For What It's Worth...There Are Too Many Cry Babies in the NFL

Jim CantrellSenior Analyst ISeptember 6, 2008

Chris Samuels will not be getting a Christmas card from the New York Giants this year.

The Washington Redskins' offensive lineman was accused of dirty play by Mathias Kiwanuka, a defensive end for the current Super Bowl Champions.

According to an Associated Press report, Kiwanuka was upset that Samuels tackled him and rolled his ankle when Samuels was clearly beaten on the final play of the Giants-Washington game, Thursday night.

Claiming he did not believe Samuels was just trying to protect his quarterback, Kiwanuka said, "Even the greatest players get knocked down. You have to stand back up, be a man and line up for the next snap."

Perhaps that is advice Kiwanuka should take to heart. That is, whenever he's done blowing snot bubbles in the press.

Over the past 20 years, the NFL has slowly transformed from a league full of tough guys and men's men into a collection of posers, mama's boys, and accountants.

Kiwanuka's attitude is just the culmination of that downward slide.

Newspaper headlines used to blare out the exploits of the greatest plays and the greatest players in the game. Now we read about feuds between players and management as they quibble over how to slice a pie that is stuffed full with PSL money, sweetheart stadium-deals, and television revenue.

30 years ago, Turkey Jones turned Terry Bradshaw into a human jart, planting the Steelers' quarterback head first into the painted green turf of Cleveland Municipal Stadium. It was big news.

For a month.

Today, Brett Favre moans about the way his former team has mistreated him, and it's big news forever.

Does anyone on the planet really believe Ray Lewis would have intimidated a single offensive lineman from the '70s? Those guys had no big contracts, no fear, and generally no teeth. Their idea of a "perk" was dry towels in the shower room.

They were what we called t-o-u-g-h. And I miss them.

How many times this season will I have to watch linebackers spin themselves into the ground while trying to arm-tackle 200 pound men running full speed toward them?

How many times this season will I have to watch wide receivers prance out of bounds rather than take a hit and gain an extra yard or two?

How many times this season will I have to listen to grown men whine about the bullies in the NFL who won't play nice?

Endorsements, celebrity, and money have turned too many of today's NFL players into self-protective commodities. There are too many times on the field when players seem to make quick calculations to determine whether to put in a little extra effort on a play or just "play it safe."

That is not to say there are no "He-Men" left in football. But more often than not, they are the special teams guys with nothing to lose but a roster spot.

For what it's worth, if Mathias Kiwanuka is so concerned about the dirty play he sees in the NFL, he should do something about it.

He should toughen up.