With talk right now of banning the hip drop tackle, and for all the times the NFL has addressed injury risk and done pretty well in reducing it with new rules, the larger elephant remains: what about all of the head trauma the game inflicts on players?
Tony Dorsett is open about having CTE, and of course we've seen concussion protocols during games hundreds of times. Herschel Walker - if you saw any of his Senate run last year... - cannot even speak in coherent sentences anymore. According to Wikipedia, some dozens of players have probable symptoms.
It's a collision sport. The hard helmet came about exactly because of it, with some arguing it made things worse as in, it gets used as a weapon. (One of the things new rules came in about, of course).
So is an avalanche ahead of CTE lawsuits from former players? A class action has happened already, but that does not address the ongoing matter and new injuries. The NFLPA has a position on it, but it may also be in a conflicted position. If the issue spirals out of control with successful lawsuits, bad press and parents refusing to let their kid play the sport, the cash cow eventually goes away for both players and owners.
It's serious, it's interesting for the future state of the sport, and you can also backspin the matter:
Would the league, in a mitigation effort which it has gone down the road of so many times in the past, start limiting total plays per player? It's about 60 in a game, more or less. Would it say you can't play more than 30 plays?
It would be revolutionary for the sport and maybe kill it, or maybe save it. Think of the roster spots it would open up for players now hanging on the periphery of the league. Strategy would mutate and get a lot more complicated.
Do you start Mahomes and use him for 30 plays to get a lead, or do you save him for the 2nd half...
And you think head coaches are crucified now... ;^)
A radically different NFL to be sure. But it's better than flag football...
Russ_Te is the Cowboys screen name for Roy Greenfield / site author of the mid-2000's board "Cowboy Saloon"
- where the bar fights were legendary...