When it comes to the changes that the game has undergone the past decade or so, mainly with the introduction of rules like targeting, there are two distinct camps among coaches and football fans; either you love the changes in the name of player safety, or you're frustrated to see how much the game has changed.
Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker, who was a three-time All Big Ten selection as a defensive back in the 80's is in the frustrated camp. He doesn't like the direction that our great game is heading.
So when asked about a recent targeting call by a Hawkeye linebacker, Parker didn't hold back and shared with The Land of 10 how he felt about the direction our great game is headed. He sees the game as most old school coaches do, and the field is tilting heavily to the offensive guys.
“You know, it’s really hard, because the game of football has really changed. And it’s going to come pretty soon to flag football, I think, at times. And it’s a shame. It’s kind of going away. And hopefully I won’t be around by that time."
"Some guys are really trying to protect guys. But some good hits are good hits. And the game is a violent game. We all know it before we get here. As soon as we walk on and get into the field, everybody knows that we’re playing tackle football," Parker told The Land of 10.
“And as soon as you tell me there’s a defenseless player on the field, how come he doesn’t know that we’re playing the game of football? We’re allowing receivers down field to catch balls, uncontested, getting hit. If you blow on them, touch them, you’re going to get a flag. Anything that you do to anybody. You have to be aware, you have to be alert."
Parker goes on to make a great analogy defensive coaches should really appreciate.
"You don’t walk down the street in Chicago without understanding that there’s cars going down there, that it’s dangerous on the highway, isn’t it? Have you ever been to Chicago at 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 5 o’clock on a Friday? That’s dangerous, right?
Parker notes that he understands the concussions hysteria, but he looks at guys who decide to play football as you'd expect an old school coach with decades of Big Ten experience to look at the situation.
"I understand about the concussion thing, you know what I mean. I had many concussions, so I understand that. But that was the risk that I took, too, because I loved the game of football. So it’s the same with anybody else on there. You’re taking the risk going out there and that’s what you’re doing, you know it. You know the risk.”
“It’s a violent game, everybody knows it. They sign up for it."
Read more here from Parker, including how he thinks legendary Iowa defensive back Bob Sanders would have been playing under today's rules.