NFL Should Change the Equipment Not the Game

By Aaron Archer

Today we live in the era of the biggest, strongest, and fastest athletes in recent history. This has caused an interesting dilemma on the sports of today, mainly in the NFL since it is in the upper echelon of American sports. With higher risks have come higher rewards but at what cost to the players of today and the players of tomorrow. The National Football League is a multi billion-dollar industry and while the Commissioner (Roger Goodell) claims that the NFL is doing everything for player safety it seems to be the bare minimum to get by the fans and most importantly the lawyers of the Players Association. In 2011 the NFL made their yearly attempt at making the game safer but failed miserably.

From 2010 to 2011 there was an increase in head related injuries raised by three, which does not sound like much, but 162 reported head injuries is way to many. That number comes to an average of 10.8 concussions per week and leaves a 72% chance for a concussion to happen in each game. Money is king in every business and the NFL is no exception.

Per a contract with Reebok the NFL would not dare endorse a superior product, but when Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback of the Green Bay Packers received a hit that gave him a concussion it was apparent it was the quality of helmet. This is true because the next game he played in the huge focus point was on his new helmet padding and a multiple demonstrations were given on NFL Network showing the amazing impact resistance of this non-NFL contracted padding. The demonstration started with the inventor of the product holding a piece of his padding over his stomach and another person hitting him with a shovel. After the helmet change Aaron Rodgers has said that the new helmet is more protective than his former.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the Green Bay Packers victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers by the score of 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

When the question is posed to the head of the NFL his claim is that the players can individually get the helmet outside of the NFL. While it is impossible to make players care about safety before the fact, there still needs to be enfaces on quality of protection and not on how the game is played (i.e. moving kickoffs to 35 yard line). In 2011 the obviousness of the games safety was shown in the scariest way in week seven with the Chargers at the Jets. This was the game where Chargers Offensive Guard, Kris Dielman suffered an undiagnosed concussion that later led to a seizure on the airplane that night, and now he is retired do to an avoidable injury.

With the evident lack of cooperation from the players and the medical staffs inability to read players minds it would suit the NFL to go to the source and change the equipment not the game. This will not happen since the only thing in the minds of the executives of the NFL is the dollar signs dancing in their heads, and until the day comes where they decide human lives are more important then there bank account we will have to live with the unnecessary changes to the game and its inherent affect on the players and fans of America’s most beloved sport.

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