NFL players are similar to zombies. They are playing football carelessly, they are not thinking about what consequences they may have to face. NFL players are taking so many colossal hits, that when a player get injured, fans are almost like “it’s, alright it’s normal.” Injuries are becoming directly related with football. However, there are still players that believe that the NFL is too soft, and need more boundaries and rules.
During a Steelers versus Bengals game last year, Andy Dalton was getting ready to snap the ball. Dalton snapped the ball, and the Steelers sent a heavy blitz. Tyler Eifert was running a streak route. Dalton attempted to throw him the football; he tried to bullet the ball, and was not close. Eifert dove for the ball with every ounce of his energy. While on the other end Mike Mitchell was getting ready to make a tackle. When Eifert dove, Mitchell hit him in the head. The hit looked brutal and disastrous. Mitchell was called for the flag, and was later fined. Eifert, Dalton, the Bengals, and the fans thought the play was dirty.
However, Mike Mitchell never talked about the play until recently in a post game interview. Mitchell told reporters, “Andy Dalton threw a ball to Tyler Eifert two years ago. Tyler Eifert had to dive for it. I was aiming for his gut, but if he don't dive he don't get hit in the head. That's 50 grand out of my pocket though because Andy throws a bad ball.” Mitchell continued saying “Now I got guys like Matt Hasselbeck calling me a dirty player and trying my character and we've never met before.”
Mitchell tried to help his team, but was wrongfully penalized. Although some players believe the NFL is overprotective and others believe that it is too dangerous, the NFL need a strict set of boundaries, to ensure players safety. No targeting. No intentional head to head hits. No extremely unnecessary roughness. No illegal hits.
The NFL needs limitations and rules for player safety. A vicious hit after the play is over, should result in a four or five game suspension. If a player attempts a block during the play, and it goes wrong he should not be suspended for more than two games. A player who intentionally tries to injure someone on purpose should have more consequences than a player who is just doing his job and makes a mistake.
Rob Gronkowski, a tight end for the Patriots, drove his shoulder into Tre'Davious White’s head. He received a one game suspension for the act. JuJu Smith-Schuster attempted a block on Vontaze Burfict. He hit him in the head, in attempt at a block. He also received a one game suspension. After learning that Gronkowski received a one game suspension, White called it a ‘joke.’ However, Gronkowski did it intentionally, and Smith-Shuster he tried to make a block. “I have a son to raise. People don't think about that when they react." Mike Mitchell also told reporters, “There needs to be a set guideline of how we do what we do. There's no way where I see two people get post-play penalties, post-play infractions that don't have to do with football and you get the same suspension as a guy that is making a football play in a football game. It's absolutely absurd.”
Players are getting seriously injured. The NFL tried to limit the number of times a player gets a head injury. However, players are still having all kinds of head injuries. Concussions, it seems as if it’s a major injury, however in the NFL, concussions would be considered a small injury. In 2015, there were 275 concussions. That was a 31 percent increase from 2014. Concussions many times do not lead to worse consequences. However, concussions can lead to a very severe brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Aaron Hernandez, a former tight end for the New England Patriots, had his brain researched after his death. Dr. Ann McKee, the director of the CTE Center at Boston University, had found that he had a severe case of C.T.E. He had stage three C.T.E. Hernandez had all this happen to him in just three years. McKee also did another research with 202 brains of deceased football players, out of those there were 111 brains from players from the NFL. She found that 110 of those players had chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The brains are from people from the ages 23 all the way to 89.
Many league officials are throwing the thought that there is a link between and football and C.T.E. right out of the door. Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, has completely rejected this thought. Steve Almond a former NFL fan, wrote a book about how football is immoral to watch. At first, Almond saw how players were getting injured, and Junior Seau committed suicide. However, he continued to watch. Later, his mother suffered very serious brain damage, although she recovered, this was the moment Almond realized that he had to do something about it. In his book he wrote, NFL players will not stop playing football because they are greedy for money. He said the same thing about the owners of teams. Almond said it is our jobs, as the fans, to stop watching football. He wrote, “it is immoral to watch a sport that causes brain damage.”
The NFL needs to imply strict rules to ensure players safety. There are many various rules they should imply, and force into action. No targeting. No head to head hits. No illegal hits. No extreme contact. No post-play contact. People need to take a stand against the current player safety policies. The players need to become more aware of the risk they are taking. NFL players need to wake up; right now they are almost like zombies in the NZL.