- If we take Troy Aikman’s clothing-removal advice to its logical extreme, the game would become safer AND have fewer rough tackles.
- Take the dresses off? Why not just lose the whole ensemble?
- An all-nude football league would mean every player has something at stake – several somethings, in fact.
Longtime concussion recipient Troy Aikman has decided the National Football League is doing too much to stop players from brain-damaging each other, saying during Monday night’s game that the league should “take the dresses off” when it comes to roughing-the-passer penalties.
While many labeled the legendary Dallas Cowboys quarterback’s comment sexist, I think Aikman might be on to something that could better protect all NFL players. I’m referring, of course, to playing the game of football wearing helmets, and nothing else.
Take the dresses off? Heck, why not just lose the pads and shirts and stretchy man-trousers and cleats and socks and the whole ensemble?
All-nude NFL games? Why that’s … wait … it makes perfect sense!
I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Rex, c’mon. You aren’t really proposing all-nude football, are you?”
I most certainly am. Many fans are concerned about the dangers NFL players face in such a violent sport. By more strictly enforcing rules around how a defender can take down a quarterback – the aforementioned roughing-the-passer penalty – referees can better protect the players most vulnerable to vicious hits.
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But sometimes that creates controversial calls, like the one Monday night that set Aikman off. A Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle fell on Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and a penalty flag flew. There was another recent roughing-the-quarterback call involving Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady that some felt was overly protective of the QB’s noggin.
People like Aikman, who has several concussions during his playing days, tend to say things like, “It’s a tough sport, you’ve gotta take some hits.” And I think that’s a fine way to think about a sport that, if we’re being 100% honest, is an overall bad idea, human-health-wise.
But if we take Aikman’s clothing-removal advice to its logical extreme, I’d argue the game would become safer AND have fewer penalties relating to overly rough tackles.
If I’m naked, I’m not going to tackle with quite the same force
Wrap me up in heavy pads and I’ll gladly run full-tilt into another human being. But pop a helmet on my head and leave the rest of me al fresco and I’m thinking twice about running too hard into anything.
An all-nude football league would mean every player has something at stake – several somethings, in fact.
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It’s possible the NFL, in trying to better protect players, has had it all wrong. More protective gear and harsher penalties might help. But making all players equally vulnerable due to nakedness? THAT would calm things down a bit.
Presenting … Nude Football League
The new NFL – Nude Football League – could also leverage this sensible, Aikman-inspired approach to reach out to new audiences. Watching 22 uniformed, pad-clad men running around the field knocking the tuna salad out of each other is one thing. Watching 22 men doing all that naked? That’s an entirely different show.
The slogan possibilities are endless: “Same Great Game, Now With EVERYTHING on the Line”; “Like Chippendale’s, Only More Jiggly”; “Are You Ready for Some Skin, and Also Football?”
The Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders will have competition
Aikman’s old team is famous for its scantily clad Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. Why not have the players go a few steps beyond that?
It would surely make the on-field hits softer. And as far as the tough-guy, pro-bro attitude Aikman espouses? Trust me, anyone playing football in the nude has some seriously big … courage.
More humor and satire from Rex Huppke:
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Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on Twitter @RexHuppke and Facebook: facebook.com/RexIsAJerk