Sunday, February 03, 2013

Follow Up: Taking Care of Our Heroes

A couple of years ago, dumbass Dunta Robinson lowered his head and changed the game of football. Watching his hit on DeSean Jackson was nauseating, but what really made me lose my appetite was the voice over "I don't know how you take this out of the game of football." And thus the tone was set. The rest of the season was a parade of whiny soundbites like "if you take those hits out of the game, you have to rename it 'coz it's not football anymore."

At the time, I blogged:
We can't stop talking about players who achieve super-human heroic feats, or coaches who execute strategies to snatch victory from the clutches of defeat...Football is nothing without it's heroes. We have to let them show off ... but not at the expense of knocking other heroes out of the game...menacing hits call attention to the embarrassing base nature of the hitters. These are not heroes. Their lack of humanity exposes that
Dunta got penalized 15 yards and $50k. In response, he did it again. And again. And again. Fast forward 2 years. Alex Smith will not be leading his team to a Superbowl victory after yet another helmet-on-helmet hit, this one by Jo-Lonn "Dumbass" Dunbar. One could lament that nothing has changed.

Things are about to. The conversation has changed. Football as an industry has come to realize they are in the midst of an existential crisis. Two thousand former NFL players have sued the league over head injuries. An NFL survey of players found that only 3% trust the medical staff. Goddell is clamoring to get on the right side of history. So should Dunta. After all, the players are both the creators and victims of this MMA-style turn the game has taken over the past few years. Football was football before helmets gave players the (false?) sense of security to launch themselves headfirst into human brick walls. It will be football after MMA stuff is gone. It might even be better.

Football is not getting ruined any more than a rebellious teen gets ruined by turning into a responsible adult.

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