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hawaiiansteel
06-01-2010, 01:30 AM
Starkey: Football needs a timeout

By Joe Starkey, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, May 30, 2010


http://files.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2010-05-29/0530stwoodley-a.jpg


LaMarr Woodley
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review file





I like football as much as the next guy, but this is getting ridiculous.

It's beyond ridiculous, actually.

It's abusive.

I'm talking about the proliferation of games and practices on all levels, from pee-wees to the pros.

Let's start at the top. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell claims to be deeply concerned about long-term health issues facing players, including the persistent concussion problem. Yet, the Commish continues to endorse the idea of expanding an already brutal 16-game regular season, perhaps to 18 games.

If adding two games seems insignificant, consider that it would be the equivalent of adding 10 games to the NHL season or 20 to the Major League Baseball season. It's two more days of car-wreck collisions, any one of which could end a career.

Players, of course, will listen if it means more money, but as Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley told me: "It ain't about the money if you get hurt."

Think about this: Players must play three seasons plus three games to become vested, and that only guarantees five years of post-career health insurance. As players' union excutive director DeMaurice Smith told The Charlotte Observer: "Adding two more games will now add eight more barriers to a guy being able to get just five years of health care."

Goodell and his bosses - the team owners - should be ashamed. This would be nothing more than a money grab, owners raking in cash from fans and television networks at the expense of player welfare.

Laughably, Goodell says the whole thing would be about rewarding fans with a better product. Two preseason games, the thinking goes, might be dropped in favor of the two additional regular-season games - as if the exhibitions are any worse than meaningless late-season games where teams rest starters for the playoffs.

Won't it be fun to see the Colts start 14-0 and rest their starters for four games instead of two?

And how about the prospect of wearing down the work force to the point where the playoffs become a lesser product?

It's no better in college football, where the NCAA claims to be so concerned about the academic welfare of its "student-athletes" that it won't endorse a major-college playoff, yet it voted to add a 12th regular-season game four years ago. That meant some teams would play 14 games, including a conference championship and a bowl game.

More league championships are on the way, to a bloated conference near you.

Don't even get me started on the sick joke that is spring football. As I watched Pitt's spring game last month, I couldn't help but think, why is Dion Lewis on a football field shedding tacklers in the middle of April?

Last we'd seen of Lewis, he was carrying the ball a combined 73 times in the final two games of the season. Does he really need to be absorbing hits in April? Does any college running back?

The pros don't hit during the spring. Why should the colleges?

Local high school teams would be smashing each other silly for no reason every spring, too, if the coaches had their way. The Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association wants to add spring football to a year-round docket that already includes, you know, a season that runs from August into December.

Thankfully, PIAA executive director Brad Cashman and the state board won't even put the issue of spring football to a vote. Cashman says it's a non-starter because it would rob other spring sports of athletes.

I asked Cashman if he would still be opposed to the idea if it didn't interfere with other sports. He said less so. But he also said he wouldn't like the notion of holding spring football after all those sports had completed their seasons because "you'd be taking away from kids' vacations."

Vacations? Who has a time for a vacation?

I say we start the season in June and play twice a week 'til May.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 83719.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_683719.html)

papillon
06-01-2010, 07:02 AM
Personally, I would like to see them reduce the season by two games, one pre-season and one regular season game. The Super Bowl would be Played in January and there shouildn't be any OTAs, practice, team meetings, etc until after the draft and then only in shorts, no hitting.

The season is too long (even though I enjoy watching); I'd rather see healthier players and better games (in theory) by eliminating some games.

Pappy

flippy
06-01-2010, 07:05 AM
Why start treating football players like human beings now?

stlrz d
06-01-2010, 07:35 AM
Personally, I would like to see them reduce the season by two games, one pre-season and one regular season game. The Super Bowl would be Played in January and there shouildn't be any OTAs, practice, team meetings, etc until after the draft and then only in shorts, no hitting.

The season is too long (even though I enjoy watching); I'd rather see healthier players and better games (in theory) by eliminating some games.

Pappy

+1

slashsteel
06-01-2010, 07:57 AM
I am not in favor of shortening the season. And if we really want to pick how about how much money these players make? Seriously they make a lot more than the average joe. They know risks come with those rewards. And the NFL has added safety equipment and added rules to safeguard players moreso than in the past.

No I dont want the season extended either. It is rigorous. If you want to take a preseason game away or two I could live with that.

I think if it isnt broke dont fix it. With things that I have mentioned yearly things seem to be going fairly smoothly. Shorten the season and you would still get injuries it is a physical game. It can happen on any given play.

I bet you if you mention shortening the season as long as they could shorten the paychecks. Those players would stand up and vote against the idea.

There is even more dangerous jobs out there that pay less in america. There is no outcry to give those people more pay or less hours.

No sorry these players know the good and bads of being in the NFL. For me leave it as it is.....

Mister Pittsburgh
06-01-2010, 09:11 AM
They should expand the rosters to allow for more specialists and more room to groom players. I agree too that I wouldn't mind the season shortened by 2 preseason games and a reg season game or two.

Oviedo
06-01-2010, 09:39 AM
Here is Florida, they have spring practices and games and it really isn't an issue. They balance it very well with kids doing other sports. It's no coincidence that Florida has passed just about everyone in college prospects. Kids in Florida are better prepared.

Not sure they ever will do away with OTAs because they are the only time you have to develop and get looks at younger players. Preseason becomes getting consumed with prepping for the regular season.

As far as the NFL, I have no issue with someone who at a minimum gets paid several hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary being expected to work all 12 months like someone who gets paid $50K per year.

flippy
06-01-2010, 09:49 AM
They should expand the rosters to allow for more specialists and more room to groom players. I agree too that I wouldn't mind the season shortened by 2 preseason games and a reg season game or two.

I'd also be for expanding the number of players that can dress/play.

It'd be interesting to see what would happen. Would you dress more ST players? KO specialist? KR/PR specialist? or would you add more pass rushers?

Oviedo
06-01-2010, 09:56 AM
They should expand the rosters to allow for more specialists and more room to groom players. I agree too that I wouldn't mind the season shortened by 2 preseason games and a reg season game or two.

I'd also be for expanding the number of players that can dress/play.

It'd be interesting to see what would happen. Would you dress more ST players? KO specialist? KR/PR specialist? or would you add more pass rushers?

I think that they should expand the size of the practice squads and make them two-tier. A number of the players on the PS should be "exclusive" which means that they cannot be signed away and the other part should be "non exclusive."

I'd also like to see gameday rosters expanded. I always thought it was stupid to have a cap at 45 players.

cruzer8
06-01-2010, 10:10 AM
Here is Florida, they have spring practices and games and it really isn't an issue. They balance it very well with kids doing other sports. It's no coincidence that Florida has passed just about everyone in college prospects. Kids in Florida are better prepared.

Not sure they ever will do away with OTAs because they are the only time you have to develop and get looks at younger players. Preseason becomes getting consumed with prepping for the regular season.

As far as the NFL, I have no issue with someone who at a minimum gets paid several hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary being expected to work all 12 months like someone who gets paid $50K per year.

No one's getting paid $50k/year to be a crash test dummy though.

Oviedo
06-01-2010, 10:49 AM
Here is Florida, they have spring practices and games and it really isn't an issue. They balance it very well with kids doing other sports. It's no coincidence that Florida has passed just about everyone in college prospects. Kids in Florida are better prepared.

Not sure they ever will do away with OTAs because they are the only time you have to develop and get looks at younger players. Preseason becomes getting consumed with prepping for the regular season.

As far as the NFL, I have no issue with someone who at a minimum gets paid several hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary being expected to work all 12 months like someone who gets paid $50K per year.

No one's getting paid $50k/year to be a crash test dummy though.

Soldiers are in Afghanistan getting paid less than $30K per year and working 24/7 for 18 month deployments. Sort of puts it in perspective doesn't it.

If any football player thinks he is being asked to do too much he has the option to use that free college education that was given to him and do something else.

ramblinjim
06-01-2010, 11:21 AM
I'm surprised the NFL doesn't have some sort of Developmental League of sorts that plays outside of the NFL season. Kind of like a farm system in baseball. This would give some of those second tier guys (remember Mike Lorello) a little time to develop and it would give us fans something to freak out about during the off-season. The Arena League, the short fields and the no defense just doesn't cut it for me but I'm one of those weird guys that likes to see a 10-7 ball game....

Oviedo
06-01-2010, 11:45 AM
I'm surprised the NFL doesn't have some sort of Developmental League of sorts that plays outside of the NFL season. Kind of like a farm system in baseball. This would give some of those second tier guys (remember Mike Lorello) a little time to develop and it would give us fans something to freak out about during the off-season. The Arena League, the short fields and the no defense just doesn't cut it for me but I'm one of those weird guys that likes to see a 10-7 ball game....

They tried that with NFL Europe. They view colleges as their minor league system because it costs them absolutley nothing.

cruzer8
06-01-2010, 01:43 PM
Here is Florida, they have spring practices and games and it really isn't an issue. They balance it very well with kids doing other sports. It's no coincidence that Florida has passed just about everyone in college prospects. Kids in Florida are better prepared.

Not sure they ever will do away with OTAs because they are the only time you have to develop and get looks at younger players. Preseason becomes getting consumed with prepping for the regular season.

As far as the NFL, I have no issue with someone who at a minimum gets paid several hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary being expected to work all 12 months like someone who gets paid $50K per year.

No one's getting paid $50k/year to be a crash test dummy though.

Soldiers are in Afghanistan getting paid less than $30K per year and working 24/7 for 18 month deployments. Sort of puts it in perspective doesn't it.

If any football player thinks he is being asked to do too much he has the option to use that free college education that was given to him and do something else.

I have yet to speak with a soldier who is in it for the salary. Weak argument.

Basically, your philosophy is because they are getting paid large amounts of money we fans should have no regard for their physical well being?

Aren't you against PEDs because of the potential harm they may cause?

A bit contradictory, isn't it?

Oviedo
06-01-2010, 02:49 PM
Here is Florida, they have spring practices and games and it really isn't an issue. They balance it very well with kids doing other sports. It's no coincidence that Florida has passed just about everyone in college prospects. Kids in Florida are better prepared.

Not sure they ever will do away with OTAs because they are the only time you have to develop and get looks at younger players. Preseason becomes getting consumed with prepping for the regular season.

As far as the NFL, I have no issue with someone who at a minimum gets paid several hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary being expected to work all 12 months like someone who gets paid $50K per year.

No one's getting paid $50k/year to be a crash test dummy though.

Soldiers are in Afghanistan getting paid less than $30K per year and working 24/7 for 18 month deployments. Sort of puts it in perspective doesn't it.

If any football player thinks he is being asked to do too much he has the option to use that free college education that was given to him and do something else.

I have yet to speak with a soldier who is in it for the salary. Weak argument.

Basically, your philosophy is because they are getting paid large amounts of money we fans should have no regard for their physical well being?

Aren't you against PEDs because of the potential harm they may cause?

A bit contradictory, isn't it?

It's not your or my job to have concern about their physical well-being anymore than you are concerned about oil rig workers, loggers, miners or anyone else who have a dangerous profession.

They choose this profession knowing the risks because they know they can get very wealthy and famous and they factor that into their calculation of choosing their careers. They are not compelled to participate in the NFL. It has its inherent risks and they are very well compensated for their participation.

They participate out of free choice knowing what the risks are. It's not like the possibility of getting hurt in football is a secret.

papillon
06-01-2010, 03:43 PM
Here is Florida, they have spring practices and games and it really isn't an issue. They balance it very well with kids doing other sports. It's no coincidence that Florida has passed just about everyone in college prospects. Kids in Florida are better prepared.

Not sure they ever will do away with OTAs because they are the only time you have to develop and get looks at younger players. Preseason becomes getting consumed with prepping for the regular season.

As far as the NFL, I have no issue with someone who at a minimum gets paid several hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary being expected to work all 12 months like someone who gets paid $50K per year.

No one's getting paid $50k/year to be a crash test dummy though.

Soldiers are in Afghanistan getting paid less than $30K per year and working 24/7 for 18 month deployments. Sort of puts it in perspective doesn't it.

If any football player thinks he is being asked to do too much he has the option to use that free college education that was given to him and do something else.

I have yet to speak with a soldier who is in it for the salary. Weak argument.

Basically, your philosophy is because they are getting paid large amounts of money we fans should have no regard for their physical well being?

Aren't you against PEDs because of the potential harm they may cause?

A bit contradictory, isn't it?

It's not your or my job to have concern about their physical well-being anymore than you are concerned about oil rig workers, loggers, miners or anyone else who have a dangerous profession.

They choose this profession knowing the risks because they know they can get very wealthy and famous and they factor that into their calculation of choosing their careers. They are not compelled to participate in the NFL. It has its inherent risks and they are very well compensated for their participation.

They participate out of free choice knowing what the risks are. It's not like the possibility of getting hurt in football is a secret.

You're right everyone makes their choice of profession and knowing full well the perks, salaries, hazards and rewards. On the other hand, I don't, and won't pay to watch a miner, logger, oil rigger etc do their job. I will pay to watch a football player do his job and, as such, I have an interest in their health, in that, the quality of what I pay to watch will be lessened if the best players are hurt.

If the best coal miner in SW Pennsylvania gets injured, I feel bad for him, but I don't have a stake in him getting back on the job. When Ben or Troy or Silverback aren't playing it's not nearly as much fun as when they are healthy; I have a stake in that.

Pappy

cruzer8
06-01-2010, 04:46 PM
You're right everyone makes their choice of profession and knowing full well the perks, salaries, hazards and rewards. On the other hand, I don't, and won't pay to watch a miner, logger, oil rigger etc do their job. I will pay to watch a football player do his job and, as such, I have an interest in their health, in that, the quality of what I pay to watch will be lessened if the best players are hurt.

If the best coal miner in SW Pennsylvania gets injured, I feel bad for him, but I don't have a stake in him getting back on the job. When Ben or Troy or Silverback aren't playing it's not nearly as much fun as when they are healthy; I have a stake in that.

Pappy

Thank you for so eloquently stating what I was attempting to convey. :)