AP Photo/Andrew Cohoon

Saints Legend Joe Horn on NFL: "I Think It Should Be Flag Football"


I swear the NFL is becoming more drama and less football with every waking moment. This offseason, the dominant storylines have been Robert Kraft's evening massages, preseason training camp holdouts, Antonio Browns' feet, and the Cleveland Browns somehow becoming "America's Team." We need the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears to get the NFL's 100th season going in a hurry before things get even more absurd.

Nope, just kidding. Things have spiraled out of control. Former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn suggested the National Football League should become touch football.

In an interview with USA Today Sports, the four-time Pro Bowl selection who's fondly remembered for his cell phone celebration, said he'd like his three sons to play a much safer brand of football in the pros.

"It might be touch football by then. And you know what? That's good. Because if the people pay millions of dollars - if they pay their hard-earned money to see superstar athletes play tag football, it is what it is. It's more safe.

"The old guys, the ex-football players can say (the old NFL was better) because they're retired. If you have children - if you're retired and you have kids that love the game of football - you really don't want them coming up and playing like we played."

-- Joe Horn, via USA Today

Horn's three sons all play football. Joe Horn Jr. is an undrafted wide receiver hoping to make the Baltimore Ravens during the 2019 preseason. Jaycob plays high school football in Mississippi and is committed to Matt Luke's Ole Miss Rebels. His youngest, Jaycee, is a sophomore defensive back. All three carry the NFL gene, and Joe Horn is thinking about his son's safety first.


But flag football? Get real.

This isn't third grade recess. This is professional football. Obviously the sport is dangerous, but diligent testing and long hours by researchers are helping make the game safer. Today's athletes don't jump feet first into football without a basic understanding that, yes, they're likely going to get hurt in some capacity.

If you take tackling out of football, it's going to die.

"I think it should be flag football. I think the fans would still pay to see it," Horn added. "It's hard to make it safe now. It's hard for a guy to go full speed at you and stop in the middle of him going full speed, duck his head and not hit you with the helmet that he has on."


The NFL is doing all it can to make the game safe for future generations. Don't believe me? Just ask Antonio Brown about his helmet grievance. But making the game touch football and taking away the essence of the sport is hardly the right move.

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