By Shane Tidrick
Football is a game designed by brilliant minds and played in barbaric fashion. It’s a not a sport for the timid. It’s a place where civil unrest is encouraged, violence is endeared, and blood lusts are satisfied. It’s where man and beast become one, and where rage fuels performance. With all of this come horrific injuries, and from that comes upheaval. The game of football has come under fire for it’s own ingenious design, and for too long those who orchestrate the game have been unsure as to how to preserve it.
Concern from EVERY angle
From concerned parents at the Pop Warner level to former pros filing lawsuits against the NFL, the game of football as a whole has come under some serious scrutiny in regards to player safety, especially when dealing with the cause and consequences of concussions. The problem has been addressed, but not necessarily fixed. How do you make the game safer, while keeping the entertainment value at its all time high? Finding a clear cut, black and white solution has proven to be incredibly difficult. Unfortunately for commissioner Roger Goodell, all eyes have been on his leadership to help solve the dilemma, as the NFL is at the top of the football food chain and he at the top of the NFL.
“Boom!” John Madden’s idea
Legendary Super Bowl winning head coach and all around football guru John Madden mastered the idea of creating an instructional video featuring high profile NFL players. Who better to star in such a video than the team that boasts football’s best defense and a head coach that has been successful at both the pro and college levels? The Seattle Seahawks and Coach Pete Carroll got the nod, the video was shot with an emphasis on “heads up” tackling, and is now being distributed to high school football programs across the country (some 14,000).
Spreading the word via video
The emphasis of the video is to eliminate leading with the crown of the head when hitting an offensive player, and to instead use the shoulder as the initial point of contact. The first hit shown in the video is a vicious blow on WR Brian Robiskie, compliments of DS Earl Thomas. From an editing stand point this was a brilliant way to start this enlightening video, showing an emphatic hit that didn’t even come close to being considered dangerous. It’s an attention grabber, an immediate reminder that the Seahawks defense is not to be taken lightly. Why not receive tips on proper hitting from a group of guys commonly referred to as “The Legion Of Boom”?
It’s important that steps like these are taken by the NFL, as it will help create a ripple affect throughout the country. Change always starts from the top. I fully expect to see, sooner rather than later, football players of all ages and skill levels tackling as effectively as before, but in a much safer manner. This instructional video is only one small step, but an abundantly important and clear one. The cries have been heard and solutions are being worked on and presented to coaches and players across the country. Progressive thinking such as this will ease the nerves of cautious parents, instilling trust back into the NFL and the game of football.
And ironically it will be the power of the brain, the very thing the league is trying to protect, that will save and strengthen the game of football.