I agree completely, and have actually suggested something similar (about the future of the sport being more like flag football than tackle football). And frankly I think that eventual sport will be less popular because there is something in men that wants to watch (or participate in) some degree of violence. I think that's just within us, how we evolved.
My feelings are mixed about it, because while it drives me crazy watching what seem to me, conditioned as I was, to be pampered players getting the benefits of the refs for every so-called "targeting" or late hit, I can't intellectually defend the sport's risks. And while on one hand the rules are protecting the players more, the fact is they are also getting bigger, faster, and stronger, and so more capable of inflicting serious injuries on one another.
Then again, while boxing has all but disappeared as a prominent sport, the past couple decades have seen the rise of a new, brutal sport: MMA. And that makes me wonder whether we're just playing musical chairs with the whole thing. The heat gets to be too much over here, so we bring our propensity for violent sports over there.
Unfortunately, the danger level of football is at an all time high because athletes are bigger, faster, stronger than ever (not necessarily better players), which makes the violent hits that much more lethal. I don't think football will ever completely go away, but it will have to evolve.
Wow, I just heard about Andrew Luck's retirement. Hard to argue with this: "This is not an easy decision," the Indianapolis Colts player told reporters. "For the last four years or so I've been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab, injury, pain, rehab. And it's been unceasing and unrelenting ... and the only way I see out is to no longer play football."
I think once the love of the game fades, players are left wondering why they put themselves through it just for the sake of others' entertainment.
At least for some guys, like the Andrew Lucks of the world, there is a lifetime (and more) of wealth as a result. Who I feel worse for are the fringe guys who make a go at it for a few years after college: various semi-pro leagues between NFL tryouts, all while making less than they'd make in middle class careers, with at least the same and probably worse beatings on their bodies as stars as they have to practice and play through injuries (to get noticed, to show they are serious, etc), who are on special teams all the time, etc. Their bodies are demolished by the time they often have retirement chosen for them (by just not catching on) in their mid to late 20s, and they have nothing to show for it except stories about the glory days...
Post by Sheriff John Stone on Aug 25, 2019 16:03:41 GMT
I played QB on my high school football team. In my senior year, in the second game of the season, we lost to a team we never should've lost to. And, we paid for it at the next practice on Monday. Before that practice, the coach announced that the practice was going to be very physical, and everybody - including the QB's - would be participating in blocking and tackling drills. When it was my turn to hit the one-man blocking/tackling sled, I thought "I'll show 'em." Well, I didn't quite hit that sled as flush and as squarely as I had hoped, and my arm separated from the shoulder and ended up in my back. After literally pulling my arm back into the socket, I was told to go home and put ice on it. Fortunately it was my non-throwing left arm, and despite not being able to button my shirt or tie my shoes, I played the following week. The trainer (actually the freshmen coach who was earning an extra $100 as the "trainer") taped a pad on my left shoulder and I was pronounced ready to go. I played the next eight games with that injured shoulder. I didn't want to miss my senior year of football.
For the next 25 years, my shoulder periodically "popped out" of the joint. Just turning on a lamp switch, grabbing a rebound in a pickup basketball game, swinging a golf club, or pulling my hand away quickly from a snapping dog caused my arm to pop out of the joint. Finally, one night after simply rolling over in bed awkwardly (cough) and it popping out again and experiencing excruciating pain, I decided to see a orthopedic surgeon. After an MRI it was determined that I had a torn labrum and needed surgery. So, after living with this for a quarter of a century, I decided to have the operation. After the surgery, the doctor greeted me with "What in the hell did you do to that shoulder? It looked like spaghetti in there! Much worse than the MRI showed." So, I now have a ten inch zipper and a pin inserted in my shoulder so it stays in the socket. For several years I couldn't sleep on that side/shoulder. It kept me awake. For fear of injuring it again, I gave up golf and basketball. There is a chance (so far I dodged a bullet) of getting arthritis in the joint as I get older.
Now, compared to the injuries that we see and read about with college and professional football players, my story is a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10. After all of the sports I played from age 8-18, I am very thankful that I escaped as healthy as I did. So, why do I bring it up? For many, many years I never questioned playing football, despite my shoulder injury. But with each passing year, I now do start to question it. I absolutely am grateful for all the fun, camaraderie, and character-building that I took from the sport. It helped to shape who am, the person I am. But that damn shoulder pain? The popping out of the joint? The sleeping problems. Now I get migraines and wonder if they are related to football. Was it worth it? As you get older like me, some of the memories do fade, and all of those positives I mentioned that I took from the sport fade, too. Today, other things seem more important. Your values change. You become more educated and aware of things. You start to question...things.
I feel that I can understand Andrew Luck and other athletes who live with pain, and the effect it has on their quality of life. Look at how my little injury affected me? But a lacerated kidney, concussions, a torn ACL, and a torn labrum in the throwing shoulder? No, to Andrew Luck it wasn't worth it anymore, despite the money and fame. And, money will continue to be the deciding factor for 99.9% of the pro athletes. It always will. But, as more and more of these case studies continue to surface, more and more athletes at a young age are going to be scared, have their own questions, and have life-altering decisions to make.
Damn, I'm sorry to hear that Sheriff! My knees were a problem for me throughout my 20s due to the amount of sports I played from 8-18.
Thanks, B.E. I didn't make that post to garner sympathy or anything, just to express that as I get older, I can better appreciate what athletes go through and have to eventually live with. And as I mentioned, you start to question if playing a certain sport was/is really worth it. It's a fascinating subject, actually. I honestly don't know what I'd do if I had to do it again. Oh, and I hope your knees have healed and don't cause any future problems.
Wow, SJS, you take the cake. Like B.E., I've had minor issues--recurring plantar fasciitis, bad knees--and my older brother tore ligaments in his hand making a tackle in some sections final game or something and to this day can't make a fist. But definitely not at the level you experienced.
The memories of those coaching and "training" methods are notable, too. Things had already changed by the late 80s and early 90s when I started playing school sports. The aforementioned older brother had coaches who, during the 100 degree heat of four-hour summer preseason camp or two-a-days, refused to let players drink water. One used to have players lie on their backs in a row and walk across their stomachs ... in spikes. He would force players to run until they vomited. (I don't mean until someone vomited, even. Each person ran until he vomited.) Hazing wasn't just allowed, but was basically sanctioned.
I missed out on all that. But we did have a coach who was loathe to allow water. The assistants would be the ones to let us "show our weakness." (It was only a few years later that Vikings great Korey Stringer died because of practicing in the heat and that refusal to allow water finally changed entirely.) And when I first developed plantar fasciitis and had comically swollen feet and ankles and literally could not walk without terrible pain, our assistant coach/"trainer" suggested we tape them up, there was nothing to be done. That did a lot of good... Against his specific wishes, we checked with a doctor and found out customized sole inserts could help tremendously (though they were awfully expensive for my family at the time and not covered by insurance), and used an insane over-the-counter painkiller and anti-inflammatory regimen to help in the short term. Good thing they weren't doling out prescription painkillers in small-town Minnesota in those days, though when I saw a podiatrist in the 00s for the same issue, he suggested that rather than new inserts, I go in for regular cortizone shots, which absurdly WERE covered by insurance, to help me with rec league basketball.
Sports are great for a lot of things. But they also cause a lot of damage in us, no doubt about that.
Post by Sheriff John Stone on Aug 25, 2019 19:28:31 GMT
Kapitan, you mentioned Korey Stringer. Sadly, it takes tragedies like his to bring about change. Because of his death (and other studies done), the rules of practicing for pro football players have basically been re-written. Also, sadly, the list of ex-players who are reporting early dementia continues to grow. Every few weeks you read an article about some ex-player who is experiencing headaches, short-term memory loss, and dementia. And the ages of those players seems to be getting younger and younger. Literally every day the NFL is being sued by some ex-player. There's so much we don't know.
Now, this year two of arguably the best players in the NFL, Rob Gronkowski and Andrew Luck, have retired because of the physical toll on their bodies - and both at the relatively young age of 29. I'm not predicting some new outbreak of players retiring pre-30 years of age, but I'm interested to see if there is a trend of players retiring at a younger age.
The concussion issue isn't going away. If nothing it will continue to escalate. The human head/brain just was not meant to be...hit. Duh! So, changes are well underway - concussion protocol including players being monitored by the NFL during the games, advancement in the technology of the helmets, and the biggest change which is the rule changes of the game itself. The CTE discoveries will increase. Many more ex-players are donating their brains to science. But if that isn't scary enough, like I mentioned above, it won't be long before you see an interview with one of your favorite ex-players, a prominent player, maybe he's only in his 40's, who has been diagnosed with dementia. The NFL is really going to be under a microscope. Actually, it already is.
I think another thing to monitor (beyond the "will or how will the game change?" questions we mentioned above) is going to be youth participation. Obviously we hear from current or former players, or other celebrities sometimes, about whether they'd let their kids play. But what about just Average Joe and Jane Doe? How many of those people's kids are going to be pushed into, left alone, or kept out of football?
At some point, the game will see a decline even without substantial rule changes if the most talented athletes focus on other sports.
Post by Sheriff John Stone on Aug 25, 2019 19:50:15 GMT
I think youth football is being affected big time. I think it's a combination of safety issues and, as you mentioned, the availability of other sports, safer sports. But like I alluded to in my first post, the lack of numbers will eventually show/take its toll, however it will probably occur over a long(er), slow, but steady period of time.
jk: If no one jumps in soon, I'll go for 1997, which is 13 years back from 2010. Fact is, we haven't had a '90s year yet.
Sept 22, 2021 13:46:32 GMT
Kapitan: No, but we do have a whole '90s thread that covered a lot of that territory. (In fact, that's what inspired the idea, to some extent)
Sept 22, 2021 13:52:28 GMT
Kapitan: Not that I'm opposed to a '90s year, mind you
Sept 22, 2021 13:52:58 GMT
jk: I see where you're coming from, Cap'n. I even did a double-take when looking through 1997 albums and songs (these look familiar!). My next suggestion is that we go back 13 years from 1972 to 1959.
Sept 22, 2021 17:04:34 GMT
jk: OK, it's one of the "doldrum years" but it was crammed full of goodies that even register with folks who weren't born for another 20 years. Of course, if anyone has a better idea, I'm all for it.
Sept 22, 2021 17:05:59 GMT
Kapitan: That would make sense; we also haven't really touched the early to mid 80s, which I'm sure people (mostly) recall. And of course EVERY year in the '60s seems loaded...
Sept 22, 2021 17:06:53 GMT
jk: Yes, the early-ish '80s also came to mind. But let's see who else joins in...
Sept 22, 2021 17:08:04 GMT
Kapitan: So far we've had me, jk, kds, and carllove choosing years. Would love to expand that circle.
Sept 22, 2021 17:13:20 GMT
Kapitan: Which, I guess with four of us so far, is more a square.
Sept 22, 2021 17:13:38 GMT
jk: Ha, yes. Sheriff? B.E.? sockit? The Kid?... We'll see.
Sept 22, 2021 17:16:41 GMT
The Cincinnati Kid: I might come up with something. I love those kind of threads, but am terrible in participating. I still haven't posted anything for 2010.
Sept 22, 2021 19:26:41 GMT
lonelysummer: 1959 is a doldrums year? Hmm....
Sept 22, 2021 19:44:28 GMT
jk: That's what they say... you know, that period from *cough* "the day the music died" to the arrival of the British Invasion. Like you, I couldn't agree less with that notion, hence the inverted commas!
Sept 22, 2021 19:52:30 GMT
Kapitan: I assume he means the stereotype that between early rock and roll and the British Invasion, nothing happened. But that it was in quotes (plus his actual comments) make me think it was an ironic usage.
Sept 22, 2021 19:52:54 GMT
Kapitan: Whoops, near-simultaneous post. But it confirms my suspicion.
Sept 22, 2021 19:53:21 GMT
jk: Great minds and all that!
Sept 22, 2021 19:53:34 GMT
sockit: I would like to showcase the year 1983. That's the year I graduated high school and I was all in on what was current.
Sept 23, 2021 0:07:54 GMT
carllove: I was in College then. Sounds like a good year! Go for it! It’s a group effort!
Sept 23, 2021 4:31:48 GMT
carllove: BTW - I’d be down for 90’s years. I like the years being broken out. Meanwhile we can move to 1983 with sockit’s help. 1972 has ended its interest.
Sept 23, 2021 4:34:56 GMT
jk: Agreed on all counts, cl.
Sept 23, 2021 8:58:00 GMT