The National Football League (NFL) is far and away the most successful sports association in America. It’s overflowing with money, the owners and players seem to have a reasonably solid power-sharing plan, and the league is marketed around its product, not superstars who come and go. But the NFL has one pesky problem that it just can’t seem to shake – legends keep saying that football is hazardous to your health.
During a recent appearance on the Jay Leno Show, Pittsburgh Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw offered these thoughts on whether he would want his kids to follow in his footsteps:
"If I had a son today, I would not let him play football,” Bradshaw told Leno (via Larry Brown Sports). “There will be a time in the next decade where we will not see football as it is.”
And that’s football’s dirty little secret – it’s hockey without the ice. It’s team boxing. If it remains unchanged (which it mostly will), it'll inevitably lead to players suffering from more physical health problems, more mental issues and sadly, more suicides.
Much in the same way that boxing had its day in the sun as America’s most prominent sport before dying out, now it’s football’s time to shine. Sure, nobody cares about the long-term ramifications of all these hits at the moment because of how popular the NFL is, but at some point they will.
The problem here is that there is no fix for what ails football. Roger Goodell is doing his damndest to make the sport safer (despite his players’ ridiculous kicking and screaming reaction), but you can’t make a sport that revolves around tackling safer. It just doesn’t work. The thing that makes football dangerous is too deeply embedded into its DNA, too much of what also makes it great.
Kurt Warner previously came out and said that he wouldn’t want his kids playing football. Tom Brady’s dad expressed similar sentiments. Both reactions were met with relatively little fanfare, much as this one will be.
But there is a reason these guys are saying what they’re saying. Sooner or later, folks will wake up and realize that.
(Kudos Larry Brown Sports)