Current NFL Stars: Would they make it in the 80s?

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Photo by Tribune News Service

Defensive linemen go through drills during the Detroit Lions rookie mini camp at the team's Allen Park, Mich., practice facility on May 8, 2015. (Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press/TNS)

By Kainoa Deguilmo, sports writer

Tom Brady. Joe Flacco. Aaron Rodgers. Peyton Manning. Calvin Johnson. Victor Cruz.

If you’re familiar with sports, you’ll know these are some big name players. When it’s NFL season it’s not hard to spot them. On Sunday nights or even on NFL Network channels, you can always find SOMETHING about them. And no wonder. On the field, they’re all superstars.

These stars are this decade’s big names in the NFL. Remember those words. This decade’s.

It’s no secret the NFL has changed. There are so many rules now and regulations. Sure, they’re for safety, but what can you ACTAULLY do without getting a flag?

What I’m trying to say is this: Despite the stardom and talent of these current players, I have to wonder if they would survive a single season in 1980s football? That’s right, the 80s.

Back then, you would never see a “helmet-to-helmet” call, a “roughing the passer” call, a “targeting” call or a “leading with crown” call. Nope. It was rugged. Whether you were a linemen or a quarterback, you were open prey.

Could you imagine Tom Brady lining up opposite of Lawrence Taylor, ready to take the snap? Aaron Rodgers trying to avoid Charles Haley? Or Calvin Johnson reaching out for the ball in front of Ronnie Lott? Would they make it? I say no.

The players, especially the skill ones today, have so many rules made for them, it’s almost impossible to touch them without drawing a penalty. Late hits weren’t called, and Tom Brady would fade against a fresh, prime, young Lawrence Taylor.

Calvin Johnson would get rocked out of his mind by Ronnie Lott, who by the way, wasn’t too concerned about helmet-to-helmet contact.

Aaron Rodgers would crumple under Charles Haley’s constant pressure. Scrambling quarterbacks like Kaepernick, Wilson and Newton would be in a living nightmare. They wouldn’t be able to rely on diving as the defender avoids touching a sliding quarterback. If they slid or attempted to dive, they would get pummeled into the ground.

Can you imagine trying to slide and avoid a tackle with Howie Long right in front of you?

The game of football as we know it today is an intense sport, no doubt. You have to be physically AND mentally strong. You’ll get knocked down one hundred times, and you gotta get up every single time, and get ready to do it again.

Of course, safety is now a lot better in the NFL, and it’s still a challenging sport. But 80s football? Now that’s a different story.