The fact that football is a dangerous game isn’t exactly new. As far back as 1860, universities such as Yale banned the sport due to its natural violence. Still, football continued onward, and 45 years later, in 1905, there were 19 fatalities nationwide, inducing clamoring for some sort of reform. Since then, various modifications have been made along the way, from the advent of thigh pads to moving kickoffs up to the 35-yard line, but it remains evident that football isn’t safe, and never will be, despite any new helmet technologies that might arise. Thus, expecting a real decrease in head injuries by teaching proper tackling techniques or something of the sort is entirely unrealistic.
Just as one can take a tiger out of the jungle, but can’t take the jungle out of the tiger, one can try to water down the contact in football, but the naturally occurring violence is impossible to remove.
Changing small things here and there like kickoff distances, or restricting how hard a quarterback can be hit (Ahmad Brooks knows this too well after the 49ers vs. Saints game on Nov. 17), is entirely unproductive.
If the football-obsessed American public is really serious about curbing the number of head injuries sustained by players, the real way to do so would be to entirely change the way football is played. This would entail essentially eradicating tackling, which obviously would be unpopular with even the most casual of football fans. A more dramatic risk, of course, that would be run, if the proposal of changing traditional football to a flag variation went forward, is that footballmad states like Texas would secede from the Union. That would do more good than harm, however, for the simple reason that it would remove the burden of Ted Cruz and Rick Perry from the nation’s conscience.
On the other hand, America, as the football-obsessed nation it is, could collectively say “screw it,” and football could continue as it has in years past, though fans will constantly be forced to wonder who the next Junior Seau will be.