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Suplexes, tabletops and clotheslines: The NFL was brutal — and incredible — in 1977

There have been just a few rule changes in the NFL since the 1977 season, most of which are designed to ensure players can actually continue to play without combusting on the field. While most of those changes come with a safety-oriented intent, it’s not uncommon to watch a game in 2019 that was bogged down with penalties, especially if a quarterback was involved in a hit that was deemed too hard, too low, too high, or too late.

So while the game is undoubtedly safer, to an exponential degree, today, there is something poetic about the brutality of football in the “let them play” days, before anyone had any grasp of what concussions were, when pads were monumental (but not necessarily effective) and you might just see a player get suplexed at midfield.

The clip above is a 1977 CBS NFL Today intro, featuring almost solely hits that would not fly in 2020, for obvious reasons. It also has some of the greatest theme music of all time.

If that doesn’t scratch your itch for old, bone-crunching football, here’s a 22-minute special, “This is the NFL” on the 1977 season.


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