Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Am 16 Going On 18

Disclaimer: This is an NFL post. Will be only interesting if you care about the toll on the human body.

The NFL has played 16 regular season games for as long as I have been following it. (30 years) I am not entirely sure if they went from 14 games to 16 games in in the mid 70s. But just know they have been playing this many games for that long. I love the NFL which will not shock any of you. The thing is when you know something well and have read years and years of news, you realize that all this fun comes at a price.

I have never played a down of organized football. But I have been at field level for high school games. Even at that level, you wonder about the sanity of what these guys sign for when you hear first hand the crunch of guys with pads colliding, propelled by as much speed as their legs can muster. These are 16 year olds. I have been at field level for professional games (CFL) . It's a miracle these guys get up like they are leaving a couch.

I have written before about the long term effects of playing a sport where concussions happen frequently. Believe me, it's not a pretty picture. Some people go as far to suggest that premature death of some wrestlers are not from steroids but from concussions. I don't blame you if you doubt what I say but I implore you to read what Merrill Hoge has to say on the topic.

NFL athletes are amazing physical specimens. All that size, strength and speed in one package. Just remember one thing from high school physics: f=ma. Force = Mass * Acceleration. Again, I love football but how many of these guys will be walking normally 5 years from now? Was the human frame meant to dish out and absorb that much punishment?

Now they want to add two more games that count. Where there will be more hits dished out by fewer people and absorbed by fewer people. What they will propose is removing two games that don't count and replacing them with two games that count. The league wants you to believe that it's the same thing. Well if you consider shooting blanks and shooting live ammo as the same thing then believe them.

The league wants to prevent concussions but they are exposing their regular players to two more regular season games. Makes as much sense as fighting for peace. Makes as much sense as growing to be a midget. Makes as much sense as studying to be a moron.

The games in the preseason hardly feature the same people that play when the games count. The regulars do not even break a sweat in these games. Preseason games are there to evaluate the question marks on your roster in game conditions. They are an audition. The problem is the league charges the fan the same price for these games and the players you see will be bagging groceries in two weeks. Quick, name the last movie you watched that you paid regular price for. Now, did you also pay regular price for the audition process and the rehearsal process? That is what sports leagues do. Equating preseason games with the regular season games is bunk.

Filipinos will not believe this but the NFL is America's premiere sports league. Yet they insist on screwing the fans in needless ways. Part of what makes the NFL special is that the once a week pace of games for 16 weeks makes the league easy to follow. It makes what transpires easy to remember. Adding more games will water it down. Adding more games will increase the likelihood of end of season contests where teams play not to get hurt as opposed to playing to win.

Don't let anyone convince you that it's just two games.


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