Suicide squeeze

I am an unapologetic fan of violent, contact sports. I have wonderful memories of being a participant in violent, contact sports. On the rugby teams I played for, I was usually the guy tasked with bringing both the violence and the contact to the other team. These sports are fun to play. They are fun to watch. But, predictably, that violence takes a toll on the human body.

The recent murder of Kasandra Perkins and subsequent suicide of her killer, NFL player Jovan Belcher has focused new attention on the risk of violent behavior/suicide in these athletes. So much so that Major League Baseball is reportedly working on a program to help identify troubled athletes and get them help before things go really wrong. This sounds like a good thing (provided it is executed well), but wait…did you say MLB? As in baseball? Continue reading “Suicide squeeze”

Those poor bastards

 

Here are my thoughts on the Seahawks-Packers Hail Mary refereeing controversy (as if you really cared):

  • Live & at full speed, my first thought was “simultaneous possession”.
  • Former NFL cornerback Eric Davis makes a solid argument for “simultaneous possession” even after slow motion replay. The vagaries of “control” versus “catch” seem key here.
  • Has anyone in NFL history ever called offensive pass interference on a Hail Mary?
  • Home field advantage is mostly due to unconscious bias on part of referees responding to the angry mob screaming at them (ie, the crowd). No way that call was getting overturned in Seattle.
  • Referees are people, error prone humans, trying very hard to a very, very hard job well. The replacements are trying to do this with everyone hating them and expecting them to fail.
  •  Replacement referees aren’t incompetent. They are inexperienced at this level of play.
  • That inexperience could have important implications for player safety.
  • Replacements struggle to manage games because players/coaches don’t respect them, know them, or believe there are long-term consequences to their relationships.
  • The replacement referees aren’t responsible for the situation. The NFL and the regular referees are, but mostly the NFL.
  • It’s just football, folks.

 

Fixing football

This is a repost of an article that originally appeared at The Paltry Sapien on 10 August 2012.

American football. Not proper football. We already fixed that once. We call it rugby.

Speaking of which, we were at a dinner party when the subject of my rugby career was brought up (not by me). A discussion about surviving a full contact sport without padding (don’t hit with your head and hit with forces below the physiological limits of the human body) transitioned into a discussion of how to reduce debilitating injuries in American football.

In the presence of a rugger, people like to suggest getting rid of the helmets and pads. It is the pads that allow American football to be so violent1. You could reduce the violence and, therefore, the injuries by getting rid of pads; but that’s not going to happen. American football is a violent sport. The fans like the violence. The players like the violence.

And, helmets and pads are necessary for the single most important element of modern American football: the forward pass.

Continue reading “Fixing football”

Fixing football at The Paltry Sapien

After a hiatus to move my family back across the Atlantic, I’ve got a new post up at The Paltry Sapien in which I lay out my proposal for fixing American football.

Prior to the NFL draft, pre-season training camp, and a player’s return after a concussion, NFL doctors will determine the medical eligibility of a player. Essentially, this has the NFL set the list of players that are available for teams to employ. The NFL has an economic incentive to declare players at risk of long-term issues from repetitive injuries (especially concussions) ineligible.

Read the rest at The Paltry Sapien.