If They Don't Like It, Let Them Have Their Quarter Back

Order in the courtroom!

Once again the judge, the honorable yours truly, has been called upon to solve a grievous sports problem. As usual, I will do so through the use of cool logic and reason, and anyone who so much as clears his throat during these proceedings will fry.

Now, the case before me this morning is Pass Rushers vs. Quarterbacks. Or, as I prefer to call it, He-Men vs. Twerps Who Drink Their Gatorade With Pinkie Extended. Not that I have prejudged the case or anything.

The problem, as the quarterbacks and their weepy sympathizers see it, is that the quarterbacks are simply too vulnerable to attack, resulting in frequent and sometimes crippling injuries, and subsequent loss of entertainment value to the fans. They offer as evidence statistics and grisly film clips, which I seem to have misplaced.

They point out that during the first weekend of National Football League play, Jay Schroeder and Rusty Hilger were knocked out with potentially debilitating shoulder injuries, and Phil Simms took a couple of righteous--er, dangerous--hits. Excuse my yawn. I was up late watching an Arnold Schwarzenegger film festival.

Now, it seems to me that the football owners, who own the game and the players and the money, have gone about as far as they can go to protect the quarterback. In pursuit of a fleeing quarterback, defenders are not allowed to use foreign objects or motorized vehicles. And this season, a pass-rusher cannot lower the boom--gee, I love that expression--on the quarterback if the ball has been released when the rusher is two steps or more away.

What more do quarterbacks want? A Popemobile? I say if quarterbacks need two-step protection, they should get themselves a good deodorant.

I know we lose a quarterback now and then to cheap-shot bludgeon injuries. I prefer to look at this not as brutality, but as "thinning the herd." Quarterbacks, with all due respect, are like cockroaches. You squish a few, there's still hundreds of the annoying little critters waiting to skitter out from the woodwork.

We have too many quarterbacks as it is. And running backs and wideouts, for that matter. They clutter up the game with their cuteness. Is this the NFL or "Dance Fever"? Football was never intended to be a bunch of ballerinas running pass routes. Abner Doubleday, or whoever invented the game, must be spinning in his grave.

I think we all agree that the greatest play in football is the blind side, flying forearm shiver sack n' spear. If an injury results, to use a French phrase, c'est la vie . The league simply passes the cost along to the fan in the form of higher ticket prices and higher insurance rates for all of mankind.

The big problem right now in the NFL, ladies and gentlemen, is steroids. Not enough steroids. If steroids will help us produce dozens of 290-pounders, why don't we up the dosage a little and grow some real beef?

I know all about the side effects of steroids. Hey, if these players were to consume a sufficiently large quantity of the wonder pills, the side effects would make drugs such as cocaine unnecessary.

Cocaine only makes you feel big. Steroids make you grow big. Why settle for drug-induced fantasy when you can have drug-induced reality?

Besides, it's my learned belief that these steroidal side effects are overrated. Violent behavior? We fatten cattle with steroids, and when was the last time you saw a rampaging Holstein?

If quarterbacks are so worried, they should get their own steroids. A 350-pound quarterback wouldn't be so doggone fragile. A guy that big, you knock him down, he doesn't crash, he rolls. In this case, steroids would fall under the category of preventive medicine.

Listen, if I wanted to protect the quarterbacks, make the game reasonably safe and sane, there are many ways to do this. But it is my judgment that the sport has reached a nice, healthy state of balance and equilibrium.

For every Joe Theismann who goes down with a horribly shattered leg, there is a Joe Montana who is sidelined with a crunched spine and battered brain.

If you bleeding hearts want to worry about a real problem, how about worrying about the kickers? They get away with murder. I say eliminate the "roughing the kicker" penalty and let the kickers and punters participate fully in the game.

Fifteen yards for merely brushing against a punter's leg? Well, excuuuuuuse me!

But I digress. I find the defenders not guilty, and I find the quarterbacks overly wimpy. Case dismissed. Order in the courtroom! Bailiff, clear this unruly mob immediately. You may use the pit bulls.

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