Lifespan of NFL Players - The Debate

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Lifespan of NFL Players - The Debate

Postby The Hogster » Wed May 02, 2012 5:02 pm

The average lifespan of an NFL Player is 53-59. The average lifespan of an American man is 75-80.

Although there is some split in the debate on the average lifespan of NFL players, we all know the NFL is a dangerous & violent game. Players are paid handsomely for their risk, but we should always look for ways to protect players while preserving the integrity of the game.

I hold the view that some level of danger can't be legislated out of the game. Put simply, the rule changes are not the best way to address this. IMO, the best way to attack the problem is to (i) prevent injuries through advances in equipment & emphasis in coaching youth level techniques, and (ii) offering adequate medical attention during playing years and beyond.

We all know that brain injury has serious consequences. And, by it's nature, the NFL will involve violent collisions. All we can do is help protect the areas of the body that absorb these impacts. For example, the best way to reduce motorcycle deaths is not to tell motorcyclists that they have to ride slower. It's to improve the safety of their bikes & equipment. NASCAR has done this better than the NFL. They use NASA like engineers to put together the best way to minimize injury on high impact. Although this is a very different sport, we could start using more technological advances in equipment to emphasize safety as well as performance. Helmets would be a good place to start. We can make vehicles, space ships etc from special materials that can withstand extreme pressure, impact, and even elements like heat. You'd expect us to be be able to find a helmet design that can absorb impact better. It would cost the NFL a lot of money, but could save lives or at least improve the quality of them post-career.

Also, former NFL Players need better medical care that includes psychological services to educate and prevent some of the ill effects of brain injury. In my view, suspending James Harrison doesn't do enough. Changing the kickoff yardline doesn't do anything. These things are making the game worse. We can't eliminate the violence and risks, but we can make the player's safer. Maybe they need to regulate the safety standards that the equipment manufacturers use. Instead of unveling unis that are designed for maximum performance, we could stand to hire some NASA geeks who can help lessen the risk of brain injury.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/14477196/nfl-is-killing-its-players-and-league-doesnt-care

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-09-08/opinion/nfl.life.after.the.game_1_nfl-player-football-career-big-time-college-football/3?_s=PM:OPINION
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Re: Lifespan of NFL Players - The Debate

Postby welch » Fri May 04, 2012 10:20 pm

The Hogster wrote:The average lifespan of an NFL Player is 53-59. The average lifespan of an American man is 75-80.

Although there is some split in the debate on the average lifespan of NFL players, we all know the NFL is a dangerous & violent game. Players are paid handsomely for their risk, but we should always look for ways to protect players while preserving the integrity of the game.

I hold the view that some level of danger can't be legislated out of the game. Put simply, the rule changes are not the best way to address this. IMO, the best way to attack the problem is to (i) prevent injuries through advances in equipment & emphasis in coaching youth level techniques, and (ii) offering adequate medical attention during playing years and beyond.

We all know that brain injury has serious consequences. And, by it's nature, the NFL will involve violent collisions. All we can do is help protect the areas of the body that absorb these impacts. For example, the best way to reduce motorcycle deaths is not to tell motorcyclists that they have to ride slower. It's to improve the safety of their bikes & equipment. NASCAR has done this better than the NFL. They use NASA like engineers to put together the best way to minimize injury on high impact. Although this is a very different sport, we could start using more technological advances in equipment to emphasize safety as well as performance. Helmets would be a good place to start. We can make vehicles, space ships etc from special materials that can withstand extreme pressure, impact, and even elements like heat. You'd expect us to be be able to find a helmet design that can absorb impact better. It would cost the NFL a lot of money, but could save lives or at least improve the quality of them post-career.

Also, former NFL Players need better medical care that includes psychological services to educate and prevent some of the ill effects of brain injury. In my view, suspending James Harrison doesn't do enough. Changing the kickoff yardline doesn't do anything. These things are making the game worse. We can't eliminate the violence and risks, but we can make the player's safer. Maybe they need to regulate the safety standards that the equipment manufacturers use. Instead of unveling unis that are designed for maximum performance, we could stand to hire some NASA geeks who can help lessen the risk of brain injury.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/14477196/nfl-is-killing-its-players-and-league-doesnt-care

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-09-08/opinion/nfl.life.after.the.game_1_nfl-player-football-career-big-time-college-football/3?_s=PM:OPINION


Agreed, although I'll add that NFL players are not paid so well over a career, because they have short careers. And then...nothing.

Meanwhile, I don't know what can make the hits safer. Over the years, it seems that as helmets and padding became more protective, players could hit harder. Maybe the answer is less padding so a hard hit will hurft the hitter as well.

Long ago, I was coached to block and tackle with my shoulder pads...never with my head. Maybe coaching can improve.

Maybe, also, the NFL should not replay "wow look at this guy get pulverized" hits...

Mostly, I know there is an ugly problem, and I don't have answers.

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Postby Countertrey » Sat May 05, 2012 9:17 am

There is clearly an argument to be made that efforts to improve player safety through equipment/technology have created new avenues for injury. You do not see the same level of injury in equally physical games such as Rugby and Aussie Rules. The lack of head protection and other padding eliminates the perception that it's safe to use the head as a weapon... This actually helps to protect players in those sports. You MUST use sound technique, and be judicious in your use of contact, or you will be hurt.

Consider that rule changes occur which render obsolete certain techniques and even types of players, all the time. Elimination of "bump and run" not only killed the careers of a group of very physical, but athletically challenged, cornerbacks, such as Pat Fisher, to improve the chances for the big catch and more scores by wide receivers.

On the other hand, it backed corners up, putting more space between them and receivers on many occasions... the result was a clear increase in the frequency of huge hits by physical corners, and by charging safeties, on defenseless receivers. These hits were fairly rare in the old days, because the corner was usually pretty well engaged with the receiver... and would simply apply a wrap up tackle once the ball was caught.
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Postby Irn-Bru » Sat May 05, 2012 12:12 pm

Countertrey wrote:There is clearly an argument to be made that efforts to improve player safety through equipment/technology have created new avenues for injury. You do not see the same level of injury in equally physical games such as Rugby and Aussie Rules. The lack of head protection and other padding eliminates the perception that it's safe to use the head as a weapon... This actually helps to protect players in those sports. You MUST use sound technique, and be judicious in your use of contact, or you will be hurt.


I agree. There's also an additional component in rugby that helps ensure saftey, and that's the tackling rules. For one, it's illegal to leave your feet (i.e., launch yourself) as a tackler. You also have to make an attempt to wrap up, so all tackles are actually tackles and not just hits. And finally, if you lift the ball carrier up into the air, it's incumbent on you to make sure the player returns to the ground safely. Anyone caught driving someone into the ground, hitting with no intent to wrap up ("shoulder charge"), or launching himself gets a yellow card, which means 10 minutes off the field, leaving your team a man down.

Basically, textbook tackles are legal, and anything that strays too far away (and too close to danger) is not permitted.

Having watched quite a bit of rugby over the last few years, I have to say I think their rules concerning tackling are better. A fair amount of injury risk is mitigated, but you'd never think the game was being crippled by overly protective rules.


On the other hand, it backed corners up, putting more space between them and receivers on many occasions... the result was a clear increase in the frequency of huge hits by physical corners, and by charging safeties, on defenseless receivers. These hits were fairly rare in the old days, because the corner was usually pretty well engaged with the receiver... and would simply apply a wrap up tackle once the ball was caught.


The new regulations on defensive backs has been one of the best rule changes the NFL has made recently, IMO. I really do think the game has been made safer without compromising good defense.

I'd love to see some of the same principles applied in regular play, as well, and not just to "defenseless players." In fact, if those tackling rules were more widespread, I don't think the league would have to artificially penalize defense the way they have been doing with other gimmicks over the last 30+ years.
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Postby Countertrey » Sat May 05, 2012 1:47 pm

Disagree with your last point... if they simply relegalize bump and run, there will be much less of these big time hits... and receivers would actually have to earn their receptions. Suddenly, folks would realize just how good Charley Taylor, Bobby Mitchell and Jerry Smith really were...
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Postby Irn-Bru » Sat May 05, 2012 3:20 pm

Countertrey wrote:Disagree with your last point... if they simply relegalize bump and run, there will be much less of these big time hits... and receivers would actually have to earn their receptions. Suddenly, folks would realize just how good Charley Taylor, Bobby Mitchell and Jerry Smith really were...


Actually I agree with you. I don't like the reemphasis on illegal contact rules.

What I do like are the rules that prevent safeties/CBs from launching into a defenseless receiver. The ones that came a couple of years later.

(Or maybe you also don't like the most recent rules on hitting.)

Sorry, I was begging to be misunderstood there. :lol:
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Postby Countertrey » Sat May 05, 2012 5:33 pm

I really don't have a problem with the launching rule... it's good. My point is, if they went back to permitting bump and run, there would be far fewer opportunities for such hits... and, in the process, would revitalize defenses, and make the game a little more even. It would help to rebalance offenses, and make the power running game relevant again.
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Postby Deadskins » Sun May 06, 2012 7:51 pm

The bump and run isn't illegal. They shortened the distance (from 10 yards to five) where contact is legal, but bump and run coverage is alive and well.
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Postby Countertrey » Mon May 07, 2012 6:06 am

Deadskins wrote:The bump and run isn't illegal. They shortened the distance (from 10 yards to five) where contact is legal, but bump and run coverage is alive and well.


As a [a practical matter, the bump and run is illegal. In the old days, the CB would engage at the line of scrimmage, and would become an anchor for the receiver to have to deal with for a full 10 yards. That extra 5 yards was huge. You can't possibly recall how effective it was. Bump and run does not currently exist. Those of us who watched the game in the 60's and 70's know this.
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Postby Deadskins » Mon May 07, 2012 9:20 am

Countertrey wrote:
Deadskins wrote:The bump and run isn't illegal. They shortened the distance (from 10 yards to five) where contact is legal, but bump and run coverage is alive and well.


As a [a practical matter, the bump and run is illegal. In the old days, the CB would engage at the line of scrimmage, and would become an anchor for the receiver to have to deal with for a full 10 yards. That extra 5 yards was huge. You can't possibly recall how effective it was. Bump and run does not currently exist. Those of us who watched the game in the 60's and 70's know this.

I watched in the '60s and '70s (though probably didn't really understand what I was watching in the '60s), but I also remember a couple of years back when a G-strings corner took Moss completely out of the game. He got so frustrated he eventually slapped the player on the helmet and drew a 15-yard, unsportsmanlike penalty. Just because you don't see it much in today's game doesn't mean it's illegal. I will grant you that the extra five yards makes a huge difference, though.
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Postby Mississippiskinsfan2 » Mon May 07, 2012 9:26 am

Deadskins wrote:
Countertrey wrote:
Deadskins wrote:The bump and run isn't illegal. They shortened the distance (from 10 yards to five) where contact is legal, but bump and run coverage is alive and well.


As a [a practical matter, the bump and run is illegal. In the old days, the CB would engage at the line of scrimmage, and would become an anchor for the receiver to have to deal with for a full 10 yards. That extra 5 yards was huge. You can't possibly recall how effective it was. Bump and run does not currently exist. Those of us who watched the game in the 60's and 70's know this.

I watched in the '60s and '70s (though probably didn't really understand what I was watching in the '60s), but I also remember a couple of years back when a G-strings corner took Moss completely out of the game. He got so frustrated he eventually slapped the player on the helmet and drew a 15-yard, unsportsmanlike penalty. Just because you don't see it much in today's game doesn't mean it's illegal. I will grant you that the extra five yards makes a huge difference, though.


I think he did more than just slapping the player on the helmet..

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Postby Countertrey » Mon May 07, 2012 12:19 pm

Deadskins wrote:
Countertrey wrote:
Deadskins wrote:The bump and run isn't illegal. They shortened the distance (from 10 yards to five) where contact is legal, but bump and run coverage is alive and well.


As a [a practical matter, the bump and run is illegal. In the old days, the CB would engage at the line of scrimmage, and would become an anchor for the receiver to have to deal with for a full 10 yards. That extra 5 yards was huge. You can't possibly recall how effective it was. Bump and run does not currently exist. Those of us who watched the game in the 60's and 70's know this.

I watched in the '60s and '70s (though probably didn't really understand what I was watching in the '60s), but I also remember a couple of years back when a G-strings corner took Moss completely out of the game. He got so frustrated he eventually slapped the player on the helmet and drew a 15-yard, unsportsmanlike penalty. Just because you don't see it much in today's game doesn't mean it's illegal. I will grant you that the extra five yards makes a huge difference, though.


Again, as a practical matter, the CB basically has 3-4 yards in which he can hit the receiver. Anything beyond that is a flag. This means that you will generally get ONE shot at a receiver. What was done to Moss is EXTREMELY rare these days... and, really, only applies to very small receivers. You really don't dare engage mose receivers like that, because you may not be able to disengage at 5 yards.... with means a flag.


The bottom line is, this rule change had a huge impact on the game. While not "technically" making the tactic illegal, as a practical matter, it made the tactic pointless, with some rare exceptions. Clearly, the Giants identified that it would work on 'tana on that occasion... note that it has not worked since. 'tana apparently got coached up on defeating it... else, it would have become the book on neutralizing Moss.
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Postby Mississippiskinsfan2 » Mon May 07, 2012 12:39 pm

Mississippiskinsfan2 wrote:
Deadskins wrote:
Countertrey wrote:
Deadskins wrote:The bump and run isn't illegal. They shortened the distance (from 10 yards to five) where contact is legal, but bump and run coverage is alive and well.


As a [a practical matter, the bump and run is illegal. In the old days, the CB would engage at the line of scrimmage, and would become an anchor for the receiver to have to deal with for a full 10 yards. That extra 5 yards was huge. You can't possibly recall how effective it was. Bump and run does not currently exist. Those of us who watched the game in the 60's and 70's know this.

I watched in the '60s and '70s (though probably didn't really understand what I was watching in the '60s), but I also remember a couple of years back when a G-strings corner took Moss completely out of the game. He got so frustrated he eventually slapped the player on the helmet and drew a 15-yard, unsportsmanlike penalty. Just because you don't see it much in today's game doesn't mean it's illegal. I will grant you that the extra five yards makes a huge difference, though.


I think he did more than just slapping the player on the helmet..


I think Moss"s helmet got pulled off on that play and the corner ended up on the ground or something like that. Moss was throwing punches at the corner who still had his helmet on.

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Postby Deadskins » Mon May 07, 2012 12:49 pm

Countertrey wrote:
Deadskins wrote:
Countertrey wrote:
Deadskins wrote:The bump and run isn't illegal. They shortened the distance (from 10 yards to five) where contact is legal, but bump and run coverage is alive and well.


As a [a practical matter, the bump and run is illegal. In the old days, the CB would engage at the line of scrimmage, and would become an anchor for the receiver to have to deal with for a full 10 yards. That extra 5 yards was huge. You can't possibly recall how effective it was. Bump and run does not currently exist. Those of us who watched the game in the 60's and 70's know this.

I watched in the '60s and '70s (though probably didn't really understand what I was watching in the '60s), but I also remember a couple of years back when a G-strings corner took Moss completely out of the game. He got so frustrated he eventually slapped the player on the helmet and drew a 15-yard, unsportsmanlike penalty. Just because you don't see it much in today's game doesn't mean it's illegal. I will grant you that the extra five yards makes a huge difference, though.


Again, as a practical matter, the CB basically has 3-4 yards in which he can hit the receiver. Anything beyond that is a flag. This means that you will generally get ONE shot at a receiver. What was done to Moss is EXTREMELY rare these days... and, really, only applies to very small receivers. You really don't dare engage mose receivers like that, because you may not be able to disengage at 5 yards.... with means a flag.


The bottom line is, this rule change had a huge impact on the game. While not "technically" making the tactic illegal, as a practical matter, it made the tactic pointless, with some rare exceptions. Clearly, the Giants identified that it would work on 'tana on that occasion... note that it has not worked since. 'tana apparently got coached up on defeating it... else, it would have become the book on neutralizing Moss.

I can agree with everything you're saying but I also think that there are other factors involved rather than just the extra five yards. I think Deion Sanders lack of physicality, leading to the term "cover corner," and glorifying his style of play had as much to do with the change. Corners just aren't cut from the same cloth in today's game. They are all looking to get by on their speed and ability to stay close to the receiver and break on the ball after it's thrown. It's rare for one to offer run support like they did back in the day.
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Postby Countertrey » Mon May 07, 2012 3:06 pm

I hear you. But, the change was the direct result of a rule change in the mid 1970's... had nothing to do with Deion. It was a deliberate attempt to increase big plays. The reality is, corners who thrived in the bump and run tended to be akin to a wrecking ball in comparison to Deion's tack hammer. They were nasty, relatively non-athletic (in comparison), and grumpy. Some were fast... but many made up for a lack of speed with a bad attitude. The game lost a lot when these players were made obsolete.

Reed Doughty, for example, would have made an excellent bump and run corner, where attention to detail and pure tenacity trumped athleticism. Today, he's just a guy that the team can't seem to cut, no matter how badly they want to.
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