Michael MacCambridge's 2004 America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation:
By the beginning of the twenty-first century the chasm between those on the field and the rest of the football universe was widening.
"The simple fact is, when you step across the line you're in a different world," said Will Shields, the Chiefs' Pro Bowl guard. "Basically, we're gladiators that play on Sunday, we're guys that, they want you to be the nicest and sweetest people off the field, and yet on Sunday, go out and try to basically rip somebody's head off, play in and play out. And so to balance that, you can see it could be a difficult thing to do. But I've been doing it so long that it's become a habit."
The margin for error for players had decreased, and the level of criticism, through blanket coverage in the traditional media, as well as the opinion-heavy forum of talk radio and the Internet, had increased exponentially.
And so the belief that only those who played football could truly understand it, flowed in concentric circles outward from the heart of the action, even on the field.
Michael MacCambridge, America's Game