// you’re reading...

Life Lessons

Is the Sport of Football Dying?

A few years ago, a friend of mine predicted that the sport of American football would disappear within a generation or so.

This friend, a sport psychologist, said a growing awareness of concussions would lead parents to keep their children away from the game.

Evidence is growing to help his claim. An August episode of ESPN”s “Outside the Lines” said that 57 percent of parents are less likely to let their children play football.

Besides  losing support at the grass roots, football is suffering attrition at its top level. Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Bud Shaw writes that you might not recognize football within five or 10 years.

After a week in which four NFL quarterbacks — Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, San Francisco’s Alex Smith, Chicago’s Jay Cutler and Philadelphia’s Michael Vick — were injured, Shaw sees a chance for drastic rule changes to keep this vital position safe. He also mentions a new look for kickoffs and punt returns.

Most of all, Shaw looks at the culture in which any change toward safely is seen as unmanly. He recalls an exchange involving linebacker Jack Lambert, who had been called into the office of then-commissioner Pete Rozelle after a hit on quarterback Brian Sipe.

“He said I hit Sipe too hard,” Lambert related.

“Did you?” he was asked.

“I hit him as hard as I could.”

The issue of football’s role in society came to mind recently on Homecoming Day at the school where I coach. The field hockey, soccer and volleyball teams all played, followed by the football team.

Next to the football field was something not present at any of the other events — an ambulance.

Think about this for a moment. Is it really a good idea to have a high school activity in which an ambulance must be on call?

*** *** *** ***

Would you like to improve at what you do? “The Improvement Factor: How Winners Turn Practice into Success” can show you how! Are you a coach? “Ten Things Great Coaches Know” can make you a better one. Looking for motivation? Read “Thank God You’re Lazy!: The Instant Cure for What’s Holding You Back.”


No comments for “Is the Sport of Football Dying?”

Post a comment