For some, it is a way of life—a religion. Teeter tottering between sobriety and indigestion, football Sunday–or simply referred to as Game Day–is church for the diehard, where homes become cathedrals and big-screen TVs are shrines of prayer.
When Joe Namath signed the first million-dollar contract the fuse was lit and professional football would explode and crumble baseball’s pedestal as America’s favorite pastime. But beyond the glory days of the National Football League are darker, more ominous times. A day may come when America’s gridiron guardian’s will stand by and watch while white war paint is stripped from the fields of our coliseums. Jerseys will be packed off to museums and helmets will go cold while pigskin picketers pray for mercy. The rapture is coming. The end of football is nigh.
Professional football’s sustainability has come into question. Popularity and cultural significance aside, health risks associated with the NFL have revealed serious integrity flaws deeply rooted in the core structure of this corporate giant. Concussion and brain related injuries have toppled the clumsy giant in its track.
More than 4,200 retired NFL players have filed a class action lawsuit against the league for deliberately concealing the dangers of head injuries. Although the league has attempted to dismiss some of the allegations and judges will decide the case, evidence of the health risks are well-documented. While the suit is still under litigation, findings in favor of the retired players would be catastrophic to the league as more veterans will pursue justice for the long-term damage done to their bodies and brains.
Parents around the country — even in states like Texas and Florida where peewee football is a right of passage for young boys — are beginning to say no.
Medical professionals and even former NFL players have publicly stated that football is too dangerous for young kids and should be banned in high school immediately.
A retired New Hampshire physician said the call to action to ban high school football is not drastic and predicted the end of football is inevitable.
“We have the moral imperative to at least begin the process to ending this game,” said Dr. Paul Butler to ABC News. “The literature is clear, this is a dangerous game for children to be playing.”
Banning high school football would surely seal the fate of the sport, as the production of players would come to an immediate halt, etching the final R.I.P. on the NFL’s tombstone. Football will go the way of gladiators, jousting and dueling – “sports” that withered as sophistication increased and tolerance for maiming other human beings decreased.
In recent years the NFL has reluctantly acknowledged the health risks and attempted to make the game safer for those risking their bodies. Fining players for dirty hits with the helmet, seeking equipment technology and launching a campaign to re-teach the fundamentals in the pigskin youth stages are steps the NFL is taking to create a safer environment.
Given the tragedies of Andre Waters, Junior Seau and others, the league has its back against the wall and unless a miracle occurs those diehard football fanatics will have to find another way spend Sundays