The miracle of NFL fights is that they don’t happen all the time

The league has witnessed a number of high-profile brawls of late. But in a sport focused on violence, players are actually remarkably restrained

Over Christmas of 1914 on the Western front, British and German soldiers climbed out of the trenches and spent a peaceful holiday together. A soccer match between the warring sides is even said to have taken place. The tale of the 24-hour truce endures more than 100 years later because it is so magical and bizarre that two sides that had just been trying to kill each other could instantly flip a switch and co-exist peacefully together … only to then return to their trenches and begin the bloodshed anew.

Of course, football is not war (no matter how many times other sportswriters and every football coach ever have tried to compare the two). But it is the most violent game in American sports and features athletes trying to physically destroy each other every Sunday for three hours and some 120 plays. Yet when each play is over, the players are expected to set their differences aside, calm their emotions and co-exist peacefully ... until the violence and mayhem starts again in 40 seconds. The Christmas truce was a one-time occurrence 103 years ago, while NFL truces are expected to happen 120 times in every game. Each moment of peace is remarkable considering the context.

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