As I sit here watching my favorite pastime of football, I am puzzled at the easily solved issues that plague the game, but the leagues don’t see the need for resolution.
Like in this age of instant laser enhanced topography mapping systems and devices, why do they still require two men along the sidelines to hold and later make ready sticks and chains to measure 10-yard increments from the sideline?
Then there is the issue of traumatic head injuries and the need to develop a helmet that prevents concussions. Years have been spent modifying the internal cushioning and padding suspended in webbing to absorb the sudden shock of high-speed collisions. I have always thought little emphasis has been spent on the outside shell of the helmet.
What if a one-inch, high-density Nerf ball-type padding was applied to the outer perimeter of the helmet? Then you would receive a deadening impact of two softer substances absorbing impact instead of the first impact being non-absorbing plastic materials colliding violently with a sound heard all the way up in the cheap seats. Of course, the thought of a bulbous moon-surface looking helmet would be quite ridiculous in appearance. But is this more of a form-over-function decision than effective science over fashion preference?
And it gripes me to no end to see professional football players making a king’s ransom in salary still using the $9.95 pacifier-type mouthpieces at their level of play we used 50 years ago in little league teams. If I was being paid over a million dollars a year, I would go to my local dentist and have him fashion me a custom mouthpiece I could put in my mouth at the beginning of the game and not have to remove it until the final whistle blew. I could talk with it in place, it would not restrict my breathing, and blindside collisions would not affect my wonderful smile, remaining clean, sparkly and lacking voids.
My personal aggravation is seeing grown men with long hair styles growing out of their helmet and past their name plate, progressively covering their number. It doesn’t make them faster or stronger. And long flowing hair lost its usefulness ever since the days of Samson. The rules say the player's hair is an extension of their uniform. Nothing would make me happier than to see a defensive linebacker reel in a running back by the hair of his head. That’s why, if you’ve ever noticed, all really long-haired players play defense.
I have noticed an abundance of tackles made by only the grip of a small piece of jersey instead of a solid hit and wrapping arms like a good ole fashioned tackle should be made. I wondered why jerseys no longer tore away like in the past. Apparently, my research has revealed I have been living in a time warp, as the Russell Athletics tear-away jersey, first introduced in 1967, was later banned by the NFL in 1979. That explains all these jersey tackles … since 1979.
I have found the new collapsible tents used on the sideline to examine injured players without the prying eyes of the spectators looking on to be an ingenuous invention. Now if they could engineer a portable X-ray machine to fit inside, the players would never have to go to the locker room.
Aside from the interference of politics into the game, football is much more entertaining and far less boring than golf. The injuries are real, unlike soccer or professional wrestling. And wouldn’t you like to see at least one baseball game played in the rain or snow?
W.J. Butcher is a Coweta County resident and retired 26-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department. Send comments, kudos, and criticism to: email@example.com .