Good morning Rumblers,
As my wife and I started to discuss the idea of possibilly bringing in another Bills fan in to this world; we discussed the thought of him or her wanting to play football. Knowing what we know now, will we let our child play? I think it is a good question, something in which many of you may have already asked yourselves.
Now there is no right or wrong answer to this question. I wont try to convince you that my opinion is right, but I will give you a prospective in which you might not had already considered.
There have been a lot of changes that has transpired over the past 10 years or so in the NFL. The game that a lot of us grew up watching and loving has changed. With an added focus on concussions, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), crippling injuries, etc. The NFL has been forced to implement changes on how the game is played. Stiffer penalties for violators and the changing of rules to protect players. The NFL felt that changes were necessary due to the lawsuits from former players, and the overall viability of the game.
But are the changes really necessary? I'll say no, and here's why.
First off, the major concern that people have is for the players.
No one wants to see their favorite player looking like a shell of himself. Barely able to speak, chronic injuries, and suicidal. I get that, trust me. But lets look at the type of person that plays football. No, not your average teenager that plays on his HS football team for the girls and the jersey. I'm talking about the kid, that has the talent and more importantly the PASSION to play it at the highest level. Total commitment on the field and off the field. It's important to realize and understand the distinction between the two.
Now for me, I played football growing up. I played my whole life. I preferred football over other non-contact sports, because I was just different from the rest of my friends. I enjoyed the violence of it. I enjoyed hitting people and getting hit. The danger of getting hurt and hurting others was appealing to me. I had a temper and my parents thought this was the best way that I can express myself physically with out getting in trouble. I was SUPER SUPER SUPER competitive, and the thought of beating some one and dominating them both physically and mentally was appealing. The "high" I got from playing football, was different from all of the other sports I played. I, like other football players was just different. I personally believe professional football players are the same way, but times 10.
Yes, a screw or two loose.
It's take a unique and special person to run at someone full speed and ram their head in to their chest. To play through injuries, cut fingers off, and play with catheter running from their armpit to their heart. These players are modern day Gladiators. They don't see the world the way most of us do. They have a different fire burning inside their bellies. Take the time to read this article on Michael Jordan, about the type of competitiveness it takes to be great.
There have been talks/discussions that the NFL will like to enforce stiffer rules on player safety because of the overall viability of the game. Now I get the lawsuits from former players, but the thought that parents won't allow their child to play football because of the possible health concerns I believe is overstated.
First off, lets make a couple things clear. The kid who plays a year or two playing JV football isn't going to develop CTE, and if it is possible the chances will probably be as slim as winning the lotto. Second, at a certain age most parents would allow their child to make their own decisions. So if he or she wanted to play football, they would. Lastly, lets look at the demographics of some of these players (not all). Like me, some of these players played football and other sports as means to one day escape the poverty that they grew up in. Played to stay out of trouble and off the streets. However you want to look at, the NFL still provides a financial incentive for those who grew up poor. As long as poverty still exist in this country and around the world; you will always have someone willing to make the ultimate sacrifice (health) in order to live the "American Dream". If faced with the alternative of jail, dead, or football, I guess football will still win out.
My final point is this. We love and watch football for the same reasons we watch hockey, boxing, MMA, auto racing. We love the violence. I've been to hockey games and hear how the crowd erupts after a big hit on the glass or when a fight breaks out. Auto racing is boring to watch, but there is always hope of a collision to make the event much more interesting.
My only hopes is for the NFL to just let the game play out as it was intended to be played. Protect the players as much as you can with equipment, but don't change how it is played. Consenting adults is making a choice, and being rewarded handsomely to do so. As a fan, I just want to be entertained. I'm paying enough money. I won't be surprised if NFL games will start looking like the Pro Bowl.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/13/v-fullstory/3179926/dan-le-batard-jason-taylors-