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Author Topic: The death of football  (Read 18580 times)
ghost
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on: March 06, 2012, 10:47:58 AM

There is more and more information coming out about concussions suffered while playing football.  Right now, football is the most popular sport in America.  What would it take to dethrone the sport, and possibly even devastate it?  

It is suspected that traumatic brain injuries occur at a rate much higher than what was thought even five years ago.  Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier even go so far as to examine what the death of football would look like in an op/ed on the Grantland website.  

Quote
Before you say that football is far too big to ever disappear, consider the history: If you look at the stocks in the Fortune 500 from 1983, for example, 40 percent of those companies no longer exist. The original version of Napster no longer exists, largely because of lawsuits. No matter how well a business matches economic conditions at one point in time, it's not a lock to be a leader in the future, and that is true for the NFL too. Sports are not immune to these pressures. In the first half of the 20th century, the three big sports were baseball, boxing, and horse racing, and today only one of those is still a marquee attraction.

Quote
Precollegiate football is already sustaining 90,000 or more concussions each year. If ex-players start winning judgments, insurance companies might cease to insure colleges and high schools against football-related lawsuits. Coaches, team physicians, and referees would become increasingly nervous about their financial exposure in our litigious society. If you are coaching a high school football team, or refereeing a game as a volunteer, it is sobering to think that you could be hit with a $2 million lawsuit at any point in time.

I think that we're already starting to see the tip of the iceberg here.  More and more parents in my own (highly biased) patient base are avoiding putting their kids in football, and I live in Texas.  I suspect that, in 10-20 years, that only the most uneducated and poor will be playing football due to the injury risk.  It will be a modern day gladiator arena.  

So fire up your brains and let's get the argument started  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 10:50:51 AM by ghost »
pxib
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Reply #1 on: March 06, 2012, 10:53:38 AM

Meh. Boxing still exists, and that's a game where the main way you win is by giving your opponent a concussion.
ghost
The Dentist
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Reply #2 on: March 06, 2012, 10:54:44 AM

Yes, but it's a shadow of its former glory.  You could say that MMA has taken over where boxing left off, but it's still not nearly as popular as boxing was for Muhammed Ali and prior. 
Nebu
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Reply #3 on: March 06, 2012, 11:34:08 AM

I'm not sure if I have mentioned this in other threads, but I have suffered at least 6 diagnosable concussions during my career as a football player (High school through Div I college) and probably a couple more during ... extracurricular activities.  Football is nothing more than a modern-day gladiatorial event.  People pay to watch violence and the players willfully sign on the dotted line to perform said violence.  In a capitalist society, there's nothing wrong with someone willing to get their brains beat out for money as long as they willingly accept the consequences of doing so. 

The only request I would have is a) for better protection of minors and amateurs involved in the sport, b) better education of the players about the dangers involved, and c) better regulation of coaching. I bring up c) because players are put under enormous pressure to perform while injured.  I was a 'bit' player and played while recovering from concussions, played with a broken hand, and played with a separated shoulder.  I can't imagine what some starters endure.  Once you get to the college level, particularly televised college football, you're a human racehorse.  It's readily apparent that you're little more than a replaceable chunk of meat.  If you can't play because of injury, you're easily replaced by some young upstart ready to take your spot.  The culture of highly competitive sports is something I never would have imagined had I not experienced it first hand.


"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

-  Mark Twain
ghost
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Reply #4 on: March 06, 2012, 12:39:24 PM

In a capitalist society, there's nothing wrong with someone willing to get their brains beat out for money as long as they willingly accept the consequences of doing so. 

It's only a matter of time until we see lawsuits regarding kids playing football.  I believe that several retirees are suing the NFL and Riddell, a maker of helmets. 
Paelos
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Reply #5 on: March 06, 2012, 12:48:11 PM

NCAA is already putting in a rule change where if your helmet comes off, you have to sit the next play.

Part of the problem with helmets today is that kids simply will not put them on correctly. Not only do they get sizes too big to fit their hair, but they don't strap them all the way on.

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ghost
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Reply #6 on: March 06, 2012, 12:53:46 PM

The hair has to provide some protection though.   awesome, for real
Nebu
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Reply #7 on: March 06, 2012, 12:56:06 PM

NCAA is already putting in a rule change where if your helmet comes off, you have to sit the next play.

Part of the problem with helmets today is that kids simply will not put them on correctly. Not only do they get sizes too big to fit their hair, but they don't strap them all the way on.

I'd argue that the problem stems from 260 lb men running at near world-class speed.  I used to be one of the faster guys in the Big 10 and I was 'only' 205.  That's a lot of force when you consider the impact I could generate at full speed, launching myself into someone. 

"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

-  Mark Twain
Segoris
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Reply #8 on: March 06, 2012, 01:27:56 PM

When this article came out last month, first I laughed because it was dead obvious they were doomcasting to try to make a point. Then Florio over at pft posted and wrote pretty much everything I was thinking and then some.

A quick summary (do read the whole PFT.Com post as imo it is worth the read):
-Comparison to the companies listed is flawed
-Hits in lower levels of football are no where near as hard, fast, or dangerous as they are at NCAA and NFL levels.
-The lawsuits won't trinkle down to the lower branches of football since a lot of the lawsuits are based on resentment above all else
-Insurance covers a lot of the lawsuit payouts and the NFL is a huge rich target - so there's a lot to gain by sueing them, justified or not
-And the big one - the fact that the writers are completely ignoring the current NFL adjusting to be much safer (including more physical protection and rules regarding a person's head).

I don't think Florio talked about stricter rules at the lower levels of football which would have been another good point as that will help transform football to a safer sport with stricter rules and tighter regulation combined with more knowledge about how to play safe going a long way in developing the next generation of modern day gladiators.


« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 01:29:43 PM by Segoris »
naum
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Reply #9 on: March 06, 2012, 01:50:50 PM

Ex-NFLers are pursuing lawsuits against the NFL, presently… (OP on Yahoo has gone 404, but this clip is still on my blog)

Quote
Other players describe an off-camera NFL that is darker than the carefully scripted show presented during Super Bowl week. Their recollections, based on playing careers that touched every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s, include:

* “Midnight snack” buffets at a team hotel the night before games that would consist not only of food and drink, but also painkillers so that, as Rory Graves, an Oakland Raiders offensive lineman from 1988-91, puts it, “The next day, you feel like a kid. You could run into a car — no pain! You didn’t feel nothing.”

* Cans of beer tucked into airplane seat pockets before players would board, so they’d have something at the ready to wash down the prescription drugs such as the painkiller Vicodin (commonly called “footballs” by players because of their oblong shape) or the muscle relaxant Flexeril (“home plates” because they’re pentagons) disbursed freely by someone coming down the aisle on team flights. “We took those drugs because we wanted to play, but there was nobody stopping us,” Turley says. “We’re young. We’re 10 feet tall. Nothing can harm us. If you’re giving it to us, we’re going to take it.”

* Widespread and regular use of Toradol, a medicine intended for pain relief, generally after an operation, and a central part of one of the lawsuits that says the drug could put someone with a head injury at increased risk. “If it wasn’t torn or it wasn’t broken, to me, Toradol fixed it and allowed me to keep going. I was so used to using it that I wanted to make it a weekly ritual to make sure that if I did get hurt, I wouldn’t have to be taken out of the game,” says Joe Horn, who estimated he got four or five concussions during a career in which he caught more than 600 passes for the Chiefs, Saints and Falcons from 1996-2007. “To be honest with you, we were kind of — what’s the word for it? — addicted. But I always thought it was OK; the NFL doctors were giving it to us.”

* Being scorned by teammates or coaches if unable to return to a game because of injury, and a seeming total dismissal, particularly in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, of the notion that head trauma could cause significant problems, immediately or long term. “Get back out there” was a phrase repeated by the ex-players, citing words they heard during practices or games. As Joe Harris, a linebacker with five teams from 1977-82, says: “I know I had nine or 10 concussions, because I played through them. A lot of times, I’m out there and I was dazed, and I heard guys say, ‘He’s knocked out, and he don’t even know it.’ And then you talk to your coach, and they bring out smelling salts. ‘Give him a hit of that, and put him back out on the field.’ And they show you fingers, and you say it’s three when it’s two. And they say, ‘Get back out there. Just hit the one in the middle.’”

* A day-to-day, post-football existence that is difficult because of, for some, depression, dementia, migraine headaches, memory lapses, along with balky hips and knees and shoulders. “My body hurts all the time,” says Mark Duper, who caught more than 500 passes as a wide receiver with Dan Marino’s Miami Dolphins from 1982-92. Duper is more concerned, though, about the ringing in his ears, the loss of memory, “having a conversation and, all of a sudden, I just forget what I’m talking about.”

"There must not be a God because a demon hand didn't burst out of the ground, reach into Jindal's anus, and pull him inside out before dragging him into the shit-filled sodomy pits of Hades." If you read that and thought, "Well, this is a reasonable person who should be treated with respect," then perhaps it is your anus that needs a hellclawing. ~The Rude Pundit
ghost
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Reply #10 on: March 06, 2012, 01:58:02 PM

I suspect that the NFL is probably underestimating their exposure in this.
naum
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Reply #11 on: March 06, 2012, 01:59:43 PM

Football is at the peak of popularity still, but it is not hard to envision a spiraling downward slope.

As more safety rules are implemented (already, there are coaches advocating elimination of kickoffs entirely, and no doubt, there will be more provisions to protect QB and receivers), the game will continue to suffer from "those guys today are not as tough as yesteryear" syndrome.

Maybe it will make a successful translation to a reduced (or even non-contact) sport, but it will be a different game. Also, while some positions are protected, every single play, linemen suffer cumulative shattering collusion damage. And better equipment means players can launch themselves aggressively (it is what makes for an excellent defensive player) without worry of injury to themselves. But now, the chance getting flagged (or drawing a sizable fine and suspension) are a crap shoot based on whether or not a ball carrier or intended receiver lifts/drops/turns his head at the last second. Increasingly, games (more so than present) are going to be decided on such events, and that will detract from the competitive allure of the game.

A logical continuation of this evolution means eventually we are looking at flag/touch football with no blocking / no hitting. A sporting spectacle less likely to draw fan allegiance, at least on the mega-scale that exists today.

With hockey soon to follow also.

"There must not be a God because a demon hand didn't burst out of the ground, reach into Jindal's anus, and pull him inside out before dragging him into the shit-filled sodomy pits of Hades." If you read that and thought, "Well, this is a reasonable person who should be treated with respect," then perhaps it is your anus that needs a hellclawing. ~The Rude Pundit
pants
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Reply #12 on: March 06, 2012, 02:03:47 PM

As any non-American will tell you, its a silly sport.  You're better off without it.

 Raspberry
Segoris
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Reply #13 on: March 06, 2012, 02:14:22 PM

Football is at the peak of popularity still, but it is not hard to envision a spiraling downward slope.

I don't think it will go on that downward-spiral. Even with all the safety changes, year after year the NFL is putting up higher ratings (this year's ratings were breaking records again) and there doesn't seem to be any sign of the ratings slowing down. Additionally, some of the sport is turning more to reality tv-esque entertainment and more personal (more sound clips, more fan interaction thanks in part to social media, more inclusion of fans to events that previously didn't allow fans, fantasy football, etc). Those are good changes that will help bolster the NFL to not be doomed [edit: as a business, as I like the violent football of yesteryear but can't argue with the changes as they do in fact protect people's health].

I think the changes will definitley alienate some people who want it to be violent as possible and don't like change, but imo, those people are to football what the bleeding edge hardcore catass raiders fighting against more casual games are to MMOs. The very vocal [growing] minorty.

As any non-American will tell you, its a silly sport.  You're better off without it.

 Raspberry

I'd agree if there was another alternative that was anywhere near as entertaining. If only soccer was't shitty Grin
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 02:16:03 PM by Segoris »
01101010
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Reply #14 on: March 06, 2012, 02:16:59 PM


I'd agree if there was another alternative that was anywhere near as entertaining. If only soccer was't shitty Grin

Yes but their injuries are so much more entertaining, especially the ones done through paranormal means. When does that ever get old?  why so serious?

"I want to watch it all burn in an orgy of smashed Coke machines and weasel rape." - HaemishM
Segoris
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Reply #15 on: March 06, 2012, 02:24:49 PM

We have that in the NFL too from this year's Super Bowl Champs

Well, if by "paranormal means" that "back spasms" are included why so serious?
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 02:26:24 PM by Segoris »
ghost
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Reply #16 on: March 06, 2012, 02:27:06 PM

We have that in the NFL too from this year's Super Bowl Champs

Well, if by "paranormal means" that "back spasms" are included why so serious?

I love the other guy that starts to fall down, and then gets back up when he realizes it wasn't him that was supposed to get a soccer injury.
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Reply #17 on: March 06, 2012, 02:45:38 PM

I'd watch soccer if they got rid of the horrendous diving/officiating, and got rid of all ties.

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ghost
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Reply #18 on: March 06, 2012, 02:51:30 PM

I played soccer in college, and I can barely stand to watch it unless it's world cup. 
Paelos
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Reply #19 on: March 06, 2012, 02:59:07 PM

I played soccer in college, and I can barely stand to watch it unless it's world cup. 

Shit, I captained my team in high school, and I'm the same way. It's beyond silly that anybody in sports would walk off the field with nothing resolved. The whole point of a competition is to declare a winner. Hell, even hockey wised up and got rid of the ties.

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Ingmar
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Reply #20 on: March 06, 2012, 03:06:38 PM

Ties > shootouts.

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ghost
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Reply #21 on: March 06, 2012, 03:11:43 PM

Ties > shootouts.


Um, no.  But both are steaming piles of shit.
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Reply #22 on: March 06, 2012, 03:19:26 PM

Why is the concept of a tie so difficult for people to accept? If two teams batter themselves into a stalemate, why can't we just accept that?

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Nordom: Sense of closure: imminent.
Fordel
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Reply #23 on: March 06, 2012, 03:20:24 PM

I played soccer in college, and I can barely stand to watch it unless it's world cup. 


I'm the same way. It happens every four years even. I'll watch the World Cup almost religiously, because the level of play and the stakes are so high. Then I'll be like "SOCCER IS AWESOME, LETS WATCH THE TFC!" (Local Toronto Team in the MLS) and hoooooly shit are they bad  why so serious?




-fake edit-

Do you accept it in baseball Ing?

and the gate is like I TOO AM CAPABLE OF SPEECH
ghost
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Reply #24 on: March 06, 2012, 03:21:06 PM

Why is the concept of a tie so difficult for people to accept? If two teams batter themselves into a stalemate, why can't we just accept that?

Because it's Un. Fucking. American.  That's why.   awesome, for real
Paelos
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Reply #25 on: March 06, 2012, 03:22:04 PM

Why is the concept of a tie so difficult for people to accept? If two teams batter themselves into a stalemate, why can't we just accept that?

Because we pay for resolution in sports? Other aspects of life may not be as cut and dry, but one of the reasons I love sport is that we declare a victor.

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Ingmar
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Reply #26 on: March 06, 2012, 03:33:35 PM

I guess it is just a weird philosophical thing. I'd rather have a tie than an outcome determined by something akin to a coin flip.

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Nordom: Sense of closure: imminent.
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Reply #27 on: March 06, 2012, 03:36:28 PM

A tie in soccer gives a resolution, usually in the form of a point in the table, a need to play a second match or in some cases a shootout. I've seen draws that were more exciting than a number of recent Super Bowls (this year's included) - even 0-0 draws that were better. Just because American sports fans like to dickwave their victories doesn't mean the rest of the world should follow suit.

And shootouts for every game? FUCK NO.

As for American Handegg's growing irrelevance, not so much. The sport isn't going away in our lifetimes. The only way it's market share is diminished significantly is if there's something down the pipeline that grabs attention more and keeps it. None of the current sports are big enough and broad enough, though I think proper football will get a bigger share as the population grows more diversified (especially Latino and Hispanic populations) and the kids who grew up playing youth soccer rediscover the game. Until you manage to sever the tie between football and academics, Handegg is here to stay no matter how many brains it turns to mush.

Paelos
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Reply #28 on: March 06, 2012, 03:37:54 PM

I guess it is just a weird philosophical thing. I'd rather have a tie than an outcome determined by something akin to a coin flip.

We can debate if there are better ways to decide the game. I would certainly agree shootouts are silly.

Baseball does this best. We play until somebody wins.

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Lucas
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Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #29 on: March 06, 2012, 03:48:55 PM

So, I'm from Italy and, as you know, european football is basically a religion, here. I follow AC Milan, I go to S.Siro whenever the team plays at home; I follow it on away matches too, and still watch it from the terraces (and sometimes I also get into...trouble, let's say :P). In other words, the whole package  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

Yes, I can understand that the concept of a "tie" must be quite difficult to grasp if you are used to a W/L mentality, which is also what (competitive) sport is ultimately about, I guess.

But...The are lots of "nuances" to a draw, but you can't really grasp them if A) you don't have a real favourite team you follow with all your heart and B) you are not really INTO the football/soccer tactical aspect (and the psychological one). You'll just consider it a boring affair (and yes, there are undoubtedly boring draws) and be done with it.

Then, there is the purely aesthetic factor, but it's my personal opinion: the possibilities world-class soccer offers when it comes to the tricks you can do with you feet vastly surpasses anything you can do in high level basketball, football and baseball (but nonetheless, I find U.S. football quite enjoyable and interesting).

In other words, Jordan and Magic Johnson were fantastic, but the show Maradona or Messi could/can put on with their feet is on a whole other level (goes without saying, but yes, again, personal opinion).
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 03:51:25 PM by Lucas »

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Paelos
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Reply #30 on: March 06, 2012, 03:58:29 PM

I get all the beautiful nuances of the game. Hell, I played it for 14 years. Ball control, tactics, movement, timely subs, agressive manuevers, gambles, etc. There's a lot of that in every game's ebbs and flows. Don't mistake my distaste for ties as a misunderstanding of the underlying product on the field. Moments of unparalleled brilliance can occur in any given match.

None of that goes away with a result. It's still there. The only difference is that the American culture does not accept ties, while the Europeans do. To some, it's creating a stalemate to win the war. In other words, to play the long game by delaying with a tie. I don't pay to watch the long game. I pay to watch two teams take the field, duke it out, and for someone to emerge as the victory for the day.

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Nebu
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Reply #31 on: March 06, 2012, 04:05:31 PM

But...The are lots of "nuances" to a draw, but you can't really grasp them if A) you don't have a real favourite team you follow with all your heart and B) you are not really INTO the football/soccer tactical aspect (and the psychological one). You'll just consider it a boring affair (and yes, there are undoubtedly boring draws) and be done with it.

The very same could be said about American football and why it isn't more popular globally.  Most people, even Americans, don't understand the level of depth than football contains.  It's an INCREDIBLY complex game that looks simple... much like soccer.  The simplicity is what catches the eye and the depth is what holds the interest. 

What I love about soccer is the relegation/promotion system.  We need that in football!

"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

-  Mark Twain
ghost
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Reply #32 on: March 06, 2012, 04:10:07 PM

European football isn't really that complex.  The flow of the game is a thing of beauty, however.  It's almost like a living organism.  American football is almost completely scripted and is very, very complex.  I don't think most folks understand how many things have to go right to have an 80 yard play action pass completed for a touchdown. 
Lucas
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Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #33 on: March 06, 2012, 04:11:15 PM

Yeah, I don't understand why you guys don't have a promotion/relegation system in football, basketball and baseball.

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Fordel
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Reply #34 on: March 06, 2012, 04:13:59 PM

NA sports teams are basically franchises owned by their leagues.

and the gate is like I TOO AM CAPABLE OF SPEECH
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