Friday, October 26, 2012

Football's Problem

Concussions: I’ve read where peewees are taught to tackle, but kids who play flag football for years, then switch to tackle, are at risk since the never learned the proper form. There’s little hard hitting in peewee ball. Instead its bunches of tiny bodies with huge helmeted heads standing around pushing. Even when you get the huge chubby kid, he’s the slowest one on the field. The only way he can hurt someone is to fall on top of them.

Inner city kids aren’t exposed to peewee football as much as their suburban counterparts. Instead they watch the hard-hitting NFL players on SportsCenter, then put on shoulder pads for the first time in middle school and go out and try to take their opponents heads off. In truth, there isn’t many violent hits in high school games. There are so few elite athletes. Out of the hundred players at a typical high school game, at best five will play in college. Rarely will one make it to the pros. Without any experience, Will would’ve been an above average high school player. Compared to college and pro, the speed of the game is very slow. So hard hits are rarely a problem.

By the time the above average player gets to college, the hangers-on around him have convinced him that he id destined for the NFL. Players want to make the big hit, so they can be on SportsCenter. And they don’t wear their helmets correctly. Part of that is the dreadlocks players have. They’d rather look cool now and risk the concussions that will impair them later. This concussion scare is one of the reasons tackling is so bad these days. By this point they’re part of the cash generating machine, a worker bee in the football factory…a replaceable part. In the past college and pro players have been encouraged to play hurt. If they don’t, there’s the possibility they are Wally Pipped. With nothing to fall back on, most limp back out on the field…further sentencing themselves to a future with a fading mind.

The NFL is in a quandary. The most popular league in sports garnered that rep thanks to all the hard hits. On the other hand, former players are suing the league because of the toll those hits have taken on their brains and bodies. Fans don’t care. They want to see the hits. TV networks get the big ratings for showing the hits, but they’ll also report the horrific stories of retired players like Junior Seau and Ray Easterling killing themselves. What will happen to the goose that laid the golden egg?

NOTES: I pick Bama over Oregon. The Ducks are fast, but colleges like Bama shouldn’t have to substitute as much as the pros. Oregon does have that really fast guy, who grew up playing in Snoop Dog’s peewee league. He spurned mighty USC and enrolled at Eugene, so now everyone thinks the Ducks are going to rule the roost. Unlike the sports talk guys, I’m not convinced. Still, it’s super hard for a team to repeat.

Thursday night Clemson was trying to go no-huddle. Instead of huddling up ten yards behind the ball, the offense would line up over the ball, and stand around for 10-15 seconds while the play was called. The only difference? The defense has a harder time substituting. Clemson appeared to be dominant, but it was just Wake Forest. With seven minutes to go in the game Tajh Boyd broke the school record for passing yards. They should’ve taken him out at halftime…the game was already decided.   

Moes and Taco Bell are ok, but one day we’ll hopefully start eating at other places. I dislike Chipotle, but on Halloween we’ll go there for two dollar burritos.

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