Cory’s Corner: Fantasy football-style rules are hurting the NFL

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We are now in the live ball area of the NFL.

Referees have been instructed to crack down on defensive players even more and closely watch pass interference or defensive holding.

The reason?

Because the casual NFL fan is more concerned with his or her fantasy team as opposed to cheering for a team. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, 69 percent of all fantasy sports owners say their favorite sport is football.

And in order to feed the fantasy beast, offenses need to become even more effective. And the only way for that to happen is to limit the defense.

Bill Belichick’s Patriots got away with bucking Colts wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and several yards downfield when New England and Indianapolis were regularly doing battle for AFC supremacy.

That is completely unacceptable now. Last year, nine quarterbacks threw for over 4,000 yards — including Peyton Manning and Drew Brees which threw for over 5,000. Conversely, in 2005, there were just two that eclipsed the 4,000-yard mark.

The question is, when will there be enough offense? Pretty soon, kids will lose interest in playing defense because of all the limitations associated with it. A defensive back is at a supreme disadvantage for not knowing which way the receiver will go. If a ref is willing to throw a flag simply because a receiver got touched, then we are to the point where defenses are officially defenseless.

I understand people want to see scoring and highlight-reel plays. Heck, that’s the entire premise for starting the NFL RedZone. Since most casual fans don’t have a rooting interest in a particular team, whip-around coverage is perfect because there’s a chance that someone on their fantasy team might get highlighted.

There has to be some kind of balance. Obviously, not too many people remember the 11-6 Rams victory that was disguised as a snoozefest in the 2000 NFC Championship Game. But, seeing games constantly reach the 30s seems a bit diluted as well.

With more emphasis on neck injuries and injuries in general, defenses may never get power back. Many defensive linemen have been frustrated that they’re supposed to attack the quarterback with the enthusiasm that amounts to a yellow traffic light.

Unfortunately this is what the networks want. More scoring fills up highlight shows, which draws more eyeballs, which ultimately makes the ad money pour in. There’s no need to sit through a highlight show if teams were consistently scoring 14-17 points a game.

I have always been amazed at the athletic ability of offensive skill showmen. They dazzle us with speed, amaze us with cutting and spin moves and wow us with toe-tip sideline grabs.

Yet, for as much as the offense has been allowed to work in warp speed, it’s time for the defenses to play on an even field. Secondaries will not stay with a wideout forever without contact and as long as you’ve got an accurate passer, you should win the majority of the time.

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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

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  • Big T

    It’s all about the almighty dollar. From Goodell on down they are all whores for the money. What they don’t realize is the fact that they are going to destroy the game as we know it. I refuse to be a part of fantasy football. It is a sad day when they start making special rules for fantasy football. They are breeding a bunch of posers that know nothing about the real game of football. Shame on them.