While I could not agree more that the NFL should have a strong stance on preventing head injuries — concussions in particular — it has come at the expense of offensive players everywhere.
It seems like every week injuries are piling up at record rates, especially this past week. Now that players are getting fined serious cash for hits on the head, they are instead aiming low and taking players legs out, which have, in turn, caused all of these leg injuries.
People often point to Adrian Peterson’s recovery from a torn ACL and eventual MVP award to try and illustrate that players can recover from this type of injury. It’s absolutely true that they can recover, but people who say this are missing the point. These injuries will keep happening at record rates, and more and more talented players will have careers threatened and cut short because players are afraid to tackle correctly for fear of accidentally going too high and being fined, or labeled a dirty player.
Athletes are going to be able to return from one of these ACL injuries, but what about two, three, or four? Eventually a player will end up the victim of too many awkward hits, and their career will be remembered as what could have been, as opposed to what it was.
If the NFL wants to really revolutionize the game, they could make coaches get back to basics in training camp, even with veteran players. Maybe spend an extra week before camps to try and get players out of these habits of going too high and too low.
Defensive players may whine and cry that the league just wants offenses to keep having a bigger advantage, and while that may appear true, getting players back to basic hitting fundamentals could go a long way in saving players’ careers.
It could also stop many “What if this guy was healthy?” scenarios from being played out in many fans’ heads. Instead they could be played out on the field.
Football is a violent game, but it is also the most popular sport here in the United States. If it doesn’t want to burn itself out, it would be wise to consider getting back to the basics so it does not have to pay money 20 years from now to current players making millions. It was able to take the blow, just recently, because the players before didn’t make as much money as they do today. But paying millions if not billions of dollars to players who have already been paid a load of cash does not sound like a good investment for the league.