preseason game.  I think we drafted 25 players each, or 20 or whatever, and every week, Saturday at noon, we had to activate 11, all offense, no defense, no kickers, just offense, quarterbacks, receivers, and running backs.  And there were points assigned for... there were kickers.  You had to have a kicker.  Points assigned for field goal, length of field goal, and touchdowns, length of the touchdown, quarterback pass, touchdown, running touchdown, all this, and you tallied the points. 

So we began watching football a whole different way.  We cared about how our individual players did as much, if not more so, than whatever teams we liked.  Now, back then the Internet hadn't yet come up.  You had to wait 'til Monday morning for all the box scores to find out who had scored, and in what way, in order to get the final points tally.  But today it's gotten so big that during live game broadcasts the networks fill you in on fantasy football results, what running backs are scoring and what quarterbacks have thrown, TD passes or whatever. 

Sherman is saying here that for the fantasy football fan to be kept interested, there have to be points scored.  And if you want points scored, you gotta make it easier on the offense to score points, ergo the penalties are going to be more closely called on the defensive backs: pass interference, holding, what have you. And he's saying we haven't, as a team, we haven't been affected by these rules because our cornerbacks are good.  We don't have to cheat in order to beat the other guys. But what he's saying is the league needs to do what it has to do to get it done, fantasy football, money-driven league. There are all kinds of people buying in to fantasy football leagues on ESPN and other websites.  It is huge now.  So it's an interesting take.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Man, I am so embarrassed.  So the Seahawks didn't play the Packers Saturday night.  That's the opening Thursday night game.  Somebody told me that the Seahawks played the Packers Sunday night, and I'm so out of it, I thought that was true.  Ah, this is embarrassing.  No.  For me, it's embarrassing.  I used to know this stuff in my sleep.  I mean, this is just how distant it's becoming. 

The Sunday night game was the Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals.  That's where the Sunday night crew was and I guess they just talked to Sherman of the Seahawks from Seattle during halftime, as an interview.   Man, that's just embarrassing.  

END TRANSCRIPT

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