While the NFL is attempting to remove some of the violence -- particularly head shots -- from the game, one of the leading presidential candidates criticized the league for growing soft.
Republican hopeful Donald Trump, speaking Sunday in Reno, Nev., commented on the penalties that are being called in the modern game.
"You used to see these tackles and it was incredible to watch," Trump said. "Now they tackle -- 'Oh, head-on-head collision, 15 yard' -- the whole game is all screwed up. You say, 'Wow, what a tackle.' Bing. Flag.
"Football's become soft. Football has become soft."
Trump added, "Who wants to watch these crummy games? The outcome of games has been changed by what used to be phenomenal, phenomenal stuff. Now these are rough guys, these are rough guys. These guys -- what they're doing is incredible, but I looked at it and I watched yesterday in particular. So many flags, right? So many flags."
The comments come a day after a testy game between the Cincinnati and Pittsburgh culminated with two personal fouls on the Bengals that helped set up the Steelers for the game-winning field goal. Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict drove his shoulder into the head of Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown, drawing the first of the two flags. Burfict reportedly faces a fine and/or a suspension for the play.