2017 South Side Questions: What Would Make You Stop Watching NFL Games?

The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: What would it take to get you to stop watching the NFL as a whole, short of the Steelers franchise moving or ending?

Given the recent discussions that have taken place over the course of the past week in the wake of Sunday’s game, during which the Steelers were dispensed four separate personal foul penalties for unnecessary roughness on quarterbacks and defenseless players, I thought it would be an appropriate question to ask today.

In what way would the game have to continue to change that would send you packing for good, no longer following the Steelers or the NFL? The league has been changing the rules of the game for decades, but it has largely been those within the past decade that have been the spotlight.

It’s hard to compare to the reactions of previous generations because, you know, social media didn’t exist in the 70s, but one would imagine that there were strong reactions to a number of rules changes over the years—such that the average fan was actually aware of those rules. It seems to me that we know far more about the minutiae of the game than ever.

The league has repeatedly expanded protections on defenseless players in recent years, and also expanded the definition of players who qualify as defenseless, to the point at which it can be fairly argued that a defender can be penalized because a wide receiver moved in an unpredictable way, including slipping.

Whenever these defenseless receiver penalties come up, the discussions inevitably arise about player safety and the integrity of the game and straight up machismo, with hyperbolic statements like saying quarterbacks might as well be wearing tutus being a common retort.

So I’m curious. It’s obvious that we’re all still on board so far with the game, even though a lot of us complain about many of the changes. How would the game have to change from this point forward for you to really say enough is enough?

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