People go to auto races to see collisions, to hockey matches to watch the fights and, ideally, to football games to see speed, grace and finesse along with brutal, brain-rattling contact. Some gridiron tutors operate on the "kill-and-maim" philosophy. Most of them don't encourage such an approach, realizing that it has a way of inviting retaliation.
Some players talk ugly and perform in the same vein; most aren't intentionally head-hunters and body-crunchers. They aren't because they know some opponent will get even.
Yet regardless of the coaching philosophy, football is becoming terribly distressing to us old-fashioned folks who absolutely detest what's happening.
How many recent games, particularly at the college and professional levels, have you seen where the carnage is terrible? It seems that about every other play somebody is hurt badly enough to be escorted off the field or, worse, toted away on a golf cart, strapped to a board and, too often, unable to move anything more than his eyeballs.
Makes no difference if the victim is a star or satellite. The incidence of injury is mushrooming. You wonder how long such physical devastation can continue, or be tolerated. No matter how exciting and pleasing a game may be, the atmosphere can shift from zeal and delight to horror when a guy's on the turf, medics are working feverishly, and other players are standing around stunned, even to the point of praying for the downed warrior.
Maybe you are the car-wreck and hockey-mayhem type who can't wait to see a football player knocked senseless or collapsed and crumpled. Yet there's a beauty to the game that is lost, even destroyed, when there is as much personnel pain and suffering as we see more and more. Sure, football is based on blocking and tackling and is no game for pansies. But hurting people, talking about "killing" them and seeing how many opponents you can hospitalize is not the object, or shouldn't be.
I'm sick of seeing so many injuries, game after game after game. That's not what most sane people want.
The pros will do whatever the mighty dollar dictates. For colleges, I have a notion that will be cackled to the skies: Cut the scholarship limit from 85 to 50 and bring back two-way football where well rested mastodons can't do so much damage. If these 300-and-ups had to run a lot and maneuver constantly, they might deliver fewer critical blows. An 85-50 drop would do a lot for college budgets to balance the huge costs of creating Title IX equity.
Realizing I'll draw derisive verbal rain with that previous notion, I'd like to cite one minor miracle of 2008 Big 12 football in view of the injury epidemic. All 12 schools started out with high-profile quarterbacks. So far only Texas A&M has had a starter drydocked. A&M's Stephen McGee got a shoulder wound against Army and has been replaced by Jerrod Johnson. Baylor replaced Blake Szymanski with freshman whiz Robert Griffin, but not because of injury.
The other 10 teams have reached this stage with No. 1 guys still in harness. That's amazing. All players should be so lucky with today's wound-ravaged tsunami.