After reading about the ideology of Edmund Burke, followed by the article by Marc Tracy about the potential future changes in football, it got me thinking about sports and how they revolutionize and change over time. That led me to a conclusion and a rebuttal to Tracy’s argument that soon football won’t even look like football: what if that’s a good thing? What if the NFL cutting down on kickoffs is good for the longevity of the league? I love football as much as the next guy, and would hate to see these changes radically occur overnight, but they might actually turn out to be a good thing. Burke argues against radical change, but what if change happens in small doses that don’t seem radical at the time? I generally fall on the conservative side when it comes to rule changes in sports, but maybe those changes are necessary.
With all the outrage and drama surrounding the NFL and its concussion problem, it’s no doubt the league needs to do something to cut down on the risk of concussions. When over 4,500 of your former employees sue a company over something, it becomes a big deal. As exciting as kickoffs are in football, they are plays with a high injury risk, and something needs to be done to fix them. When you have 11 (well really 10, the kicker doesn’t count) full grown, 250-pound men flying full speed down a field with the intent on hitting one defenseless return man and some blockers, there are bound to be some injuries. Football traditionalists like Tracy would be upset, but in order to ensure the longevity of the game, changes must be made.
In other sports, we have seen changes implemented in order to protect the safety of its players. The NHL recently instilled a policy that takes away the “staged fights” in a game. While everyone loves a good hockey fight, the staged ones are dangerous and frankly just plain stupid. Even in the NBA, where there isn’t nearly as much contact as hockey or football, this used to be common. Now, it’s not. In baseball, the play at the plate was always one of the most exciting parts of a game. Now, it still is, but it’s safer. The NFL, commissioner Roger Goodell, and all current and future leaders of the sport need to follow the lead of the other major professional sports in America and try to make their game safer. If not, people will eventually notice how dangerous the sport is, and fewer and fewer kids will play at a young age, leading to lower quality NFL games, because its players would not have played the sport while growing up. If Edmund Burke was around today and he was a football fan, he probably wouldn’t like all the talk and the movements to change football rules. But if Burke had kids who wanted to play the sport, maybe he would consider allowing these changes, because ultimately, changes in the rules would keep the players safe.