Is Football Getting Too Hard to Digest

by John Furgele (The Concerned 228)

The Super Bowl is the biggest sport event of the year, but is there an expiration date?  This year, there were 281 concussions in the NFL, yet the games go on, with packed stands, crazed fans and despite a recent downturn, high television ratings.

When the game ends, those at the various networks will break it down.  On Monday, all the big radio hosts—Jim Rome, Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick, et al—will offer their insights and analysis as to why the Pats or Eagles won or lost.

Many of us love football.  Unlike the other sports, football is special.  There are fewer games for one, so each game means more than an NBA game, which is 1 of 82.  There is a ritual for each as well.  Most of the games are played on Sundays, a day where the majority of America is not working.  Even the most ardent Boston Celtic or New York Yankee fan has to struggle to watch games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  They have stuff to do.

When I was younger, I would often close my eyes and imagine being a professional athlete.  When I swing (and yes, I still do) my Wiffle Ball bat in the living room, I pretend I’m connecting and driving a ball over the wall or into the gap.  When I run my three miles and kick hard in the last 300 meters, I am visualizing that gold medal that waits at the end.

Football is the one sport that I don’t ever pretend or visualize myself doing.  Why?  Because the sport is too violent and the hits are just too hard.  Going deep to beat the Yankees with my Wiffle Ball bat—yes—but catching a pass over the middle?  No.

When you think about football, it scares most of us.  On every play, there is hitting.  When you see a running back run up the middle, he gets hit by 6, 7, 8 or even 9 guys each time.  The rules protect the quarterback as much as they can; yet, he still gets pummeled, crushed and concussed during games.

Is anybody feeling guilt about watching football games at all?  A lot?  A little?  A smidge?  Or, do we overlook it because it is so entertaining and exciting even when it’s not?

When Junior Seau killed himself and the autopsy showed stages of CTE, did we question our love of the sport?  Or, do we see an 82 year-old Jerry Kramer speak with clarity and say, “see, he played football for 11 years and he’s fine?”

Where do you stand?  Do you love football as much as you used to, or are you concerned about the game?  It’s like smoking; people know it’s bad for you, but many still do it.  The same for drinking and the same for eating steak every day.  Is football like smoking for some, so bad that you are quitting it, or are you the person that despite its warnings will still indulge?

There are a lot of positive aspects to football.  It really is the ultimate team game; it takes 53 players to win a Super Bowl, but many who watch, would not let their sons play this game.  That is the conundrum of conundrums—you love the games, but you don’t want your kid to play this game.

We saw Rob Gronkowski get his bell rung in the AFC Championship Game.  If we see something similar in the Super Bowl, will that appall some so much that they will quit watching?  Will the ratings keep going down?

On a day where there is a lot of food, here is some food for thought.



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