“Its just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.” – Muhammad Ali
Good day reader. Today I have to get something off my chest about the sport I love, football. Now don’t get me wrong here I am all for player safety. I don’t like the idea of seeing a retarded Jeff Saturday in twenty years, I don’t like the idea of a crippled Hershel Waker, the suicide of Junior Seau has been linked to head trauma. All of these things are realities and painful ones at that. But, football is a dangerous game and that is something these men live with. To eliminate kickoffs is as idiotic a concept as I have heard in a long time, and I listen to Colin Cowherd every damn day. In the words of Monday Night Countdown crew, “Come on man.”
I just have this image in my head of Superbowl Sunday, I am sitting at the bar, Al Micheals or Chris Collinsworth are jabbering on about the fantastic year some quarterback had, how the stout defense is geared to stop them. There are fireworks, the national anthem, get in your plugs from major sponsors. The vibe in the bar is tense as I chug beer, I eat wings, and people curse at each other. And then they don’t line up, there is no wide shot of the opposing teams with the Super Bowl logo in centerfield, no moment of anticipation where the ball hangs up in the air, no Hester, no Dieon, no Music City Miracle. Instead they just start at the twenty. Bullshit, epic fail, Roger Goodell you fucking prick.
Lets back track a moment here. Lets consider other jobs that are relatively as dangerous as football in the sense that every time you suit up you are asking to get hurt and could possibly receive a life altering injury. Lets take three examples shall we. Alaskan Crab fisherman, firefighters, hockey players. We can all agree from exposure to these three professions that these three jobs are at the very least as dangerous as football, if not more so. I mean football players are never going to drown in the freezing ocean, burn to death, or get their throat slit by an ice skate (this has happened). All of these professions are, on average, paid less, noticed less, yet are more vital to society. Although crabs we could definitively live without, I am pretty sure Canada would collapse as a nation without hockey and fire fighters are without question as close to hero’s a civilian can get. So this begs the question, “Why are football players being protected so much now, as apposed to say ten years ago, when other dangerous professions haven’t changed at all?” Well I will tell you why.
“Money may not buy happiness, but I rather cry in a Jaguar than in a bus.” -Francosie Sagan
Money baby, cash dollar bills in my pocket, Jerry Jones, Roger Goodell, Coca-Cola, and Nike kinda dollas, I got it and don’t want to lose it. SHOW ME THE MONEY.
Fact: Offensive Linemen are the most likely of all football players to receive severe brain injury from prolonged playing careers. So where are the rules to protect your Nick Mangolds or Matt Kallis. I bet your average NFL super fan couldn’t name three starters on their o-line. Why is this? Because they don’t score touchdowns, they don’t sell jerseys, they don’t have Papa Johns commercials. Tom Brady goes down for the season he gets a new rule, TO breaks his leg on a horse collar tackle, new rule for that too. They are the money makers so they are protected, not because the league gives a shit about them, but because they need ratings, they need ticket sales, wins, titles, money. Point blank, period.
This leads me to my next point which is why this is a problem. I understand football is a business, a big multinational billion dollar business. So having owners, CEO’s, and Commissioners that pay close attention to the bottom line makes sense. The problem is when you sacrifice product quality to ensure high returns you begin to head down a slippery slope. Enter The New York Yankees, I know this isn’t a football team but the comparison is valid. Two years ago they built a new stadium and bought themselves a title. Fine that is what the Yankees do, whatever they have more championships then anyone ever so they get to do what they want. But, how the mighty have fallen. The Yankee management has sacrificed winning culture for winning names. A-Rod, Jeter, Rivera are old players. Five or six years ago these guys get you a World Series title no problem, but now all they get you are a higher insurance premium. The point I am trying to make about the Yankees, and really a lot of baseball teams, is that they don’t care as much about winning or about the game as they do about the dollar signs. This can happen in football, maybe it already is happening. Do we really want a Miami Marlins of the NFL. Please God no, watching Jacksonville is bad enough. By the way come on Florida.
What I am trying to say is don’t bullshit me. Because no I do not think losing kickoffs will ruin football, and yes I am sure it will decrease the amount of injuries that occur through the season. But the people who are making this choice don’t give a shit about that. All they care about is protecting their investment. This game is predicated on big, mean, strong, fast, angry men running into each other with the intent to inflict pain on one another. You cannot change that. You want to protect peoples’ heads, sure I am fine with that but don’t take away parts of the game that make football awesome. So this is my warning NFL don’t mess with a good thing.