The problem with (American) football

I can solve the  biggest problem in the NFL right now. You think I’m joking? Let me give it a go. There are some other problems with American football that I cannot solve, but I’ll talk about those too.

The biggest problems in the NFL are bad behavior from it’s players (spousal abuse, child abuse, beating up random people, and general bad behavior like DWI etc) and concussions/brain injuries. My biggest problem with football is that the games are so freaking long. If you think I’m wrong, then you’re welcome to comment below. I like comments. I might even comment back.

Let’s start with the general bad behavior. This is the one that I can solve.  The way I see this problem is that we get a bunch of boys and then we tell them they are the cat’s pajamas from the age of 6 or so. We tell them the rules aren’t for them because they are good at football. We let them glide through lower school and high school, questionably attend college, and ask them to perform not matter what (we bribe them with “free” college degrees), and then when they are 20 year old kids we give them multimillion dollar contracts, reaffirm the pajama status and then we act surprised when they make colossal mistakes. Let’s try this in the NFL, if you are convicted of a felony you cannot play in the NFL….ever. Problem solved. I assume there are many talented players that can avoid getting arrested and charged and the one’s that cannot can find employment at offender friendly locations.  There are many lists of these locations on the internet.

There is also this ongoing problem of concussions and brain injuries. I just read that roughly one third of the players in the NFL leave with brain injuries.  That’s a ton! Have you seen any of these guys in person? They are freakishly huge. They wear all sorts of pads and the routinely put “hits” on other players. Have you ever played tackle football without pads? I have in the form of rugby.  You walk away bloody, bruised, and many times broken.  You do not put a “hit” on anyone.  Instead you tackle.  Did I mention that it hurts?  But when you don’t have helmets and pads and you play differently. I think we should take away the helmets and pads and see if that helps.  Apparently I’m not the first to think of this and recently Scott Simon (http://www.npr.org/2014/11/29/367262110/helmets-arent-always-enough-to-keep-players-safe) asked if players are taking more risks because they feel they are protected.   However, rugby players have more spinal injuries than brain injuries.  No one wants either brain or spinal cord injuries. I cannot solve this problem.

Finally, the games are so long and they stop all the freaking time (probably because all those giant men putting hits on each other really don’t have any sort of sustainable fitness). The Wall Street Journal claims an average of 11 minutes that they ball is in play each game.  That seems about right.  I’ve seen every Dennis Leary voice over commercial for the Ford F150 so many times that I could probably repeat it in my sleep.  Today while I was watching the home team in an impossibly long game I switched channels just to take a peek at the MLS playoff game.  Thirty minutes later after 30 minutes of content action (talk about conditioning), 4 yellow cards (google it), and in the 85th minute a goal!  I solved my problem by forgetting to switch back to my NFL game because in soccer the ball is in play for a full 90 minutes every game.

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