[caption id="attachment_20937" align="aligncenter" width="482"] Chris McGrath / Getty Images[/caption] As we all know American Football is a violent sport. It’s one of the reason we love it so much, right? I remember becoming a fan of the NFL when I was about 9 years old and even then I’d always prefer to see the big hits more so than touchdowns. If you were to ask me what’s more exciting, an offensive shoot-out or a tight defensive battle? I’ll answer with the latter. To me there is nothing like seeing a big hit on a wide receiver catching the ball over the middle, or a linebacker flattening a running back looking for a hole. Seeing it week-in-week-out had me hooked on the NFL as I was growing up, and to this day I still enjoy watching those teams with great defences. But in the last few years I've been asking myself: is the NFL becoming too soft?. We've seen the NFL make several rule changes that favour offences and encourage high scoring games, which of course is to make the NFL appeal to a wider audience. Now I get that, I really do however to a fan like myself who has followed the NFL almost religiously for over 20 years, I wonder if the NFL is moving away from the very reason I feel in love with it to begin with. We see players seemingly fined thousands of dollars on a weekly basis for what the NFL considers to be ‘illegal’ hits. Now correct me if I'm wrong but we never saw this 10 years ago? Then again the issue of player concussions has become more and more common in recent seasons and no doubt the NFL is trying to protect itself from potential lawsuits. An example of one of these fines the NFL has dished out recently can be seen in the video below of Ryan Clark of the Pittsburgh Steelers laying a big hit on Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Ed Dickson last season. Deserving of a $40,000 fine? Absolutely not. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZSIXCdBd6o Rewind to the great Chicago Bears defence of 1985 and the hit Wilber Marshall puts on Detroit Lions Quarterback Joe Ferguson. Imagine what fine Wilber Marshall would have received in today’s NFL? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUiMCVDpTLM However I'm glad to say that these fines the NFL dishes out doesn't seem to stop defensive players laying big hits when the opportunity arises and I for one hope this continues. But a part of me wonders as players become stronger, faster and the ‘illegal’ hits keep coming will the NFL coming down harder on defensive players and even more rule changes to stop these so called ‘illegal’ hits from occurring? Agree or disagree? Do you prefer to see an offensive shoot out or a tight defensive battle? Editor's note: While the NFL definitely wants the game to be more explosive offensively and avoid lawsuits, keep in mind the primary reason for these changes is due to safety concerns. Concerns which have only recently been raised by the players who played the game the way it used to be played, and are now suffering for it.