What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Let’s be honest…one of the reasons women drive men crazy is because they always want mutually exclusive things. If you don’t believe that, just ask a single woman under the age of 30 what her “dream” man would be like, and you will get a litany of things that simply don’t go together. Comedian Dave Attell has the best bit to describe this.
“I had a woman tell me she wants a man who is both ‘outdoor-sy and hilarious.’ The problem is that even if she gets that combination, she won’t like it. Do you know why? Do you know who is both ‘outdoor-sy and hilarious?’ Rodeo clowns.”
This is exactly how the NFL is acting when it comes to the recent rash of head injuries. For years, hell, for decades, the NFL has been promoting a “bigger, stronger, faster” dictum because those skull-rattling hammer jobs that everybody is recoiling in horror from now are EXACTLY what the NFL wanted. Now that they have it, they are uncomfortable with it.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually understand this conundrum in which the NFL finds itself; I’m old enough to remember the Darryl Stingley incident. This, or worse, happening on the field is what makes Roger Goodell lay awake at night because he knows that the minute a player gets paralyzed or killed as a result of a highlight-reel shot to the head the NFL will have a public-relations problems of heretofore unseen proportions. Thanks to the folks at SportsCenter and the internet you know that video would go viral in seconds. We haven’t killed anybody yet, and the good people at Deadspin are already on to this:
By our admittedly rough count, there have been at least 46 concussions in the NFL this season. We’ve found video for 14 of them — clean hits and dirty ones, big hits and relatively minor ones. Watch and cringe and then wonder how many of the names in the list below belong to future ALS patients.
The list is a work in progress (we owe a debt of gratitude to the folks at the AutoAdmit discussion board). If we’re missing anyone, let us know.
2010 NFL Concussions:
Preseason: Ryan Grant (Packers), Hunter Hillenmeyer (Bears), Joseph Addai (Colts), Mark Clayton (Ravens), Nick Sorensen (Browns), Mike Furrey (Redskins), DJ Ware (Giants), Darnell Bing (Texans), Freddy Keiaho (Jaguars)
Pre-Week 2: Clifton Ryan (Rams)
Pre-Week 3: Anthony Bryant (Redskins)
Week 4: Jordan Shipley (Bengals)*, Willis McGahee (Ravens), Asante Samuel (Eagles)*, Riley Cooper (Eagles), Sherrod Martin (Panthers; was fined for Week 1 hit on Kevin Boss), Tony Scheffler (Lions), Jay Cutler (Bears; allegedly the fifth in his career)
* Denotes a concussion included in our video.
We’ll try and keep the list updated from here on out. Video is obviously important for something like this. If you manage to find a clip from this season in which a player sustains (or even discusses) a concussion, please send it our way.
The intractable problem here is this sort of violence is built into the game as it exists; therefore to eliminate these sort of head-shots means by definition you must make some significant changes to the construction of the game itself. In other words, fines and suspensions aren’t going to solve the problem, nor are they going to eliminate the risk factors which contribute to the problem.
Enter Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno. Nobody in this country has been around football longer the JoePa, and he has the right idea on how to eliminate this problem; eliminate the facemask. During Tuesday’s Big Eleven Ten press conference, he said, “It’s a weapon, guys are fearless.” Like it or not, he’s absolutely right. In fact, it may be time to get rid of the helmet entirely. The football helmet as it exists now is less protection and more of a weapon, and players aren’t going to be as likely to throw their skulls into harm’s way without that impenetrable shell on it.
You have two choices, NFL. You can either address the head injury issue in a meaningful and result-driven manner, even if it means fundamental changes to the product you’ve been marketing for half a century. Failing that, you can just admit you want a modern gladatorial spectacle where crippling injury or death is merely “a part of the game.” Frankly, I don’t think the NFL has the guts to do either.