Football is a violent sport. Any time you are playing a sport where people wear protective padding and are told to use their bodies to wrestle opponents to the ground, violence is going to be a prominent part of the game. It’s an unfortunate reality that was on display during this week’s Monday Night Football matchup.
During the fourth quarter of a tight game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals — two teams that have never liked one another under any circumstance — we saw a pair of hits that highlighted just how violent football can be. First, there was this block by Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict that led to the latter leaving the game with a head injury.
Burfict has a history of doling out dirty hits and other plays that have left opponents worse for wear. This does not matter. What Smith-Schuster did was the kind of thing that is worse than a 15-yard penalty, as it is the kind of hit — lowering your head and shoulders on a player who cannot see you coming — that can really injure an opponent. This is, like, the definition of “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,” except in this instance, it’s more “an illegal hit for an illegal hit will make football illegal within the next half-century.”