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Rick Reilly: 'Football getting harder to watch'

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    It's nice to see an old master bring it when passion strikes him.


    I see too much sorrow and ugliness now to love football like I used to.

    I read the filthy and racist transcript of voice mails between one Miami Dolphin and another and am told bullying is "part of the culture." Or lack thereof. I read about players like the late Chiefs LB Jovan Belcher, twisted inside his violent life, and yet not one NFL team has a full-time psychiatrist on staff.

    I read the suicide obits of former Bears defensive back Dave Duerson, age 50, and former Chargers linebacker Junior Seau, 43, and I can't help but notice Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson is 95, San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos 90, and Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford 88. Good for them. They were lucky enough to get in on the luxury box side of the business, not the pine box.

    Now, the guilt gnaws at me a little as I watch.
  2. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    I'd agree on the NFL, not the sport as a whole.
  3. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    Not a big fan of the anecdotal argument. There are plenty of ex-NFL players who live as long as the owners he mentioned. Ace Parker just died at 101. Art Donovan was 89. Chuck Bednarik is still around at 88, Y.A. Tittle is 87, Gino Marchetti is 86, Doug Atkins and Frank Gifford are 83, etc.

    You want to tell me NFL players die younger than the general population? Show me the statistics, then humanize it with anecdotes. As it is, a 2012 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health showed the opposite.

  4. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    Stupid facts.
  5. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    That study draws from people who played as far back as 1959. It's useless for or against the arguments Reilly is making. Would love to see the data of players from the last three decades. In particular, you'd have to think the numbers would be dramatically different based on this part of the study: Players with a Body Mass Index of 30 or more during their playing careers had twice the risk of death from heart disease compared to other players, confirming traditional concerns about the effects of obesity.

    Really, any study about player health and safety that comes from or is pushed by the NFL can be disregarded immediately. We should all know that by now.
  6. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    1. If 90-year-old players aren't the issue -- and do we really believe players were at much less risk for concussion in the leather helmet/no facemask days? -- Reilly shouldn't be using 90-year-old owners as the comparison.

    2. The study was a follow up to a 1994 study requested by the NFLPA -- which had similar results: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/pdfs/nflfactsheet.pdf. And the NFL has bought off NIOSH, a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control? Really?

    3. You are correct that bigger players are more likely than other players to die of heart disease. That's because they're bigger and bulkier, which tends to increase the risk of heart disease. But as the USA Today story pointed out, "Even so, NIOSH concluded in the study that the risk of dying of heart disease for the retirees as an overall group is lower than that for the general population."
  7. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Pro Football Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Joe DeLamielleure, and former NFL All-Pro Leonard Marshall have been diagnosed as having signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative condition many scientists say is caused by head trauma and linked to depression and dementia, doctors have told "Outside the Lines."

  8. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    But the study still includes all players back to 1959, joe.

    And hell yeah I think there are more concussions now. Players are 30 percent bigger and 30 percent faster. F = ma.
  9. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    More people are diagnosed with concussions now because doctors have a much better understanding of what's going on and what to look for. But players were constantly "getting their bell rung" back then. Equipment is many times better now. Defensive players routinely head-hunted (look up Hardy Brown or Ed "The Claw" Sprinkle sometime). And the rules didn't protect players at all.
  10. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    Wait, first you said the fact that the study includes players back to 1959 makes it useless regarding Reilly's arguments. So I don't get what this means.
  11. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Right. You posted it again and I renewed my objection. It's the same point.
  12. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    I was addressing your points.

    I see on that last one, you were saying you believe a study among more recent players would bring the heart disease number higher which would bring up the overall death rate. That, however, is pure conjecture at this point.

    The first two, as noted, were direct answers to points you made. If a study of older players is useless, then Reilly shouldn't be telling me, "Look at the 90-year-old owners!" Because the players who are or would be that age apparently aren't dying off any faster than anyone else.

    And the study was neither conducted nor pushed by the NFL. It was conducted by NIOSH, part of the Centers for Disease Control, and was pushed by the NFL Players Association.
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