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Out of Bounds

Even in the National Football League, you can't stomp on a guy's head and then kick him in the face.

You can cut his legs out from under him and make him a candidate for artificial hips by the time he's thirty five. You can hammer his knees into free-floating flotsam. You can smack him in the squash hard enough so that he can't find his way back to the huddle without assistance. You can do that often enough so that by the time he is forty, the guy may not be able to find his way home from the grocery store, where he has forgotten most of what he was supposed to buy.

But even in the National Football League, you can't stomp on a guy's head when he is down on the ground so that his helmet pops off, and then kick him in the coconut to the tune of thirty stitches and a session with a plastic surgeon. You cannot do this even if the guy you stomped weighs three hundred and twelve, meaning that you only outweigh him by eight pounds.

You can smash into his shoulder hard enough so that he will never be able to comb his hair again without pain, and if there is sufficient confusion in the melee on the ground following a group tackle, you can bite him. Certainly you can do that, because who's going to know?

But you cannot stand against the blue-grey October sky and stomp a guy's head and then kick him in the face, even if afterward you are inclined to say of your actions, "What I did out there was disgusting."

No, sir. If you stomp a guy's head and kick him in the face, you will be paid only about 1.1 million of the 1.6 million dollars you'd have made if you hadn't stomped that guy's head and then kicked him in the face. Not only that, you won't get to play football again until November 19th, unless your union successfully argues that the penalty assessed against you for stomping on a guy's head and kicking him in the face was too harsh, in which case you would be free to continue the pattern which has also seen you kick one of your teammates and threaten another one with a pole back in your student/athlete days.

This is not to suggest that you cannot try to rip a guy's arm off, or hit him high while one of your teammates hits him low, thus testing the flexibility of his spine. Certainly you can also smash into him at great speed while he's standing still, concentrating on the kickoff or punt that he is catching, thus surprising him more than somewhat and ringing his bell very loudly indeed. Certainly you can do that.

But you cannot stomp a guy's head until his helmet pops off, then kick him in the face. You cannot do that.

This program aired on October 5, 2006. The audio for this program is not available.

Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.

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