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Friday (Outdoor football and modern NFL players) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Vikings Updated: December 17, 2010 - 9:45 AM

We were maybe 18 years old and back in Grand Forks for the holiday break during our freshman year at the University of Minnesota. Some friends, including Rocket, put together a TACKLE football game during a freezing late December day. We ran around with tentative footing in the snow and smashed into people for a couple of hours.

The next day, we experienced a soreness that we still don't believe has ever been topped. But that game was memorable. We would go back and do it all over again if we could.

What does that have to do with anything? Well, not much. It's a very loosely connected anecdote that proves we like to play football in the snow and will hopefully add a shred of credibility when we say that these NFL players need to suck it up and stop complaining about the potentially cold, hard, icy field at TCF Bank Stadium.

The Bears were reportedly considering filing a protest about having to play there. Seriously? If such a move would be nothing more than a ploy to try to get the game moved to a sterile neutral site, where the Bears (who have something to play for) might stand a better chance of winning, then at least we could respect the gamesmanship.

But plenty of players on both sides have raised safety concerns. Said Bears CB Charles (Peanut) Tillman: "You got this icy field that nobody has played on since, I don't know, months. Is that right for the players, for their players, for us and our safety? No, it's not."

Sorry, but we're not going for it. Yeah, outdoor stadiums have heating coils underneath them these days (which TCF does not). But it hasn't always been that way. We're not sure whether old-time football players would laugh or cry at the modern-day millionaires wringing their hands.

And yes, money is a motivator in this. Players are concerned about their livelihood, which to a degree we can understand. But they play a violent sport. They take a chance every time they step on the field, and they are rewarded monetarily. Ultimately, their complaints about a hard field reflect another part of the vast disconnect between how fans view players and how players view that game that could EVENTUALLY erode beyond repair the fabric of professional sports as we know it. For now, it just makes a lot of fans wish they could trade places with anyone who doesn't want to play Monday.

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