The National Football League has gone through its fair share of changes in the offseason.
An extra point is now 33-yds as opposed to 20-yds, defenses can now score two points on failed point-after-attempts and a safety on an extra point is now worth one point.
Some of these rules might seem a bit tedious, but in 20 years they might not even matter.
While I’d like to think our kids will be able to enjoy America’s most watched professional sport, some logical reasoning points to the contrary. Football will likely not exist as we know it in 2035, and that might not be a bad thing for our species.
For most sane individuals, health and well-being are top priorities. With that in mind, some would reason that football players are not acting within their best interest by playing the game that they love.
Former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland would probably agree with that to a degree. Borland retired from football this offseason at just 24 years old because of concerns about the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma. He consulted with concussion researchers and studies to come to the decision, recognizing some of the debilitating conditions that retired players are currently experiencing.
Of course, Borland might be a bit of an extreme in this case, because there are plenty of football players who are doing just fine in their retirement from the field. Just take any former player who is now coaching or broadcasting as an example.
However, I bring this issue up at the beginning of the NFL and college football season for a specific reason. Every year, athletes, especially football players, seem to get stronger and stronger with the help of modern training techniques. Subsequently, it also seems that we see worse and worse injuries every year.
Let’s take an example from Fordham’s own football conference, the Patriot League. In Georgetown’s first game of the season on Sept. 5, junior running back Ty Williams suffered a severe neck injury and as he recovers, it is not known for certain if he will be able to walk again.
Similarly, former Rutgers player Eric LeGrand continues to work toward walking again without assistance to this day in a similar accident.
One could also relate this to Sunday’s New York Jets vs Cleveland Browns season opener. The most serious injury in the game was to Jets rookie linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin, who was knocked unconscious in the fourth quarter on what seemed to be a low-contact play. Mauldin was carefully cared for on the field and then immediately shuttled off into a waiting ambulance to a nearby hospital with head and neck injuries. Luckily for Mauldin, he was awake on Sunday night with feeling in his extremities and had only suffered a concussion. For those watching live, it was certainly a scary moment.
Enjoy the gridiron while you can. It’s becoming tougher and tougher for me.