Reasons Why Seahawks And Broncos Prevailed…And Have You Ever Heard Ice Melt Laugh?

I swear this will be the last time I bring up the NFL has foolishly, brazenly scheduled the Super Bowl for Northern New Jersey.  I promise to get to the reasons why Seattle and Denver will now be subjected to whatever conditions God (no, not Roger Goodell) issues.

However…just out of curiosity…have you ever heard Ice Melt and/or Rock Salt LAUGH?  Because that’s what is happening in the Northeast right now.  Here in Philadelphia it just got to 10F mid-day.  That number equals the inches of the substance formerly known as snow on my yard. With the wind, put a big ol’ negative in front of that figure.

I just saw a large flock of Canadian Geese flying home TO GET WARM.

This is ridiculous.

The Philly news radio station was interviewing a woman at the bus terminal who just arrived from HondurasShe was obviously taken back by the conditions she found herself in now.  The news reporter wrapped up the segment by saying something to the effect that geez, it could be a lot worse for us here.  Think about if we were from Honduras.

Yo, if I was from Honduras I wouldn’t BE in the Northeast U.S. with only one-third of winter in the books.

I believe it was Tommy Edison who once said, “If we did all the things we are capable of doing we would likely astonish ourselves.”

And that ladies and gents is what we can still have in two weeks if game-time conditions warrant, a game where even the combatants might shock themselves with their performances.

The #1 offense versus the #1 defense.  According to STATS the first Super Bowl since 1991 where the league’s highest-scoring team is matched against the team who gave up the fewest points.  Only the second time in the last two decades the #1 seed in each conference has reached the Big Game.

I found both Conference Championship Games fascinating. Some quick thoughts and reasons why the winners won:

It was a bit weird seeing Denver with the “early game.”  It was not weird seeing it be 63F and sunny there.  Those people have their blizzards in October.  Don’t ask me.  Everytime the Broncos have gotten a post-season game I can recall, the weather is…well…like Honduras.

Considering the lack of big-play talent Tom Brady had to work with at the wideout position…and how the Pats maneuvered themselves into contending for the Conference title – pounding the opposition with the ground game – I really did not understand why they cranked up the passing and abandoned the run.  It’s like they anticipated their defense getting routed by Peyton Manning and Company.  No faith they could hold Denver in check.  As magnificent a game Manning played, the Broncos were not blowing New England off the field.  Ironically, with time running down future Hall-of-Fame-Hoodie Bill Belichick ran a draw play that was stuffed.  Denver was the better team.  Thank heavens they prevailed.  But the Patriots’ strategy was painful.

Speaking of painful, Hoodie called the hit by Denver wide receiver Wes Welker on Patriots’ DB Aqib Talib “one of the worst plays I’ve seen.”  Well, it should have been a penalty for offensive interference but other than that all we have is a head coach in the heat of the moment striking out verbally at a former employee who wanted a better situation for himself and left the Dark Side.  Hoodie ain’t been doin’ too well since Spygate.  You don’t think there’s a correlation?

Tom Brady overthrew receivers about as bad as I’ve seen him do so.  Looked real…human.

Do you see a theme here where I’m writing more about New England losing the game than Denver winning it?  No doubt Denver executed well but they left points on the field and certainly could have been challenged.  If the Pats were so very concerned with getting into a shootout why punt at any time while fairly deep in Bronco territory as they did?

The crowd in Seattle is awesome.  It is no surprise why the Seahawks are so good at home.  That’s why everyone rushes to point out their road record.  Whatever.  Defense travels so in games Seattle has lost the last couple of years it has been because they have been offensive on offense.

And in fact, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson looked at times on Sunday like he had way too many native Starbucks beverages.  While San Francisco brought a fierce, aggressive Seattle-like mentality to their defensive approach Wilson scrambled like a roach…and he kept running backwards at that.  Russell has looked like a rookie at times this season, which is unfortunate because this is Year Two.  He has been a bit careless and reckless in his travels and Sunday it almost cost his team a slot in the Big Game.

Then again, his counterpart Colin Kaepernick – in Year Three – certainly had an up-and-down affair against the vaunted Seahawks’ D.  His legs set the tone and gave the Niners the lead.  His arm however was tone-deaf when needed the most.

San Francisco had a strange year trying to decide whether to set up the run for the run or set up the run for the pass.  This may be because they know what they have with Colin…a running QB with a big arm but much less accuracy than his tattoo artists.  It’s not like the 49ers don’t have people to catch the football.  Like Michael Crabtree, for example.

Ah yes, the final moment where Seahawks DB Richard Sherman deflected a Kaepernick fling to Crabtree in the end zone and created the game-clinching interception.  The choke signs, the faux “congratulations” to Michael, the rant on-air post-game to Fox’s Erin Andrews.  If you have read anything about Richard Sherman prior to this weekend you know he is an intelligent, thoughtful individual who clearly throws a massively giant switch once on the football field.  The NFL’s Jekyll and Hyde.  It seemed to be all most folks were talking about early this week.  I even heard more than a few folks upset at the lack of sportsmanship displayed and how it reflects poorly on kids watching.  This amuses me because I have no doubt the next Madden release will allow you to take any of the Seattle defenders you’re playing and taunt the opposition mercilessly after each play.

And as for Erin’s reaction to Sherman’s dissing of Michael Crabtree and his own greatnessThat’s why we grab them right after games, because we hope they lose their minds like that.”

General consensus was Andrews handled the situation professionally.  My view is two-fold – one, sideline reporters are useless.  Two, to me she looked like someone just saw her naked.  (couldn’t resist – I tried…)

Hopefully, the hype will match the game.  If so it will be a classic.

In the interim, humor still enjoyed from my driveway.

The Ice Melt laugheth.

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“New Jersey And Sochi – Perfect Together”

If Chris Christie had the Winter Olympics coming to the Snoopy (AKA Met Life) Stadium region instead of the Super Bowl we wouldn’t need any of these naval warships streaming towards the Meadowlands like those currently bearing down on Sochi.  He’d just decide who was and wasn’t a terrorist…and then close their bridge access.

And on that note Sportsattitudes returns to the blogosphere.  In order to better appreciate my take on the insanity about to go down with these two colossal sporting events please do read my prior post which I wrote oh, about a year ago.  The very last one I wrote before taking a break that lasted far longer than anticipated.  Good to be back.

I am in my suburban Philadelphia home and the amount of snow falling right now (sideways I might add) may eventually outnumber the tweets about Richard Sherman’s outburst about Michael Crabtree after Seattle’s thrilling win over San Francisco Sunday evening.  Truly, if the Super Bowl was being played at the Meadowlands today it would be one of the most hysterical, must-see-TV moments in sports history.  The weather forecast (which translates into Latin as “open your window because we have no earthly idea what it will do”) for two weeks out has Super Bowl Sunday experiencing freezing temps with light precipitation.  Hey, I love bad-weather outdoor football as much as the next person but when you get to the Big Game you gotta put it in the best conditions possible because it’s the most powerful, mega-watt evening in all of American sports…unless of course your power goes out like it did last year.  Which can also happen when you’re having a blizzard and it’s 10 degrees…like I’m watching outside right now. If you’re one of those folks who can’t stand people in your office always yak-yak-yakking about the impending doom of the next storm system you should contact NASA and catch the next shuttle to the space station immediately because for two weeks ALL you’re going to hear about is the weather.  Not how special Denver and Seattle are, not how perfect their players are, not how clever their coaches are. No, you’re gonna hear about the weather.  What WAS the National Football League thinking?  Next thing you know, they’ll want to get rid of extra points.  Wait.  What?

And those Sochi Winter Games are shaping up to be more like War Games than anything else. At least there will be nice weather.  Very nice weather.  Melt the slopes weather.  We have been assured Mad Vlad Putin has stocked up on plenty of snow to disperse should Mother Nature not comply.  Right now, he should be more concerned about dispersing troops so Mother Russia doesn’t become extinct.  Let’s hope we wind up eventually talking about sporting purity…not tight security.

It feels good to take a few minutes here and crank out mindless thoughts about mindless decisions to give New Jersey a Super Bowl and Sochi a Winter Olympics.  This is where I left off ranting with y’all almost twelve months ago and it seemed a perfect time to crank up the crazy once more.

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2014 Sochi Olympics And New Jersey’s Super Bowl…Weather Or Not Right Sites

On Sunday, February 2nd, 2014…the Super Bowl is scheduled to be played in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

On Friday, February 7th, 2014…the Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin in Sochi, Russia.

Just a few days ago…the New York City/New Jersey area experienced a decent-sized winter storm, which if angled just a bit more south would have paralyzed the region as it did New England.

Just a few days ago…it was 58 degrees in downtown Sochi.  Competition which was slated to serve as a test run for one of the venues was canceled.  Too warm.

There’s really no point discussing why these events are scheduled to be held where they are unless you are still one of the non-believers that money rules everything.  It even compensates for second-guessing, which if you haven’t guessed by now is the point of this post.

Let’s start with those Winter Games.  Jim Caple recently wrote an article for ESPN.com giving detail as to just how non-Russia Sochi, Russia is…

“We’re exactly one year from the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics and I confidently make this prediction: Sochi will absolutely destroy the record for most palm trees in a Winter Olympics host city.  For that matter, it could make a run for most palm trees for any host city, winter or summer.”

It’s on the Black Sea, people.  It’s warmer than Vancouver.  Google “warm Vancouver Olympics” if you’d like a refresher on what happened four years ago due to the lack of Winter for a Winter Games.

Russians go there to sunbathe in the summer.  You know, like on the beach?  This article features comments from Environment Canada’s Senior Climatologist David Phillips…

“In Canada, if somebody said “Pick the least likely place for a Winter Games” I would have picked Vancouver and, in Russia, I would have picked Sochi.”

This is about President Vladimir Putin ponying up the dough to stage a two-week infomercial about the “softer side” of Mother Russia to try to restore some luster on the old gal…and of course gain tourist dollars in both the short and long-term.  Vlad’s return on investment projections are “fluid” right now because the current overall price tag for these Olympics is estimated to be $51 billion…more than four times Putin and Friends estimated when they were awarded these Games in 2007.  Please take note of the use of the word “current” to describe the cost to-date.  They are of course still building the infrastructure required.

Going back to that non-Russian like weather…the mountains hovering above the sea resort of Sochi apparently do feature an elaborate snow-making system – one of the biggest in all of Europe.  However, they apparently also SAVE snow.  They insulate and store it through the summer.  Just. In. Case.

From a sporting standpoint I envision situations where the greatest athletes in the world will wind up openly questioning the conditions they’ll be placed under…Olympic officials will be making life-and-death decisions on outdoor events as to whether or not participants can participate.  This comes up several times a year on World Cup circuits in locales WITH Winter…whether events should or should not be held.  There will surely be safety and competition controversies galore.

But the Sochi Games are not about what’s right for sport.  They’re about what’s right for Russia – promoting a state-of-the-art, year-round tourist attraction.

Which brings us to the National Football League, who in deciding North Jersey should host a Super Bowl also determined next year’s event would not be about what’s right for sport.  This Super Bowl is about what’s right for the NFL’s fat-cat sponsors and partners having a chance to party hearty at “The Big Game” in proximity to New York City.  Truth be told, I’m comfortable betting most of the pre-game festivities will be well within the confines of the Big Apple…opposed to the Big Landfill.

I suspect East Rutherford will get its sole moment of glory only within the confines of game day itself…starting with shot after shot of the convoy of buses trying to bring thousands of people from one state to the next.  That could get interesting if the state of the weather is anything next year…like we just had a few days before this year.

And whenever game day is…that is.

A report confirmed the NFL is planning for all contingencies they created with the decision to have the event outside in the dead of Winter – a place that gets REAL Winter – including the potential of having to postpone…or even move up…the Super Bowl…because of…well, Winter.

After the debacle with the lighting system at the Super Bowl just passed you’d expect the folks in the league office to be even more vigilant in dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s.  But wait a minute here…how can you schedule the Super Bowl for New Jersey and then not commit to play the game as scheduled no matter what?  It’s the Super Bowl.  It’s Super Sunday.  It ain’t Super Bowl Saturday, Wednesday, etc.

You would think in conception of the concept of holding the first Super Bowl in an open-air stadium in a cold-weather region…someone would first include the Governors of New York and New Jersey fully committing their respective Emergency Management teams to design play books on how to manage logistics in any possible weather situation.  And certainly after announcing the game is scheduled…not start talking about the weather being a factor in possibly altering plans.

Perhaps the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the 2014 Super Bowl should swap locations.

The New York City/New Jersey region would more assuredly provide the Olympic Committee the cold weather truly needed for the outdoor events…and the infrastructure is already in place for indoor competitions within the region.  It would be pretty cool to have a Winter Olympics in Winter for a change…in the shadow of the United Nations.  Perfect.

And, the NFL would regain the common sense a Super Bowl needs to be staged in a controlled, warm-weather environment.  Putin’s printing money anyway…build a football stadium while you’re at it, Vlad.  Those 1% folks that prop up the league would surely get a kick out of travelling to Russia, nyet?  Yes, there will be a few security steps to hurdle…and I may have failed to previously note just a shade over the Sochi mountain range reside some Islamic insurgents and breakaway Republic citizens that might want to join in the festivities of an Olympics…or a Super Bowl.  Commissioner Goodell wants to take the game international…what a great opportunity.

Maybe we should leave well enough alone.  I suspect these two major sporting events will eventually take place in the original locations they have been scheduled for.  That being said, there will be drama all along the way…weather organizers like it or not.

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Super Bowl XLVII – CBS Needed Sound Off…Power On

In a game where I preferred a tie so neither one of the teams would win, I knew going in Super Bowl XLVII was not going to fully energize me.

Little did I know the Mercedes-Benz Superdome wouldn’t be fully energized either.

I found it ironic after having to suffer for a couple of weeks through approximately 3,000 teaser commercials for a hot new car appearing in Mercedes-Benz’s fourth quarter commercial during the Super Bowl…the stadium bearing their name couldn’t keep its power on for the entire game.  If you can’t keep the lights on in a stadium being viewed by the entire planet what makes you think we’d trust you with headlights or turn signals?

As it turned out there’s a lot to dish about regarding The Big Game this year.  Ultimately, I was more entertained than I thought I would be. Then again, the entertainment only came about because the action on and off the field was train wreck television at its very best.  What I was seeing was so bizarre it was fascinating.

In order of recall:

I deftly avoided CBS until 4 PM Eastern…which of course was still going to entitle me to hear Ray Lewis and the coaching Harbaugh brother stories in detail…one more time.  The only saving grace in going through that process one final time was…it was the final time.  If anyone needs Exhibits A and I-A for why they should play the Super Bowl one week after the Conference Championships instead of two…it is the brutally oft-repeated sagas of Lewis’ retirement and the Harbaugh family competition.

Every time I see Joe Namath, I still cannot help but think about his drunken advance on ESPN’s Suzy Kolber.  I know it happened a long, long time ago.  Keep in mind I’ve seen every Super Bowl and truly appreciate what Joe did in Super Bowl III.  I saw most of his pro career and respect him as a player.  But when I saw him as the “lead voice” for the Super Bowl opening CBS put together to Queen’s “We Will Rock You” I couldn’t help but think about how he wanted to rock Suzy’s world several years back while smashed out of his skull.  I know.  It’s me.  But every time I see his face…

Is Alicia Keys STILL singing the National Anthem?

Why didn’t web site specialists GoDaddy let Danica Patrick switch places with the supermodel and kiss up that hapless computer dude for twenty seconds on their “Beauty And The Geek” commercial?  Now THAT would have made for a better web…sight.

What was the Ravens’ John Harbaugh thinking about in having his team fake a 32-yard field goal attempt on 4th and 9 after clearly establishing domination both on the field and the scoreboard in the first half?  Was he trying to let bro Jim’s Niners back in the game?  Pitty play?

The field officials let this Super Bowl get out of hand early on and established pushing, pulling, holding and harassing were all fair game.  This did not lead to…well…a fair game.

Beyoncé’s halftime show.  I swear I could still hear Alicia Keys singing the Anthem in the background.  As for the show itself, there seemed to be an awful lot of dancing and not so much vocalizing.  It looked like a soulful Rockettes or Chorus Line performance for the most part.  Lots of body parts flying about.  I think we should go back to a marching band and just let Super Bowl participants get back onto the field after a normal intermission, not one that lasts a half an hour.  We make the Super Bowl participants wait twice as long to play the Ultimate Game…and then wait twice the time to come back onto the field at halftime.

CBS spent a lot of time during the Super Bowl broadcast telling us they are the #1 this…have the #1 that.  Well, in the category of Best Network Coverage Of A Super Bowl During A Power Failure they rank about #500…or however many networks you may have on your particular service provider.  Just put ‘em dead last based on their dead air.  And I don’t want to hear the excuse, “well, this has never happened before.”  Broadcasters of the biggest event on the globe have to be able to fill time in the event of a long delay intelligently.  Even though many of CBS’ analysts were speaking…nothing of value was coming out of their mouths either regarding the game or the situation unfolding.  While the Superdome was half-dark I was reading on the New Orleans’ newspaper website an elevator in the Superdome might have gotten stuck…there was a report of a possible whiff of gas…and the fire department had been called.  No one at CBS reported a word about any of this.  In fact, at one point it sounded as if the NFL didn’t want to comment …or have CBS comment…on what caused the outage.  Was the league trying to advance some potential terrorist threat to keep fans around while the Ravens seemed to be on their way to a rousing victory?

During the power failure, one thing CBS should have done was pull back on coverage of John Harbaugh’s irreverent ripping of a league suit with a walkie-talkie.  I don’t read lips for a living…but I did stay at a Holiday Inn once.  It was not pretty.  It looked like John was trying to condense and vent all the frustration he’s had with the NFL during his entire coaching career within a one-minute time frame.

I for one don’t think the long stoppage in play stopped Baltimore cold…or invigorated San Francisco.  I don’t know how you could qualify or decide that to be true anyway.  Everyone looked ready to play when play resumed.  The 49ers just decided to start fighting back.  Finally.

The Budweiser Clydesdale commercial where the pony grows up…but never forgets who got him to the pinnacle of ponyism…made me tear up.  I’m a sucker for that sort of thing.

All the NFL commercials about youth football…including showing footage of a young girl playing the game…and then sitting with Commissioner Roger Goodell…please.  We know the sport is under attack from all sides regarding whether children should be playing it.  It was insulting to try to sway us with repetitive assurances football is woven into the fabric of the youth of America.  We know that already.  If anything, the spots made people recall the debate currently raging on.

49ers fans are still exhibiting frustration about a pass interference non-call against receiver Michael Crabtree toward game’s end as they were driving for a winning score.  I am wondering if their fans are equally vocalizing their displeasure with the fact the 49ers played the entire first half as if they thought the Super Bowl was a pre-season exhibition.

Veteran CBS play-by-play man Jim Nantz spent most of the game trying to lead lead analyst Phil Simms into committing to some sort of cutting commentary or analysis.  But Simms would have none of it.  On the Crabtree interference non-call late in the game, Phil concluded what may have been his worst broadcast ever by saying the non-call was good because “it was late in the game”…following up after a few more replays that the more he saw “the more confused I get.”  Simms spent most of the day confused.  One thing he did get right was noting whenever any 49er ran past Ray Lewis, who played most of the game as a human turnstile of sorts.  At least Ray knows he’s done…like burnt toast is done.

Very classy for Super Bowl MVP, Baltimore QB Joe Flacco, dropping a curse word across the planet as the confetti floated down.  I swear I heard the CBS sensors bleep out something sworn during coverage of a Matchbox Twenty song in the pre-game…but they somehow couldn’t manage to keep Flacco from f-bombing on the field at game’s end.  Hey Joe, no problem with the enthusiasm.  CBS just didn’t rise to the occasion while you were getting a rise after playing such a great game.

Very classy for Super Bowl losing coach Jim Harbaugh emphasizing that non-call on Crabtree was blown by the officials…as well as a mistake he felt the zebras made on an earlier play in their final drive…another non-call.  He wouldn’t talk to CBS after the loss.  I guess it’s good Jim got to calm down before he addressed the world media.  In retrospect, it would have been interesting to instead see San Francisco win and Jim Harbaugh race across the field, pump his brother’s hand and slap him on the back…then sprint for the locker room like he did against the Detroit Lions’ Jim Schwartz awhile back.  Wonder if John would have chased after his brother like Schwartz did…looking for a further confrontation?

And I admit that, for me…that would have been the perfect end to Super Bowl XLVII…Harbaugh brothers throwing punches at midfield…while Ray Lewis just…walked…away.

Looking forward to next season already.

I’ll leave the lights on.

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Plan To Save Football: Remove Helmets…Grow Antlers

If you have been a follower of this site you know I could care less what any pro athlete is “using” to entertain us.  It is their decision, their business, their bodies, their lives.

They are entertainers and being paid good money to do just that.  How they decide to train and what they use to achieve maximum performance is up to them.  My bullet-point view is an aspirin enhances results…you can’t test for every conceivable substance and masking agent…and the consistency rate of medical test results is questionable.

There will always be professional athletes using all sorts of things to try to gain an edge…even if the end result would be to grow antlers.

Which of course would solve the dilemma I initially decided to write about today…helmet-to-helmet contact in the sport of football.  It appears now if deer-antler spray is being consumed to help one recover and perform at the highest level maybe we can take helmets off football players and let them produce and sport antlers.  That’s gotta cut down on the head trauma problem.  Have you SEEN how big deer antlers get?

Originally, this space today was designed solely to express an opinion regarding the still-healthy future of football, regardless of how unhealthy a sport many are making it out to be.  President Obama then decided to weigh in on his thoughts regarding a non-existent son (no, this is not going to veer into Manti T’eo territory) and here we are.  You surely have heard by now he said he’d think twice before letting a son play football:

“I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence.  In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won’t have to examine our consciences quite as much.”- The New Republic

The President gave NFL players a pass because they are, well…professionals.  He steered his concern in the direction of college players who are not being compensated (we’d like to think that at least…) and have no union or safety net to fall back on should severe injuries occur.  But in the end, the POTUS asked an open-ended question days before the Super Bowl…questioning the game of football itself.

If in fact some U.S. parents decide their children cannot play football, there will always be others to replace the void.  The promise of a way out of a bad home, a bad environment…a bad situation is too tempting for many parents and youth to resist.  The sport becomes more global daily as well.  Even if a majority of kids stop playing football in the States, there will be plenty of parents and their children across the planet who will look at participation in American football as a perfectly acceptable long-term risk towards a potentially perfect short-term reward.  A free education…and a chance to make more money than they could ever dream of if good enough.  The feeder system to the mega-dollar business of the NFL will remain firmly intact courtesy of their minor league…college football.

And as for the here and now…if helmet-to-helmet impact is now so terribly egregious in the NFL why aren’t offenders ejected on the spot instead of being “spotlighted” Tuesday morning when Commissioner Roger Goodell sits down to watch footage his minions have spliced together from the prior weekend?  If Goodell really, really wanted to stop the punishing result of helmet-to-helmet contact he would dish out real punishment.  Knowing what we do now about even the slightest jostling of the human brain and considering the legal issues the NFL faces from former performers…it is pathetically silly for Goodell to continue to equate the violation of using one’s helmet to first hit an opponent by simply placing the ball another fifteen yards down the field…while one or both players involved are helped off the gridiron to possibly never play again that game, that season…ever.

Go ahead and use a booth review to confirm the player involved should be removed from the game…and NOW you’re on your way towards eliminating the problem.  And also…looking like you are really serious about it.

The New England Patriots’ Stevan Ridley looked like road kill lying on the turf with his arms curled skyward after a helmet-to-helmet running play in the AFC Championship.  Not once did anyone mention a penalty should have been called on the Baltimore Ravens’ Bernard Pollard…or Ridley for that matter.  Because it was a running play.  Officials, players and announcers alike were more concerned the ruling of a fumble would be upheld.

How much sense does that make?

Pollard doesn’t even think football will be in existence thirty years from now…and he’s a poster child for why some think that way.

When Goodell started his Tuesday Morning video reviews and subsequent fines I railed against the fact he was doing it after the fact.  Not only after the games had been played and the offenders were deemed worthy to play those entire games…but also after the wheels long ago went into motion his league is likely going to have to pay out for injuries in their workplace – the severity of which they appear to have had official full knowledge of without officially sharing said information.  The legal action regarding the way the NFL operated towards former players should never have been “mixed up” with current retooling of the game to make it as safe to play as possible.  The sudden onslaught of fines and penalties in a desperate attempt to “catch up” as quickly as possible to the issue of player safety in the league as a result of being sued by so many former players simply created mass confusion among current players, coaches and officials alike as to what was a legal play and what was not.  It served only to make everyone look worse in the process as the games, hits…and continued participation continued on.

Don’t get me wrong.  I feel anyone who has ever played the game of football should have known from Day One of Year One they wouldn’t come out the other end the same.  In the instance of head trauma and long-term damage however…if the NFL did do detective work and then assured players it was OK to continue plying their trade without mentioning an asterisk besides their continued participation, that’s a huge problem from an employer/employee workplace standpoint…even if players did know they’d never lead a normal life in later life.

Football isn’t going anywhere.  Even if some parents decide to take their children out of the feeder system to high school, college and the pro ranks…others will continue to see the “end of the rainbow.”  It is, like other sports, a “way out” of a rough life or a difficult environment.  It is, like other sports, a way to get an education towards a career other than football.  There will always be kids playing football…somewhere.  There will always be bodies to fill the uniforms.

And I don’t want football to go away.  And I don’t want it to become something too far removed from what we’ve always known it to be.  However, I will admit during all this talk about concussions, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, brain damage, suicides, etc. I flash back to the days not when I played organized tackle football with a helmet…but after-school, pick-up tackle football without one.  All of us who engaged in such gridiron competition managed to survive without using our heads as battering rams.  Even in college, frat football was full-on tackle…without helmets.  Everyone survived intact.

I don’t advocate we take helmets off players.  But what I will advocate is teaching players how to stop the ball…as well as advance it…with the head not being involved.  It admittedly will force current players who have nothing in their head but using their heads to be retrained.  That won’t be easy…but it surely will be a lot easier if immediate expulsion from a game is the end result.  But if we start with the youth who play the game and don’t allow any other way…in time that muscle…and brain…memory will take effect and soon we will be “graduating” generation after generation of players who can play the game of football pretty much as we’ve always known…with heads held high.

Antlers are optional.

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