There's an article on FOX today discussing the risks of an NFL career, and I thought it was worth a post...
As you might know, UDFA linebacker Andrew Sweat today said, "Thanks, but no thanks" to an opportunity to make the Cleveland Browns. The OSU grad opted to head to law school rather than assume the risks that come with playing in the NFL - especially as a fringe player who will see a lot of times on special teams. The article uses Sweat's choice as a jumping off point to say that football is heading the way of the dodo.
A few paragrahps in, the author suggests that football will soon be "a sport played almost exclusively by America’s option-less underclass." Excuse me, Mr. Article Writer, but did you know that NFL players are generally the best of the best, and make millions of dollars for their trouble? How on Earth is that the sport of the option-less underclass? Football is further likened to boxing, which the author describes as having lost its integrity when injuries began to take their toll on Muhammad Ali. While boxing may not be the juggernaut it was 40 years ago, I suspect Manny Pacquiao and many others would dispute the claim that it is dead or that it has no integrity. Also, UFC and other mixed-martial arts formats have become rather vogue in recent years, suggesting that it was not the nature of the sports which drove fans away.
So, you may ask, what does the author of the article believe is the way to "Save The Sport" ?
- Eliminate kickoffs entirely.
- Reduce the NFL regular season to 14 games and preseason to 2. College football should be reduced to 10 or fewer regular season games.
- Allow just one full-contact practice per week during the NFL season. College should have no such practices during the off-season.
- Eliminate voluntary offseason OTAs at both levels.
The author also compares the NFL to being in prison (he says, "Junior Seau was paroled in 2009."), and grumbles about players who manage their money poorly and are behind their non-football playing peers when they leave the league. When last I looked, though, no NFL player was forced to be there. Maybe mandatory financial management training for players would be a better choice than eviscerating the sport as we know it!
So, to summarize:
Reduce the number of games and practices, eliminate OTAs, and hold irresponsible players' hands when they don't manage their finances well or choose to leave college early for a payday, and suddenly, head injuries will disappear from football!
Yeah, not really.