Now another thing that happened during my break from writing was the two rule changes. One being the infamous 'tuck-rule', which helped spawn a New England dynasty and send the Oakland Raiders spiraling into the constant cellar dweller they have become. That is a pretty big rule that is being nixed, but its the other rule that is going to be enforced this coming season that caused me to question the leagues decision making.
Newly acquired Titans safety Bernard Pollard made a comment most recently, that the NFL will cease to exist in 30 years. Now I know some of you don't see the logic in that comment, because you don't see that happening with the current financial state of the NFL, and the popularity of the sport growing globally, but the statement does hold water. Mainly because the NFL could soon turn into a legal mess. Mainly due to ex-players suing the league for concussion like diseases they have suffered through out the years.
Jim McMahon of the '85 Super Bowl Bears, recently said that he wished he never played football, because of the physical toll it took on his body and the medical bills kept piling up. Ex-Pittsburgh Steeler center great Mike Webster, winner of 4 super-bowls died a couple years ago, poor, homeless and massive suffering from brain injuries due to the physical toll of the game. Other greats from Art Monk to Mark Rypien have sued the NFL for concussion type injuries from Lou Gehrig's disease to having to be in dimly lit rooms. Junior Seau committed suicide and some medical experts contribute concussions to his depression leading to his ultimate fate. 2,000 ex-players sued the NFL at once for medical compensation for ignoring the players health. President Obama himself said he would have to question "that if he had son would he want him to play football?" ultimately he said he wouldn't let him. Ex-players are experiencing dementia and Alzheimer like symptoms at an alarming rate.
Now I tell you this so people can see what Roger Goddell's logic was on the decision to implement this new rule. RB's old and new already hate the rule, analyst Mike Mayock of the NFL network was one of the sharpest critics. Ex-Oiler great Earl Campell hates the rule, but in the end it comes down to player safety. Goddell is having to play a tricky game between player safety and the future of the league. Now I'm not saying Goddell is going without criticism, in fact he should have done more to establish an NFL alumni fund for ex-players with concussion problems, its not like they can't afford it (the NFL raked in oh give or take 50 billion dollars last year alone).
But why do I bring up this rule? Well simple when will it stop, or will the league become a former shell of itself, even a comical version of itself. There is plenty of bias directed towards particular players safety more than others, for example Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, if they get even a remote strike near the helmet or legs, its a penalty and then a 10k at least fine to that player later in the week. But I remember vividly watching Vince Young being slammed on his neck by a trio of Steelers players and no penalty and a fine came weeks later. So the rules are almost there to protect the NFL's best interest at the current time, now I'm not saying that Brady or Manning are un-touchable but it's pretty close.
The NFL is almost turning more into a medical liability than a game, which it ultimately is. The problem is all the ex-players suing the NFL for millions of dollars and more rules restricting the games "purity" (I guess that's what you could say). So before the NFL ceases operation due to lawsuits, should they take drastic steps in insuring that won't happen, as a fan and hopeful future employee I believe they have to.
I really think future NFL players will have to sign waivers that ensure they won't sue the league due to concussion's, once their career is over. Think of it as a non-disclosure agreement that company would make an employee sign. It's not that they don't care about the employee, just they are trying to run a business. Same goes for the NFL, it's not that they don't ultimately care for the players future well-being, but they have to run a business. I'm also not saying that they should ignore player safety. That's why they should help pour money into the NFL Alumni Association to help with future medical cost and really have a educational approach for the player's and coach's on concussions and when to recognize them and not push players to the brink.
The waiver basically would tell all players that "you are playing this game at your own risk, and whatever long-term effects you should have post football career you are acknowledging them, and still want to play regardless".
That's just my own personal opinion, but please I wanna hear all you guys input on this, and continue this discussion, because it could very well soon be a big problem.