Covering Injuries in the 2012 NFL Season

by Ryan on September 9, 2012

in Anything Else,Culture,Economy,Election 2012,Media,Media Bias,Politics,Pop Culture,Sports

Today the 2012 NFL season kicks off its opening weekend.  A game has already been played — the Cowboys defeated the Super Bowl-winning Giants 24-17 on Wednesday, playing opposite Bill Clinton‘s DNC speech, in fact.  For me football equals Fall, and I love the Fall, so I’m excited.  Go Pats!

However, the game will be very different this season.  On top of some minute rule changes, player safety will be an issue discussed in every game, with every play.  In truth, some of those policies have worked, but every hard hit you see or player slow-to-get-up will get ominous commentary from the game’s announcers and a review of the NFL policies on concussions, especially in lieu of the aftermath yesterday’s spinal injury at the Tulane game.  Expect that all season.

Oddly, the NFL commissar Commissioner Roger Goodell was stymied when a panel lifted most of the punishments for the New Orleans Saints’ players involved in the infamous Bountygate scandal.  Injuries are bad, but those targeting players to injure are OK to play?  Major mixed message; the sport is definitely in conflict.

After Junior Seau’s suicide in May, everyone seemed to blame the aftereffects of all the concussions he sustained from 20 years of football as the major factor.  A recent autopsy found no evidence of brain damage, but did find the sleeping aide Ambien in his blood — a drug whose potential side-effects include a “worsening of depression, and suicidal thoughts or actions.”  No smoke there.  Yet, a media-driven concussion narrative was already out.

For the league, less hitting means more player safety, but also more offense.  Offense sells tickets.  Simple math.  However, all the attention paid to injuries this year will undoubtedly have a negative effect on the game’s future — bubble-wrapped teens will have their helicopter parents steering them to other sports.  It’s already happening at local high schools in my area.

At least in the short-run the game will survive, if not slowly tweaked into something unrecognizable down the road.

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