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Last Friday night, the Colbert Report aired the following Threat Down segment:

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
ThreatDown - Superman, Madden NFL 12 & Glee
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

It's definitely not the first time that Colbert has has let out his inner geek. He's been known to talk about The Lord of the Rings, make Star Wars references, and show clips from video games. But this segment was probably his geekiest yet!

Comic books, video games, and Glee all in one Threat Down? He might as well have made "geekiness" be the one and only Threat in this particular ... um ... Down.

Superman renounces U.S. citizenship

I'm not a big fan of Superman. In fact, I think he's one of the worst ideas for a super hero ever. Being physically invulnerable means that he has to be a complete idiot in order for the bad guys to stand a chance, and for there to be any tension in the comics.

Hey Superman! If the bad guy is ballsy enough to provoke you, then he probably has access to Kryptonite. Maybe you shouldn't fly in head first so that the villain can kick your invulnerable ass with your only weakness.

So yeah, if Superman wants to renounce his American citizenship, let him. Good riddance... Leaves more room in this country for worthwhile super heroes like Spider-Man.

NFL hypocrisy being added to Madden?

I'm wondering exactly what is meant when he says that head-to-head collisions are being removed from Madden 12 due to concussion sensitivity concerns. Does this mean that EA has removed the animations entirely, so that a head-to-head collision cannot happen in the game at all? Or does it just mean that when it does happen, the defender will be penalized and the commentators will talk about how seriously dangerous such a tackle is?

Now, I'm not a big fan of the NFL's new head-to-head collision rules. The league has gone so far out of it's way in the past few years to make playing offense easier so that games become more high-scoring and "exciting" for the fans. They keep gimping defense whenever possible.

I'm a defensive-minded football fan. My high school coaches ingrained that mindset in me, and our team had one of the best defenses in the state. We pitched quite a few shutouts, and there is nothing more satisfying than leaving a big, fat goose-egg on the opponent's side of the scoreboard!

But, apparently, the NFL doesn't feel that way. They think football fans want to see high-flying, high-scoring, fast-paced games. But I would argue that is a different sport. It's called "Arena Football". Go watch that if you want a more "exciting" game!

The head-to-head collision rules are another of the NFL's many offensive-minded rule changes. And it is offensive. A defender has only a split-second to react to the movement of the offensive player when making a tackle. And the ball-carrier's instinctive reaction to being hit is to recoil, duck down, and make his profile as small as possible. In football, you are taught to be lower than the other player because the lower player has more leverage. This is true on the offensive and defensive line as well as in tackling.

So the NFL's idea of punishing defensive players with penalties and fines for hitting an offensive player helmet-to-helmet is just bogus and unfair. If the offensive player puts his head down going into the collision, then why isn't the offensive player penalized or fined for putting himself in danger? Why doesn't the NFL fine quarterbacks or offensive coordinators for calling plays and throwing the ball to places that require the receivers to make receptions in the middle of the field through a tiny window of opportunity that leaves the receiver open to potentially crippling impact?

This play is a good example:

In the above play, Payton Manning throws a perfect, pinpoint pass to Austin Collie in between two Eagles defenders who must sprint at full speed to meet up with Collie to make the tackle. The receiver has to turn around to catch the pass, taking his eyes off of the approaching defenders. He is defenseless. So he does the only thing he can to protect himself. He ducks down and braces for impact, with the ball secured by both arms in his belly.

But the defenders are lowering themselves for impact as well.

The first defender makes contact to Collie's shoulder and the second defender is also aiming to put his shoulder into Collie's lower back. But the combination of Collie ducking down, and the first impact twisting Collie's body around, results in the second defender's helmet colliding directly into Collie's helmet. This, of course, results in a concussion.

Now, I don't recall if the defenders were fined or penalized for this play, but this is the kind of thing that is inherently unfair about the NFL's new rules. Defenders are getting fined and penalized for this sort of thing all the time now. But it isn't their fault. Why is the defense being held accountable for the offense putting its player in such a vulnerable position?

The NFL claims that these rules are to protect players. But the league is really just protecting its investments. During the labor dispute, the NFL wanted to extend the regular season by taking 2 games out of the preseason. The Player's Association wanted to offset this by reducing the length of mini camps and making sure that the players would receive additional pay for the extra two games (instead of having their same 16-game salary split up into two more payments).

So the NFL is going to stand on its shining podium and proclaim its universal concern for its players' safety. But at the same time, they want to extend the already grueling length of the season, and are willing to cut down on the time that players and coaches have to train and prepare for games. But these factors will only combine to create more injuries. The NFL wants to do this because "fans don't want to see backups play in the meaningless preseason; they want to see the marquee players play in meaningful games." But if the marquee players get hurt, then fans won't want to watch. 

To me, this apparent contradiction exposes the NFL's hypocrisy. They are only willing to protect the health and safety of their players because the players are worth money.

And now, apparently, that is getting carried over into Madden.

As for Glee, I don't actually watch the show, so I have no comment.

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