San Francisco 49ers right guard Alex Boone ended his weekly segment with 95.7 The Game’s Damon Bruce with a long, spirited rant about the current state of officiating and the NFL that was, for lack of a better word, incredible. Not only does he describe how the officials “think that they’re so tough now because they have a flag in their pocket,” he goes into detail about what NFL players want to do (“have a good time and beat the hell out of each other”) and the risks they know they’re willing to take.
It’s a fascinating look into the mind of an NFL player. The rant was so good, I went ahead and transcribed the entire thing.
“I’m starting to call this the ‘No Fun League,’ because these refs these days are out of control. They’re throwing flags for everything. If you even look at a guy the wrong way, you’re getting a 15-yarder. I mean, what happened? Two years ago, I was playing, you used to be able to backroom brawl people and have a good time and beat the hell out of each other. And now you can’t even say something mean to somebody. Call them a jerk and all the sudden it’s 15 yards because you made his feelings hurt. I mean, c’mon. It’s ridiculous.
“I couldn’t tell you (what Colin Kaepernick said to draw an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the fourth quarter on Sunday). But at the same time, who cares? We’re not out there to be friends, we’re not out there to play patty cake. We’re out there to hurt each other and have fun doing it. So get the hell out of our way. There’s so many of these refs that think that they’re so tough now because they have a flag in their pocket, and they get to walk around and just throw it. It’s out of control. It’s officially out of control.
“I saw a guy last night in the Indianapolis game. He’s coming down the field, clean hit, the guy wasn’t looking. Number one, you’re playing football. You should always be looking where you’re turning. This guy got called for 15 yards because he smoked some guy in the side, which is completely legal in my opinion. But they called him for unnecessary roughness because he’s a defenseless player. If you are between the white lines, you are not a defenseless player anymore. I’m going to tell you right now. When you’re on the sidelines, you are defenseless. You mean no harm to anybody. But if you’re down there running to smoke somebody, and somebody hits you, that’s your own fault. That’s the problem with this league. Too many people are worried about player safety, now we’ve got to worry about this — why are we doing this? If we want to hit each other and have fun doing it, let us do what we do. Sometimes they take it to an extreme.
“Here’s another example: Quinton Dial. Hits the quarterback square in the chest. Unnecessary roughness on the quarterback. Are you kidding me? How about this – how about if we just two-hand touch the quarterback from now on. You guys want to do that? We can do that, we can make it work. I mean, that’s the problem. You’re telling a guy who is a complete savage, ‘I want you to go, and I want you to hit that guy.’ They don’t tell you how to hit him, just hit him like that. He does and they throw the flag, now what do you tell that guy? ‘Ehh, maybe next time just wrap him up and kind of lightly bring him down.’
“I mean, c’mon. This is football. We’re all big boys. We all know what we got into. We signed up for this. Our moms signed the waivers when we were kids. We all knew!
“It’s changing. This league, it’s becoming a different league. All around the league you see guys and they’re kinda like, ‘Dude, how are we supposed to play this game now?’ Because I was brought up that you’re supposed to go out there and try and dominate. Now you’re telling me I got to worry about the way some guy’s going to feel 20 years later. It just puts everybody in a bad situation. There’s some rules that I agree with. Chop blocking on the side. Things like that, those are unnecessary. You don’t need to cut a guy from the side. That’s just wrong. I agree with that. But when you’re going to sack a quarterback, and if you have to think for one minute, or a second, or a blink, ‘How do I hit this guy?’ This league is lost. What are we supposed to do? It’s making things unfair for everybody. It’s just one of those things that you have to know an extreme, and we’re at an extreme right now. It’s getting out of control.
“We all signed up for it. We all know what we’re getting ourselves into. We’re not going to be able to walk 15 years down the road. But it’s fine. It’s fun. It’s what we live for. We’re extremists. We love the adrenaline rush. So let us have fun.”