I have an article on T.R. and football in the New York Post today:
Nobody knows when the NFL will play its next game. The owners have locked out the players, and part or all of the 2011 season could be lost.
We have a pretty good idea of what the NFL’s next play will look like, however. A kicker will boot the ball from the 35-yard line, most likely for a touchback. That’s because on March 22, the NFL changed the rules, moving kickoffs forward from the 30-yard line. It hopes to reduce the risk of injury during what is often the most harrowing play — enormous men colliding in an open field at full speed, like beat-up cars in a high-stakes demolition derby.
Football has fallen under intense scrutiny for its violence — not just for the immediate injuries that players can endure on the field, but also for the long-term health effects that the game may have on cognitive performance. Research indicates that NFL veterans are uncommonly prone to dementia.
History is repeating itself. For whatever issues football has today, they are nothing like the controversy it experienced a little more than a century ago. Back then, injuries were an afterthought — it was the deaths that concerned people. In 1905, there were 18 of them, occurring everywhere from the college gridiron to neighborhood sandlots.