With the giant public microscope dangling over every NFL head injury, people are looking for solutions to prevent lifelong health problems. So, a national poll of 1,003 adults was conducted by Robert Morris University from October 23 until November 1, in which people were surveyed whether they supported a ban on youth tackle football.
The results revealed a profound new stance in Americans towards our violent game and how its being perceived by many. Of the males surveyed with football experience, 38.2% supported a ban before high school and 44.3% were in favor of a tackling ban before middle school.
Now, I’m not supporting kids with still developing brains to use their bodies as a precisely focused missile in the name of some meaningless Pop Warner game. Nor am I calling for grammar school kids to be leading with their heads in hopes of experiencing real cliche driven “smash-mouth” football. But, banning tackle football before high school is literally changing the way the game is played.
Everyone remembers T-Ball, right? The coach put the ball on the tee, you smashed the ball, you were a hero. Strike that, everyone was a hero and if you struggled mightily with the stationery plastic tube, baseball was most definitely not your sport. But, let’s say T-ball lasted until you were 14 years-old. You never faced a live pitch. Suddenly, as a skinny wide-eyed freshman, 80 mph fastballs and curveballs are flying toward you at a speed only seen on television.
An integral part of the game can’t be barred until a certain age and then added at the drop of a hat. That’s not fair to a participant or the integrity of what the game stands for.
With that being said, I don’t have all the answers.
As brutal and dangerous a game football is, it’s just as popular and profitable. And while Roger Goodell and NFL execs are trying their damnedest to wash their hands clean of lawsuits and books like League of Denial, they still remain steadfast on extending the regular season with more games.
Football needs to change the way they operate, but changing the game isn’t the solution.