Chad Johnson Shannon Sharpe Credit: Nightcap Podcast

While Tom Brady calling out the “mediocrity” in the modern NFL got the most attention this week, Brady also highlighted in his interview on The Stephen A. Smith Show that today’s quarterbacks are less discerning and more protected by rules than ever before, making for a worse product.

Elaborating on Brady’s comments in Monday night’s episode of Nightcap, hosts Shannon Sharpe and Chad Johnson discussed how offenses used to adjust to defenses rather than rely on officials to safeguard them when they make risky plays.

“These guys throw the ball over the middle, and then they get mad at a defensive player for knocking him out,” Sharpe said.

Added Johnson: “They’re reaching up with one hand, they’re pretty posing, looking good and looking cute. Yeah, OK. OK. The NFL has handicapped the game. They’ve handicapped players on defense to where they can’t even tackle.”

While Sharpe and Johnson agreed that emphasizing player safety was important and believe the NFL is right to make adjustments in response to player brain trauma findings, they said it has gone too far.

Certain dangerous plays are the byproduct of poor gameplanning or decision-making, not just the usual violence of football, they added.

“They say don’t lead with the crown of the helmet, so players are trying to lead with their shoulder now,” Johnson explained. “But it’s impossible when you’re running full speed in some of these bang-bang plays and having to adjust your body and move at a split second. Somebody’s going to end up hurting themselves.”

The hosts even agreed it makes sense to protect quarterbacks, who are often sitting ducks or unable to see oncoming hits. But position players moving and tackling is a core part of the sport.

“They opened up the game,” Sharpe said. “Because what do you like? You like scoring.”

Johnson also brought up the idea to expand the field to make up for the increase in athleticism among NFL players.

“Telling the players that are getting bigger, faster and stronger you have to change the way you tackle, it’s impossible,” Johnson argued.

While Brady using his pulpit to make the argument might get the most attention, it also opens the floodgates for others around the NFL to call out strange rule changes.

[Nightcap on YouTube]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.