One of the challenges facing the NFL when trying to change player safety rules is that many players don’t want the game to be safer.
Patriots safety Jabrill Peppers says he preferred an earlier era of football and believes the NFL has gone too far with its player protections.
“I’ve knocked a couple people out before,” Peppers said, via MassLive.com. “Some of them weren’t even tackles. Guys coming to block me or back when crack blocking was legal. The game is soft as hell now. Any time you hit somebody and it looks too hard, they flag you. I definitely had to change my game up a little bit. When I get a chance to lay a lick on somebody, I try to do it. But it’s tough in today’s climate.”
Peppers understands why the game has changed, but he doesn’t agree with it.
“I feel like they had to with all the concussions, CTE came out and all that,” Peppers said. “I feel like they tried to make the game more safe, I guess. But for me, it’s like, we’ve all been playing football, some of since we were six, seven years old. We know what we’re getting ourselves into. But I think they’ve definitely made the game a lot softer. Receivers aren’t scared to come across the middle anymore because they know there are certain amount of ways we can only hit them. Back then, receivers were afraid to come across the middle because they knew punishment awaits. It’s a whole different game, but they want to see points scored, not good defense being played.”
Peppers said Patriots coach Bill Belichick sometimes shows the team clips of old games, and Peppers wishes he could have played in an earlier era.
“I say that every day, because Bill’s a big historian. Every time he shows some old film, I’m like, ‘Man, I should have played back in the day,’” Peppers said. “The big shoulder pads. Only a couple route concepts. You know they’re going to run the ball downhill, two back, Wing T, Now the game’s gotten kinda soft, man.”