It’s harder than ever before to play defense in football right now, especially in the NFL. Offensive players are the best they’ve ever been, and the plays they’re running are ridiculously creative. Add in the fact that modern rules make things very challenging for defenses, and it’s clear why we see so many offensive explosions in football today.
Fortunately, the San Francisco 49ers have been able to remain an elite defense, despite all the factors working against them. A reason why is that they have elite players like Fred Warner, arguably the best linebacker in all of football. Even still, Warner is getting pretty fed up with the challenges that defenses are being forced to overcome.
He made that clear in a recent episode of he and his wife’s “The Warner House” podcast. Speaking on the controversial roughing-the-passer penalty that was called on Pittsburgh Steelers’ safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, after a sack on Las Vegas Raiders’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Warner criticized the NFL for “slowly turn the game into flag football.”
"There’s so many different rules now with unnecessary roughness and targeting and all this other stuff, they basically are trying to slowly turn the game into flag football a little bit. They want to get all the physicality out of the game, even though that’s what literally attracts people to watching the game is guys wearing pads and helmets and hitting each other."- Fred Warner
Fred Warner says NFL wants to get all the physicality out of the game
Warner went on to argue that it wasn’t even really a helmet-to-helmet hit, and that “the rules are finicky a little bit.” The crowd made sure to let the refs know that it was a bad call, and even the on-air rules expert Terry McAulay argued that it wasn’t a foul. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really matter what the masses think, because bad callas like that are commonplace in today’s NFL.
Maybe Fred Warner, one of the league’s best players, speaking out will help the calls get better, but probably not. The league has seemingly drawn a line in the sand and told defenders to deal with it.