Sept. 30, 2016 – Can Injuries Ever be an Excuse for Losing?

In the NFL, injuries aren’t supposed to matter. They’re not supposed to be a reason, an excuse, for losing. If you’re a player on a team in the National Football League you’re expected to be ready to play, to compete. If a starter gets hurt it’s next man up. That player is expected to come in and play just like the starter. But, they’re not a starter for a reason. They don’t get practice time like a starter. Is it fair or sensible to say injuries don’t matter?

The theory is if you’re good enough to be on the team that is all that matters.The thinking is that a team, a good team, a smart team, will only have individuals on the roster that can help the team to win. That if the starter goes down, no one will notice anything changed in regards to the play on the field and the results. The only thing different is the number on his jersey. The expectation of the Coach and General Manager is they have put together a team full of “starters” so it’s an even trade when an injury occurs. Is this reality? Very rarely.

For some teams, very few teams, this is how it works. Player down, next man up, no worries. For most teams, it spells disaster when a key starter goes down, their quarterback for example. Most of the time when this happens, the wind is sucked out of the team and their fans. Unless of course you’re Bill Belechick in New England where he’s 6-0 with rookie starting quarterbacks. What? That’s crazy!

Let’s face it, the fans know when one player goes down you can probably survive, unless it’s your quarterback, two down, it’s questionable, three or more, it’s time to study college football’s best players and start counting down to the draft.

Follow me on Twitter @aFootballdiary

Sept. 28, 2016 – Why are so many Players getting hurt?

Is it me or does it seem like there are MORE injuries in the NFL than in the past? The most recent collective bargaining agreement, signed in 2011, made major changes to the way teams practiced during the off season, training camp, and during the regular season. There are less days with pads and no two a day practices. Is this why there are so many injuries? Did the agreement actually hurt players when it was meant to make the game safer and have less injuries? Are players not “game” ready when kickoff comes?

Concussions are down which is a great thing. But is that due to simply changes made in the rules to attempt to decrease concussions? Players aren’t allowed to hit or basically play defense the way we knew it years ago. It’s changed incredibly just in the years, ok, decades, I’ve been watching. Many of the old time players can’t believe how much it’s changed. Football as we knew it is long gone.

So if it’s supposed to be safer why are there so many injuries? Players now practice mainly without using pads so they’re not really hitting each other. Now I agree during practice you can’t have players of the same team hitting each other like in a game cause you sure don’t want your own team member to take out another player. But players have to be somewhat in shape and ready to take the hits before the game. Should there be more days in pads? I’d like to research and see how the number of injuries now really compares to the number say in the 60’s and 70’s when training camp was brutal and defense was about taking a guy out. I mean could Dick Butkus and Ed O’Branovich play the game today with all the changes? Would they want to play it?

So with so many players going down, can it be used as an excuse for losing? Stay tuned.

Follow me on Twitter @aFootballdiary