The NFL has changed a lot over the years. From becoming more of a passing league, with rules favoring offenses, the days of hard hits on quarterbacks and defenseless receivers are becoming a thing of the past. And while player safety should be a focus of the league as more and more comes out on the issues of concussions and their long-term effects, young fans will rarely get to witness the ferocity of days gone by.
Tampa Bay linebacker Scot Brantley came to the Buccaneers from the University of Florida and brought a hard-hitting reputation with him. A third-round draft pick from the Gators, Brantley missed most of his senior season with a head injury (surprising huh?).
Still, Brantley was a high round draft pick and spent eight seasons in the NFL with the Buccaneers. However his most well-known play is still this hit on Lions quarterback Eric Hipple back in November of 1985.
Not only would this hit most likely resulted in a penalty in today’s NFL, it would have also warranted a suspension from the league. Tampa Bay’s overall history in NFL lore isn’t great, despite winning a Super Bowl title, but even during the lean years, the Bucs were known for a tough punishing defense. Players like Brantley, Mark Cotney, Hugh Green, Davis Lewis, and John Lynch would all have a hard time staying on the field in today’s NFL.
This isn’t a commentary on the NFL and their rules, just stating facts.