On the other hand, are we just retreading the whole foul/cheater/morality thing? Mooney said ultimate is dead, long live "uglimate" in a famous letter to the editor in 1986. It got bad enough that by 1990, a Certified Observer Program was put in place. In 1995, in kneejerk response to some shenanigans at Mid-Atlantic Regionals, a Yellow Card/Red Card system was implemented. Callahan Rules came in a few years later, with on-field Observers authorized to hand out Team Misconduct Fouls (one of my biggest regrets in ultimate is not handing out a TMF to that freakishly-blond kid from Colorado in the finals of 2001 Coll Nats; he was mugging the thrower unreservedly). NUA popped up in 1997 and (sorta) in 2005.
Maybe it's just a cycle. Or maybe it's just more widespread now, kinda like strategy and training. It's not that any team now is worse than any team from the past, just that there are more of them out there.
I think it's some of both. I first started really noticing how physical the mark had become in about 1999. I was appalled by watching a videotape of us against the Condors in that year's Nationals finals, where it was just a constant clutch and grab by a bunch of players on both teams. Certainly, some guys are worse than others, and you really develop an admiration for an opponent who _doesn't_ do that but still plays effectively.
But then again, I didn't try to break a whole lot of marks against the early 90s NY teams, so maybe it was just for lack of opportunity that I wasn't hacked to death. I remember stating that a certain player on their team had fouled me more than the rest of ultimate combined.
Now at the risk of being unpopular. This report places the blame for all of this squarely on you: The Viewers!