On Sunday there were three fights on the field in the NFL. The opponents were Cincinnati and Jacksonville, Arizona and San Francisco, and Tampa Bay versus New Orleans. The NFL’s treatment of a couple of rules over the last couple of decades, particularly as it relates to behavior, rather than the contact that is indigenous to the game, are responsible.

The 2001 NFL rulebook, according to Sportsattic.com, states “Taunting rules are tightened, with 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties flagged.” The fact is you never see a taunting penalty called as a result.

However, I am here to tell you that the guidelines for taunting are too narrow and that "Trash Talking" is no different than taunting and yet has become accepted by the referees in the NFL.

Trash talking leads to fighting

Trash talking has become the rule rather than the exception. It is trash talking that leads directly to the unacceptable Fights on the field. The other rules, I would argue, that are conducive to building up acrimony outside of the play on the field, surround celebrations.

Trash talking is provocative and often creates animosity between players matched up in the field of battle. Although the players themselves would have you believe that it’s all fun and games, you can bet it is not.

The conversations get heated particularly when it is already a violent game.

It gets personal when one player is telling another that he can’t "carry his jockstrap," directly after allowing a big play against his team. And, that’s basically what it is, one player telling another, in the most culturally poetic and provocative way, that, ‘you can't’ touch me’.

Once the jawboning gets too aggressive for one of the participants, punches are thrown.

NFL players need to stick to playing the game

Call me old school, but there is no reason for adversaries in the NFL to be provoking each other with anything other than their play. What happened to modesty and proving your worth with your actions on the field?

The NFL could have stopped this behavior from evolving had they flagged any overt trash-talking, as the taunting that it is.

This should earn a 15-yard penalty for a player that keeps jawing at another after a play is over. Had this taken place from the time taunting rules were “tightened up” in 2001 we wouldn’t have to watch players throwing punches, swinging helmets, and fighting each other after the play is done.

Fighting on the field is not where the entertainment is

I contend that players began trying to shape the way we the fans experience the game. They presumed that they knew best what entertainment we wanted, with antics such as end zone dances and trash talking. In my opinion, It has all gotten out of hand. Since Homer Jones of the NY Giants, a 20th round pick, out of Texas Southern University in 1964, first spiked the ball in the end zone; we’ve come a long way, but not for the better.