Sunday, December 21, 2014
Another season of football is winding down with the Super Bowl just around the corner. What were your impressions this time round?
In this corner of the couch my thoughts were fourfold: Injuries, Disrespect, Idiocy and Hope.
.Injuries. There for a while I thought I was the only one thinking that gridiron warriors were being wounded at an exceptional rate. As the season went by however it became crystal clear that violent clashes between hardened men was taking a more frequent and terrible toll on the lives of players at every level, particularly professional football. Watching a player ”slow to get up”, or seeming to be “shaken up” started to sound like commentators were engaged in some sort of plot to keep real danger away from the public mind. I keep thinking not only of injury to players in the here-and-now but also the disabilities that will plague their tomorrows. Constant pounding of bodies, even the helmet smacking and chest bumping of teammates after stellar plays starts to make you wince.
.Disrespect. Attitude toward opposing players was never a love-fest - nor should it be - but the level of trash-talk and even threats to officials has descended to an all-time low. I also wonder if constantly living violent lives on the field isn't linked somehow to the rash of domestic violence and spousal abuse that dominates the conduct of so many after the game is over.
.Idiocy. “Celebrating” touchdowns by gyrating in the end zone has certainly gotten out of hand. Officials have cut players far too much slack. We deserve a new look at how long a time period such nonsense should be permitted, or if they should be permitted at all. And far worse is the invitation such idiotic behavior extends to those of racial bias when displays of chest-thumping and other mannerisms of the jungle are considered part of the game.
.Hope. By now just about everyone knows of the seriousness of concussions. Some recognition and some steps – one forward, two backward – have been made by officialdom. But positive action must be accelerated all across the board. For starters by having truly competent medical personnel treat downed players from the very moment the injury whistle is blown. Parents are already having their youngsters opt out of football for less dangerous sports. Let's hope that next season and the years that follow will see a lot of improvement in these four areas.