Jeremiah Short, Feature Columnist
266/4.53 + 285/4.68 + 332/4.92 x (Extremely Violent Sport) = A sport rampant with concussion issues.
The NFL has made several changes to decrease the rate of concussions. They moved the kick off line up five yards. They levy fines for helmet-to-helmet hits. And they penalize and fine players for hitting defenseless receivers, who have suffered more concussions (49) than any position the past two years.
No one wants to admit the real reason for concussion problems in the NFL: players are getting way too big, way too strong and way too darn fast.
Prime example: The NFL Scouting Combine that took place the last few days in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Jadeveon Clowney, Aaron Donald and Greg Robinson wowed the scouts, analysts and general managers in attendance with their freakish times.
Clowney, weighing in at 266-pounds, ran a 4.53 40-yard dash. Donald, a 285-pound defensive tackle prospect, ran a 4.68 40-yard dash. Greg Robinson, who is battling to be the draft’s first offensive tackle taken, ran a 4.92 40-yard dash.
I forgot to mention: Robinson is 332 pounds. That’s right, a 332-pound offensive tackle ran a 4.92. An offensive linemen runs this fast and people wonder why there are so many concussions.
Certain things in life are givens. If you treat others the way you’d like to be treated, then people will normally like and respect you. If writers decide to focus a whole episode on Carl, they’ll probably annoy The Walking Dead’s fans. And if over-sized, talented football players collide into each other on a regular basis, they’ll probably get a head injury every once in a while.
That sobering reality is why Roger Goodell and the NFL brain trust know they can’t do much to stop concussions. Maybe slow down. But not stop.
They’re pretending to care. But the problem won’t go away. Not when you got defensive ends running faster than receivers.
NFL player’s elite athleticism isn’t the only reason they’re hurting each other. They want to do it. And we encourage it.
Yes, we. The American public. We love the carnage. The debauchery. The mayhem.
The modern-day Gladiators are giving the people what they want. No matter the cost. At least that’s how Eric Dickerson feels.
“You are supposed to be tough. You are supposed to play through pain. You are not supposed to cry. We are taught that early on in the game as kids. Tough sport. Brutal sport. It’s like the gladiator. People want to see the big hits. They wind up on Sports Center. And as a player, you don’t want to admit you are injured,” said Dickerson.
You can’t write off Dickerson’s comments off, either. He’s one the greatest running backs to lace them up. He isn’t “some guy.”
He’s not bitter. He’s telling the truth. The sport of football is way too violent. But the American public loves it, even if the ones entertaining us are shortening their life-span.
We aren’t determining the life of players with a thumbs up or down. But we might as well be.
Push a guy out of bounds. Boooooo.
Take a running back’s legs out. Booooo.
Blast a receiver on a slant. Yeaaaa, we want more. We want more. Kill, Kill, KILL!
We want football players to kill each other. And that’s what’s happening with each collision.
It’s no accident that 45 of the 46 former NFL player brains studied for CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) tested positive.
Retired NFL players with CTE are dropping like flies. Dave Duerson. Mike Webster. Junior Seau. And those are just the big names.
More are sure to die in the coming years. But we’ll still want more. And more. And more.
Well, that’s until there isn’t any more.
“Thirty years from now, I don’t think it will be in existence. I could be wrong. It’s just my opinion, but I think with the direction things are going — where [NFL rules makers] want to lighten up, and they’re throwing flags and everything else — there’s going to come a point where fans are going to get fed up with it,” Bernard Pollard told CBS Sports.
Ironically, Pollard isn’t saying there won’t be any more football because the sport is getting too violent. He’s saying the NFL won’t exist because they’re trying to make it less violent. It’s a sad indictment on the American public.
The current 21st century world power has devolved into ancient Rome. An empire that only had a thirst for excitement and violence.
We’re nothing like them. Rome was politically corrupt. Engaged in wars for resources. And they placated their people with those Gladiator battles. Oh, wait.
Yea, you just made my point. We act just like them. Our politicians are corrupt. Just like theirs. We’ve engaged in wars for resources (See: Iraq War). And we placate the public with violent battles to the death (NFL).
Freakishly athletic players + blood-thirsty public + money-hungry magistrates = Death of the Gladiators.
It’s just simple math.