Archive for Friday, October 10, 2008

Mayer: Football now too brutal

October 10, 2008


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.


kansas778 9 years, 6 months ago

Are you kidding me? Has this guy ever seen how they played back in the day? Deacon Jones stated that his intention was to put people in the hospital. He played at the time they allowed facemasks and tripping, and he did them. More violent? Hardly.

webmocker 9 years, 6 months ago

Where are the statistics to back up his claim that injuries are on the rise?

Judgesmails 9 years, 6 months ago

old benny!! LOLboldins hit is one of the worst i've seenhe's paid well - but dam

acg 9 years, 6 months ago

Are you kidding me? Football too rough? These days these guys have better helmets, better padding, better blockers and way more whiny little penalties they have to worry about getting stuck with if they play too dirty. I loved George Carlin's (may he rest in peace) idea of randomly placed land mines on the field. Now that would be some football, wouldn't it?

monkeyspunk 9 years, 6 months ago

The author provides no evidence to support his column. I would contest that layers are more protected now then they ever have been. Period. The care that they receive post injury is exponentially better than in previous years. The science of physical therapy has made once crippling injuries only something that sits dedicated athlete out for a season. Some players wear "armor" on their torsos, thick gloves and tightly wrapped ankles.Because of increased media coverage of football, there is the illusion of more injury. Just as when the NY Times started printing the police reports daily, the populace believed there was a crime wave. But if you REALLY believe that football is too violent, and you REALLY think something should be done about it...Ban artificial turf. That will slow these men down and cause them to tire more quickly. You will see a decline in collision related injuries.

Jim Williamson 9 years, 6 months ago

I, for one, would enjoy seeing your idea put in place if just for the novelty. But it'll never happen. There's too much money and too many jobs and scholarships at risk.I still think the increase in injuries started back in the 70s when helmets became more technologically advanced than most calculators.

Miles Garrett 9 years, 6 months ago

What if they just took away shoulder pads? Without shoulder pads, brutal hits would injure the hitter as well as the hittee.

jhawks22 9 years, 6 months ago

did this article really get published? football is too rough? i thought this was a joke when i first started reading it. people used to die all the time in football games, thats why the sport was almost done away with. the only reason you think there are more injuries is because we have almost every game being televised or shown on sportscenter so you see every injury during the week. anyway i'm sure you can do much better than this article.

CarterFaucheaux 9 years, 6 months ago

Are you too old fashioned to bother with any statistics to back up your claims as well, Mr. Mayer?

Flap Doodle 9 years, 6 months ago

A true classic there, TOB.How was your biscuit?

cthulhu_4_president 9 years, 6 months ago

Why do I picture Bill Mayer in a patio chair with a corncob pipe in mouth, shotgun in hands, shooting squirrles and yelling at kids to stay off his lawn?

nwkshawk 9 years, 6 months ago

I think playing both ways would only make it worse. Besides being less able to defend yourself, muscles and joints wouldn't get that much needed rest between series.

TopJayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Waaa.Then don't play, or watch football.And while were at it, maybe you should stop writing about football.And TOB. that's old, stale and untrue. Ask Brett Farve, or all the other guys who don't want to give it up even though they have all the money they could ever spend.

Raider 9 years, 6 months ago

Only in Lawrence would a columnist write something like this. It's football.... not a garden party. It's supposed to be rough, and injuries are part of the game. I'd like to see the feedback you'd get if this were a southern newspaper.

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