Reduce the N.F.L.’s Play Clock

Twenty-five seconds, instead of 40, would make the game safer.

Comments: 160

  1. While the author offers some good reasons why a shorter play clock could reduce injuries, he fails to take into account that as players become more exhausted (a "feature" of his plan) they will become far sloppier, and potentially expose themselves and others to more unintended injuries, as they fail to take proper precautions or to execute maneuvers properly.

    The author's idea deserves examination - but it is far from a certain cure to the very real problem of football concussions.

  2. A lot of college teams do not huddle all game. They still run coach-called plays, generally in less than 20 seconds. An exhausted defense is hardly good for safety. A more wide open game makes for more tackling of ball handlers who have reached full speed. More plays per game is hardly a formula for less contact. And quicker linemen make up with speed for what they lack in bulk. The writer is a former NFL linebacker. Linebackers take a lot of hits to the head.

  3. Nate Jackson was not a Linebacker, he was a Tight End, Wide Receiver, who wrote a good book entitled Slow Getting Up.

  4. What a silly article. Does Mr. Jackson really think fans want to see football played even more loosely and more sloppy than it is now -- when half the teams can't even make successful use, half the time, of the full 40 seconds now available to them? Part of the fun is that it's an intricate chess match. If we wanted to see playground improvisation, we could go watch 10 year olds play flag football. Sorry, not interested.

  5. That's the attitude of the "fan" - it's an intricate chess match that's sloppy. It's "fun" to watch full-grown men hurt each other, but the same game played safely by children is uninteresting to watch? Those poor "gladiators of the gridiron" are doomed by the bloody-minded fan who needs to watch barbarity.

  6. Not sure if a shorter play clock would make for fewer injuries, but it would be much better for fans. As an immigrant from England, I was always struck by the slow nature of 'American' sports like baseball and football. I wondered why there was a need for so much down time between play time. There's also huge specialization of the players that doesn't exist in other team sports. Reduce the number of players allowed to suit up and you'd also enhance the game, I believe. Who decided that a player can't play both offence and defence? Who decided that the players can't make their own choices about the plays to run, the pitches to throw, the pitches to swing at, etc. I would think the players would get extremely frustrated as well.
    Time outs and huddle time should be kept to a bare minimum, get coaches out of every tiny detail of every single movement on the field and watch the fans gain more respect for the good players. If injuries are reduced at the same time, great.

  7. And then there is cricket.

  8. As opposed to cricket?

  9. The game has changed. A few years ago I couldn't watch it. My medical training meant that I really really understood the physical and neurological consequences of each hit. Now the hits are fewer and do not involved the head very often.
    However, it is still a violent game. Karen Armstrong, being interviewed on radio about her new book on the reasons for war, said that men have been bred for excitement, that men flock to join war groups because they NEED excitement. Football is excitement that trades the personal safety of the fan for the physical risk of the player. I don't know how we can increase excitement without risk: gamblers play because the risk provides the excitement. We watch Olympic skiers and figure skaters on TV because of the possibility of failure, not just the joy of success. Life meaning for humans seems to require risk taking. We've just outsourced physical risk to huge men willing to bash each other on a football field. Watching them satisfies our emotional need for risk taking, while we sit safely and comfortably in our recliners. What kind of moral risk are we ignoring.

  10. I was injured in a high-impact car collision 30 years ago - I could not watch the body-crunching of football that season without flashing back to the force of the crash. It's a sport primarily of pain and injury, not skill or beauty. The violence is the meat of the game, not ballet-like catches or fancy scrambling runs.

  11. Wise words, as most of life is risk taking. 21st century humans have found ways to delegate risk taking and still receive the excitement. Less recovery time between plays will equal more plays to do damage, the rosters of risk takers will need to expand.

  12. Sitting around with a bunch of guys watching an NFL game, there are those that know little about the game (myself) and those who know a lot and need the 40 seconds to offer opinions on the last play, the next play, the QB, assorted players, the coach, his staff, etc. Without 40 secs the game would lose fans feeling of being a participant.

  13. Reducing the play clock to 25 would substantially increase the number of plays per game....perhaps by over 50%. I fail to see how an increase in the number of plays per game wound reduce injuries in the league. The reality is that more plays per game equals more hits per game and more opportunities for injury.

  14. And likely fewer substitutions ... so more repeated hits on the same guys.

  15. >

    Let's just play touch or flag. I'm not going to be able to take listening to the endless neurotic solutions that will be posited the rest of my lifetime about football safety.

    Google the "cowboy after OSHA". It shows the absurdity perfect.

  16. The author unintentionally taps into something else happening to all professionals sports these days – the mandate to speed up play in order to keep up with our societies’ ADHA like viewing habits. The general public now demands faster action combined with shorter games times because no one has the “time” to sit down for a prolonged period without doing something else like eating or checking their cell phones. Just research the imminent and rapid demise of golf in America - because no one actually has five contiguous hours of free time on a weekend to play any sport.

    Look at the new baseball rules to reduce time allowed between pitches and the reduced shot clock in college basketball this season. I believe the average NFL game has only 18 minutes of actual in-play movement and physical contact while running the plays. The rest of the 3.5 hours of each game is time we fans are forced to endure down time between plays (40 seconds), timeouts, halftime, TV time outs, injury time outs, etc. Both the NFL and NBA shortened half time a few years ago to speed up the game.

    I think this trend will continue - mandated by the fans and advertisers who pay for them. Shortening the NFL play clock is one option they could look at. The game would begin to resemble more of a rugby style as they pause to reset briefly and then reengage quickly. The players will simply adapt over time by getting smaller and more agile which might just have the side benefit of increasing their lifespan.

  17. "...make obese lineman lose weight." Huh? The writer envisions the nfl as a weight loss plan? Don't be fooled by body shape. Those large men up front are tremendous athletes in fantastic condition physically.

    A :25 play clock would flatten the game asd merely create many more similar looking plays. More plays equals more hits which equals increased injury risk.

    Bad idea.

  18. FOOTBALL PLAYERS Could take lessons from the training received by members of the Israeli Army. They're trained to complete their missions on their own survival skills rather than following orders . The units select their own leaders by means of a democratic process. They sit a candidate in the middle of a circle of soldiers and let loose with questions. If the unit members are satisfied with the answers, then they have their own leader. If not, they select another candidate and get on with the questioning again.

    In football, we've lost sight of the fact that the object of the game is to score the most goals. The entertainment value of the players qua gladiators slaughtering each other has supplanted having the higher score.

    When players were instructed in sportsmanship, they were taught the old bromide, It isn't whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. Today, on the football field, it's not whether you score points. It's about how much physical damage you can do during smash-ups.

    Will sports fans abandon the game if their blood lust is not gratified? I some will. They can watch jello wrestling and demolition derbies instead. If we teach kids in childhood that the object of sports is to outsmart the other team and score points without harming others, the ethos of the games will change. Of course, the current players can be induced to shift their strategies, as can the coaches, if they are penalized for each time a player is injured.

  19. This plan has no chance. Shortening the clock would also shorten the game which would reduce the number of available commercial slots which would reduce league revenue. There is no way the advertisers would put up with this plan. That is a shame, because I think it has a lot of merit and would also make the game way more interesting.

  20. There is an easier way to make the game safer. Reduce the amount of protective gear worn by players, and they will be far less likely to hurt others or themselves.
    Let the players wear protective cups. No helmet, faceguard, shoulder pads, hip pads, flak jackets. Shin guards would be OK, as would mouthpieces.
    One rule change. No more than two players, one from offense, the other from defense, can contact each other, unless the ball is loose. A tackle, or a block, or pass coverage, will allow one on one contact, only.
    Aside from that...let them play.

  21. It's ludicrous to think that running more plays will cut down on injuries. Concussions occur on running plays, passing plays, special teams, etc.
    The counter intuitive answer to the concussion problem is to play with no helmets. Helmets in today's game are not protective equipment; they are weapons!

  22. We've evolved.... Football is a safer alternative to gladiators in the Colosseum, But to compare it unfavorably to the brutal savagery of mixed martial arts is foolish. In MMA, badly hurting your opponent is the goal.
    As in life, we weigh benefit and risk. There is real beauty in football on many levels. So while I agree we should continue to seek ways to reduce the risk, an informed Players' Union should take that lead. It is the players' decision about how much risk is worth it....

  23. The least convincing position ever. We in Philly have just abruptly ended an experiment with a radically shortened play clock via our newly exed coach Chip Kelly. No one was safer, least of all Chip. Furthermore, you are arguing that a violent game with more plays per quarter will be less injurious than one with fewer plays. There may be a world in which that makes sense, but it certainly isn't the world of elite level American football.

  24. There are teams that already play in a hurry-up system, more notably Chip Kelly's Eagles and Baylor in college. As a fan, I don't notice any less injuries to these programs and,in fact, teams employing a hurry up offense seem to suffer more injuries. Wouldn't it be wise to study games where more plays are run (using less of the playclock) than less and see the effects on head injuries rather than just changing a rule hoping it improves concussion rates? Football players have suffered enough. Using them as human guinea pigs instead of using evidence based practice and data supported safety measures seems ignorant and potentially lead to further harm

  25. Want to speed up the game and improve the fan experience? Get rid of commercial breaks.

  26. From this side of the pond we can't understand why Football insists on helmets - the sharpness of helmet-to-helmet impacts almost certainly increases the likelihood of concussion. Rugby is an equally ferocious game, played with much less protection (optional soft "scrum caps" and soft shoulder padding), and while concussion is an issue, I suspect it is rather less common than in Football.
    Worth adding perhaps that professional rugby has much higher "in-play" times, often approaching 60% (versus the 13% you indicate for Football), meaning the players have far greater fitness levels.

  27. Great idea. As things stand, football seems to be a game designed for persons afflicted with Attention Deficiency Syndrome. A game can last 3-4 hours; with no more than 15-20 minutes of real action.
    Let's face it: NFL football is little more than a slick way of duping people into watching commercials.

  28. It would be so easy to fix. Take off the helmets. Play it like rugby.

  29. There may be some utopian reasoning here, believing that if they increase the pace as suggested, coaches and players will act in a way to minimize injuries, rather than adapt to try and take more advantage of it, whatever the risk. We see every week that while the league enforces a concussion protocol - and I'm for that - these are driven young men who just want to compete and play through injury if they can. Players rush back as fast as they can from injuries rather than make absolutely sure they are healed. Peyton Manning is an icon. But should he really be playing with his neck injuries? I saw Wes Welker, a player I really admired, still trying to play. I expect both would tell me they are cleared to play and to mind my own business, but the thought of either getting hit hard makes me cringe. Still, it is their choice to take risks as it is in every sport and human activity.

    If we increase the pace, players will likely just try to cram in every extra effort they can. It may make it easier to ignore injuries while adrenaline is pumping or trainers have less time to check on them. Maybe it will make linemen slim down but they might feel the bigger they are the faster they will wear down a smaller player. Or maybe they will start blood doping. Or maybe the players who best adapt and play all those extra plays will have more long-term damage from extra hits. Football should be as safe as they can make it, but the answers probably aren't simple and this might make it worse.

  30. stupid idea. less time would mean more confusion and thus
    perhaps more injuries or the same amount.

  31. but then there would be fewer commercial spots to sell.

  32. The only this article appeared is for one simple reason: the NFL is the largest money making sport in the USA.

  33. Not a fan myself, but I wonder how much of the attraction of the game is its essential violence. Fans and broadcasters really whoop it up when a ball carrier gets whacked. Then there's the war dance. And the replays. The violence goes very deep in this game.

  34. Anything to speed up NFL games would be a good thing. As it stands now, NFL games are practically unwatchable. They are tedious affairs that now take 3.5 hours to complete. Ironically I have to be really bored to sit down and watch a modern NFL game. Can the NFL try and get back to 3hr games (like it used to)?
    A few things that might help:
    1) Eliminate 2min warning
    2) Clock runs regardless of incomplete pass/run play and in/out of bounds.
    3) Clock only stops for penalties, injuries, challenges, kickoffs (more like soccer).

  35. Good suggestions. I would go further and use the soccer clock concept more thoroughly, minus the "stoppage time". Teams, you have 70 minutes per half. The play clock could be shortened to 30-35 seconds I suppose to keep the number of plays about par with current timing rules. I think this would have the effect of emphasizing conditioning over size, as everything would move more quickly. Smaller, more tired players should equal fewer high impact collisions. Advertisers would bark loudly, but soccer makes a fair amount of money, so they could deal.

  36. Better solution: widen the field. Would increase emphasis on foot speed, tend to broader use of smaller, quicker players

  37. it seems that all the author has to do is switch to back to the roots of American Football: Rugby.
    That sport accomplishes everything Mr. Jackson is looking for.
    And a lot more.

  38. I don't think cutting the play clock would do that much -- I think teams would be more deliberate in choosing plays that would allow them to stop the clock, such as intentionally incomplete passes and running out of bounds.

    I think you need to reduce the amount of game clock stoppages. I think this would force teams to reduce the amount of play clock they consume. Much of the time it strikes me that while the play clock may tick, the game clock is stopped, so teams have little incentive to execute faster plays because they're not losing any game time.

    I'm guessing the original rationale for game clock stoppage after incompletes and out of bounds events was to not lose game time to the need for officials to retrieve the ball and place it at the snap point. So the clock should restart as soon as the ball is placed at the snap location, not when the ball is snapped.

    The conspiracist in me also wonders how much of stoppage is related to TV commercials -- if the play moved faster, there would be less dead time and fans would be miffed if they missed plays so commercials could be shown, which would ultimately result in fewer TV commercials.

  39. It'll never happen. Football as it currently is played preserves that most sacred of traditions: replays. TV can replay the previous down two, even three, times, with full inane commentary about how the left guard could have shifted his right foot six inches more. What would football be without these long breaks between downs? Interesting, perhaps?

  40. Is there any evidence to suggest that a shorter play clock would reduce injuries? Intuitively, one would suspect that the more fatigued player is more susceptible simply because he is less able to protect himself. Maybe it would be better to restrict the number of substitutions per game. I have no evidence to support the thesis, but I, again intuitively, suspect that a good number of injuries are induced by a more fatigued player being matched up against a fresher substitute. This seems particularly the case with five interior offensive lineman who, barring injury, play virtually every offensive snap while there is a seemingly endless rotation of defensive lineman shuttling in and out.

  41. I thought this was a satirical piece. But no, the writer is serious-do an inherently unsafe action more often to make it safer. Guess I missed something........

    JimF from Sewell

  42. Reducing the game clock to prevent injuries is all speculation and no data. Fatigue is known to increase injuries. Ask anyone who participates in physical activities.

  43. They should just eliminate the play clock. If they played for 2 30 minute halves they would trade bone-crushing momentum for a combination of strength and fitness and probably not need to wear so much armor (since they wouldn't likely be able to carry it that long).

  44. Yeah, I am sure the commercial breaks will get shorter and the rights holders will walk from all the advertising revenue. TV timeouts are much longer

  45. Get rid of the pads and the rests between attacks. Real men play rugby. Admittedly a forward pass would make it more fun.

  46. I, whole heartedly, agree with your suggestions to lessen or remove the "armour" which allows the NFL players to use themselves as projectiles. However, your admission that Rugby could, most definitely, use the forward pass earned you my full respect. Ignorant comments from either side of the pond saying that either cousin sport is the worst and theirs is the best become quite tiresome. Thank you for your comment.

  47. This is a half-baked idea whose actual impact on both the game and injuries is impossible to know until implemented -- and then it's too late.

  48. It is important to talk about brain injuries in the NFL but we should include other sports in the discussion especially professional boxing where boxers should be wearing headgear. To do otherwise is barbaric.

  49. There would be twice as many plays and twice as many hits to the head.

  50. How about reducing the play clock to five seconds? Take away the helmets and pads. Call the game rugby. Be more entertained. Not in the USA. It is more likely that they let players carry handguns to cut down on concussions.

  51. Right-O. Mate!

  52. If you really want to reduce injuries, make a rule that no player can weigh more than 300 pounds. Better still, make it 280.

  53. All this talk of head to head contact, though valid, fails to include one other cause of brain injuries in which no head contact occurs and that is the brain rattling around in the skull second to the sudden decelleration of players that contact each other at high speeds. This contra coup effect will not be helped by shorter intervals between plays nor safer helmets but is the nature of the game. it affects both the tackler and the tackle in proportion tho the velocity and masses in the impact.

  54. I stopped paying attention to football a few years ago. The biggest reason is the plethora of serious injuries. The other reason is the slow, ponderous nature of the games. Regarding that, the biggest problem isn't the play clock, it's the ridiculous amount of time wasted for TV timeouts/commercials.

    A few seasons ago during a particular game (I don't remember now exactly which one or when), I reached my limit. There were 30 seconds left in the 2nd half and a touchdown had just been scored. After the extra point, the network went to a commercial break. Then, after the ensuing kickoff, the clock was down to about 20 seconds. But, since it was right after the kickoff, the network went to another commercial break. Then, the team that had just gotten the ball ran one play and a player was injured, which stopped the clock with about 10 seconds left. So, the network cut away to yet another commercial break. Finally, one more play was run and the clock ran out for the half. So, three commercial breaks in the last 30 seconds of the 2nd half. That was the moment I finally gave up completely on the NFL.

  55. Tape it and fast forward in 30 second increments. Can watch whole game in 45 minutes.

  56. Those commercial breaks underscore the fact that this is a business, not a game. Why would the NFL trim both seconds and profits? Right.

  57. DVR all games to watch with no breaks. Fast forward as needed. I will not watch any sporting event "live" (except the Super Bowl at a party), waste of too much time.

  58. The name of the game is to sell advertising time, plain and simple. Any effort to reduce the length of the game, now around three plus hours, would affect the pocket book of the broadcasters and the league. If the league was serious about reducing the length of the game, just keep the clock running, even after a dropped pass or a score. Stop the clock for timeouts and injuries only.

  59. Funny, a number of respected coaches in the college ranks have complained about hurry up offenses and the faster pace of play because, allegedly, it increases the chances of injury - the opposite conclusion of this op/ed author. Of course, those coaches are usually the ones that tactically prefer a slow-it-down, grind-it-out offense. Still, maybe there should be a factual comparative study (or three) that looks at injury rates before making such a drastic change to the game.

  60. It might be worth doing a comparison with the Canadian Football League, where the play clock is 20 seconds.

  61. Try it and see what happens.

    Offering alternative hypotheses without an empirical test is what the meatheads in the booth, some of whom never touched a football or got their brains bashed in by a helmet to helmet collision....think Bob "Pretty Boy Costas", Howard Cosell, or one other nitwit whose name I can't remember...and no I never played football.

    Sloppy play? Tired players can't accelerate and hit at full force. That would reduce injuries...maybe????

    Do an experiment. AFL 25 seconds and no speakers in the headphones. The relayed plays would chew up time.

    See what happens!

  62. I've stopped watching American football altogether and found myself with a lot more free time and lot less time agonizing over the injuries to which I had been (indirectly) contributing as a fan of the game. Speeding up the game will not reduce injuries; just make them different. The equipment has contributed significantly to the ability to inflict damage, but the size and speed of footballers have added much more. Wresting control of the game from sideline coaches and putting onus more on the players themselves will not, however, solve the problem. The problem isn't the play clock. It's the evolved nature of football. The game is inherently, deliberately violent and injury inducing.

  63. How about a weight limit? 180 lbs and no more.

  64. Please don't do this. How else am I going to watch a game in 1 hour by jumping 30 seconds between plays with the remote?

  65. Increased padding has led to harder hits. The physics of concussion is sudden deceleration. The modern automobile has a front end crumple zone, which increases the time of deceleration during impact just enough to make the passengers substantially safer during a collision. The only way to keep football players' brains safe is to design an oversized helmet engineered to crumple in a similar fashion. The only drawback will be the propensity to hit even harder.

  66. Here's an idea. Why not teach professionals how to make a proper tackle? Instead, they just plow into people at full speed with their shoulders and helmets.

    Also, I've always felt that if you take away their helmets there would be a lot less head injuries. Players feel like they are invincible when they have so much protection on their bodies. Give them less padding and you will see the crazy hits decrease tremendously.

  67. “Safe football”--isn't that a lot like "clean coal"?

  68. Safe football is, indeed, an oximoronic misnomer.

  69. @historian: or "military intelligence"; or "political ethics", just to name a couple other oxymoron's.

  70. Over the years I have lost my interest in football because of what the author sites in this article. We must realize that football and TV were made for each other. In the beginning and because of the slow nature of football (stop and go) Each play can be perfectly set up by the camera man to catch the exciting 6 seconds, commercials lots of them can be shown$$$$, and presently replays from every angle are fed to the viewers with incredible graphics that get better every year. This great production gives the illusion that you are watching a game with lots of action, when in fact there is only less than 30 minutes of play. You have to give credit to the NFL their product is the most successful $$$$ in all of sports. But for myself I prefer to watch 22 athletes play sport for 90 minutes without stopping, without oxygen masks, and most importantly without 10 coaches on the sideline instructing each play and movement. Let the players on the field make the decisions and show us their Great Athleticism and fitness.

  71. I like that idea of less time in between plays. I have often wondered if the Canadian Football League has less of a problem with concussions, and injuries in general, due to the fact it has a wider field? The players have grown so big and so fast that the confines of the NFL field can resemble a demolition derby. Maybe allowing more space has a benefit?

  72. In addition to the points Mr. Jackson makes, there is just no reason that 60 minutes of football should take 3 1/2 hours to play. Clock stoppages are outrageously numerous and probably contribute to the effects Jackson complains of. As a reader below suggested, after watching rugby for 40 years I usually only watch gridiron from my DVR so I can fast forward liberally, otherwise I die of boredom.

  73. I wouldn't think the NFL would like to speed up the game's glacial pace, the WSJ found that there is less than 11 minutes of actual play in an NFL game, the remainder of the 3+ hour broadcast is about 120 minutes of commercials (when the clock is stopped) and 49 minutes of replay and banter, it fits the American market perfectly, short attention span, lots of time for commercials for fast food, beer, pickup trucks, heart and ED medication...

    The NFL is the most popular "sport" in American precisely because it's not a sport, it's consumerism and conformity, things that Americans can't celebrate enough, that is sometimes interrupted by six second plays and concussions.

  74. Great comment!!!!

  75. I can't believe this article was published. The argument is fraught with flaws and has no supporting data... you would have twice as many plays, fatigue would cause more injuries, just to name a few.

  76. Nate Jackson is suggesting a game would look less like modern American football and more like rugby. Maybe the players could stop wearing helmets. That would stop all the movement inside the helmet after a tackle; it would probably also make players less motivated to lead tackles with their head.

  77. An analysis of televised NFL games by the WSJ several years ago revealed the following breakdown:
    Game Time : 3 hr. 12 min.
    Ball in play: 11 min.

    All the rest of the time? Commercials (63 min) replays (15 minutes) shots of coaches crowd cheerleaders (36 min.) and my favorite, shots of players standing around (63 min).

    I've got better things to do on a Sunday afternoon.

  78. Why is this nonsense in the NYT Op Ed page?

    If you need click-bait space-filler, I'm sure David Brooks would have happily churned out 1000 more words.

  79. Short memories? The play clock used to be 25 seconds from the moment the referee spotted the ball. I don't remember there being fewer concussions. Frank Gifford played under the 25 second rule, and look how he turned out.

  80. he turned out pretty good for living in America! He made bookoo bucks and lived like a king! Compare to a Kentucky coal miner...

  81. Contributors to this debate should disclose how many concussions they have experienced so that we might correlate the soundness of their arguments with their exposure to brain damage.
    My view is that professional athletes can knock each other out all they want for the amusement of those who find that interesting. However, youth and college football should be banned and the responsible parties, including parents and college trustees, should be prosecuted.
    I have had two concussions, lifetime.

  82. I would also recommend that football players, in addition to allowing themselves to become human billiard balls, that they forego and claims against others for liability.

  83. One more hand wringing piece about the down trodden NFL player being taken advantage of by management. Players don't want to get concussions? Don't play football!

  84. Get rid of the helmets.
    The game would be much safer without all these hard metal and plastic projectiles on the field.

  85. American football, Australian football, Rugby and Soccer (International football) all share a common ancestry. American football broke with the others when it opted for protective headgear and bodygear during the early part of the 20th century.

    I love the NFL, love the athleticism, the otherworldly body control on display each week during the season, by so many of the professional players (college minor leagues included) as they practice their craft on a very large and growing national, and global stage.

    I am equally saddened to know, now without a doubt, that these professionals are essentially gladiators who are all permanently injuring themselves, both physically and mentally, for our viewing pleasure.

    There seem to be no easy answers - if we wish this beloved institution of American football to continue forward on its course of exponential growth and popularity - yet cease and desist from devouring many of our best athletes in its maw (from the practice fields to the game day fields).

    It may be long past time to take another look at the need for protective body armour. Would/could the game be equally entertaining if the players had to adjust to play without helmets and pads? Would we find the spectacle as compelling? Most importantly, would serious injuries decline as "legal hits" would most definitely be altered?

    There may be no easy answers, but that does not preclude having a serious open discussion of where we go from here. Many lives hang in the balance.

  86. This is a great posting. I agree with everything but the comment that "there are no easy answers". Sport is like health care. The second we allowed profit motivated organizations into the mix, everything changed.....for the worse.

  87. The two-minute drill is one example of what the author's suggests. Do the injury statistics from each game's closing two minutes prove that playing with a shortened play clock reduce injuries?

  88. This piece is written with an irritating sardonic slant, seeming to show Mr. Jackson's disdain for American football. How is it possible to seriously consider the opinions of a critic who evidently dislikes the game? If so, what is his interest in changing the game, or making it safer? Perhaps he is just a sports contrarian—or a concerned neurologist?

  89. He is a former NFL player. I'd say he probably likes the game, having played it so much in his life.

  90. really silly editorial - but continues with the NYT attack on football. Of course, the NYT still makes big headlines out of NFL and NCAA games - and it should! For those afraid of football - don't play it. Go play soccer where head injuries (if the injury is real) are far worse. And, if you're too afraid to watch football - don't watch! There is a tennis channel.

  91. why is protecting players an attack on the game?

  92. Sum total of comments: Football should go away. Yes, yes I understand the liberal position on the matter. Nonetheless, I will enjoy the wild card games this weekend. Bernie Sanders on the Bill Maher show: "you will watch soccer and you will like it".

  93. Could it be Mr. Jackson just doesn't like football?

  94. How about playing without helmets? The players would need eye and mouth protection, but they wouldn't have a weapon wrapped around their heads.

  95. I see many people recommending no helmets. How about getting rid of the hard helmets. They are a weapon in and of themselves when they impact another body. A soft helmet could be made to be as protective, but wouldn't be as lethal when striking another body. The helmets could be made with equalizing air chambers with pressure regulating valves, so that when one side is hit, it would spread the impact out by compressing the air to another part of the helmet. Then when the impact is over, its regulating valves would immediately find equilibrium among the chambers. It's an engineering challenge, but it could definitely be done, and we know the money is there.

  96. If you combine that with soft, memory foam exteriors or such exteriors covered with a thin layer of leather, much of the impact would be dissipated.

  97. Interesting idea on paper. Like others, I'm not fully convinced it would help with head injuries. Maybe. Personally, I think the only possible way to do that would be to get rid of helmets, crazy at that sounds.

    But speeding up the game in this way sounds like it would reduce the amount of available ad space, and shift some advantage in play back toward the defense (i.e. result in less scoring,) neither of which is the NFL interested in, I'm betting.

  98. If the referees had enforced the long-standing rule against spearing, including the secondary penalty of disqualification for the flagrant foul it is, coaches wouldn't have taught players to lead with their heads and players who did so wouldn't be playing. But by letting the practice go on and on and on without repercussions, the hits got bigger and targeting a player became commonplace. The spearing rule was instituted to protect players from being injured by the hard-shell helmet. But over time the referees (and I was one for 31 years at the high school and college level) largely stopped enforcing the rule. Disqualifying a player these days is the exception, not the rule. The NFL is merely reaping what it sowed.

  99. 25 seconds instead of 40 of course makes sense. As it is now, we get 16 or so minutes of action and 3 hours of standing around. It really doesn't matter though, the NFL is just a gambling and commercial vehicle, excruciatingly boring to watch.

  100. Don, many of us find good games to be thrilling, sit on the edge of your seat amazing spectacles. Our kids love it too. To each his own, I suppose.

  101. I agree with you that some of the action is spectacular; there's just so very little action.

  102. A running back makes an all-out dive to make the first down. A linebacker makes a matching ballistic move to stop him. Helmets meet. How can this be changed?

    Eliminating helmets might reduce, but not completely eliminate, the go-for-broke head banging.

    Instrumenting all helmets with accelerometers and requiring compulsory sit outs when the accumulated impacts reach some level, might also change behavior to reduce the helmet-to-helmets.

  103. More plays run during the game would reduce concussions? Not sure how that is possible.

  104. I understand the concerns, I really do, but...

    Is football not a contact sport? Do players not know what they are getting into when they sign up to play? Sort of like smoking and then claiming one didn't know it was bad for you.

    Oh...that kind of, um, "naivety"....gotchya.

    Just stop playing the game then. Pretty simple.

  105. In rugby the action is continuous and the players wear no protective gear. What does the concussion rate in rugby look like?

  106. Tackling technique is different, shoulders only. Danger is to neck in a scrum. My son's football coach (high school) complained that rugby ruined their technique for football tackles and the rugby coach complained of the opposite. Ice hockey coach had completely different hitting style.

    We got through middle school, high- and college with no concussions, just one broken bone from gym class soccer. Before you say I am a terrible parent, what is alternate for a big kid that wants to play sports? Soccer, volleyball, track, etc. require smaller frames. Even baseball is tough for slower athletes.

    His experience over some 20 sports seasons gave him leadership skills for life, kept his BMI down and probably saved a lot of teen-parent conflict. We took that path instead of failure in non-contact sports. But it was a calculated risk and more than once my heart stopped when he got up slowly after a play.

  107. Several people have commented that shortening the play clock would cut into commercial time but commercials don't run during the game so that makes no sense and makes me wonder if these people watch football.

    I wonder what the statistics are regarding which players are most likely to receive permanent brain injury. If the percentage of linemen is highest, and that wasn't the case thirty years ago, then a size limitation would make sense, as they seem to be getting bigger and bigger over the years.

  108. The longer the time between snaps, the more chance that the network has to slam in a commercial.

    A 30-second commercial still leaves 10 seconds for Phil Simms to make a wrong prediction as to what play will be called next under the 40-second rule.

    Anything that takes him off the air is a plus.

  109. Would speeding up play reduce the number of serious injuries per play? This is pure conjecture. But players don't get injuries while they are in a huddle. What is certain is that the total number of injuries would go up unless injuries per play is reduced.

    Here's something that probably would help - ban post-game replays of "big hits" or any play resulting in injuries. ESPN and sports programs on other networks give valuable publicity to those who cause injuries by showing these plays in the days after games.

  110. The CFL is 20 seconds. American college ball is 25. How do the observations measure up against these differences -- controlling for other differences in the players and the game?

  111. Reminds me of 'filtered' cigarettes, they would be safer. Time to end the 'gravy train'. Lets put OHSA on the case, they will design a 'safer' game. You can depend on it, like government always does. Time for O to issue an executive order banning tackling. Hey, it will make us 'safer'.

  112. What less commercial time? How will I get my nap in?

  113. My DVR has a about a 30 second forward button that doesn't work worth a crap when they go no-huddle. The real problem with the NFL is too much kicking. Tear down the goal posts, forever!

  114. The play clock is an integral part of the league's financial plan; those slo-mo replays and analysis are part of the filler that makes a 1-hr game last 3+ hours and deliver lots of commercials.

    Helmets are what permit violent collisions, and those are also integral to the league's financial plan, so continue to invest in making them more effective but give up on the dream of eliminating them.

    The best ideas I've heard over the years for reducing brain injury are:
    1) widen the field and deepen the end zone to give more advantage to speed players (over mass players);
    2) expand the roster from 53 (to 60?) so that more substitutions are available when players are fatigued and/or slightly injured;
    3) relax illegal motion rules by allowing eligible receivers to be moving forward at the snap (like in CFL) to give more advantage to speed players;
    4) 5 yd penalty for defensive players that contact the receiver within 1 second of pass arrival unless the defensive player is reaching for the ball;
    5) immediate in-the-grasp whistles to that sackers don't need to go nuclear on increasingly powerful qbs;
    6) penalize runners 5 yards from the end of the play for initiating head-to-head contact; and
    7) mandate that half of all compensation paid above $250k/yr be used to purchase a life-only immediate annuity for the player, non-assignable.

    These are all debatable, but they all have potential to make the game safer without destroying the NFL's business.

  115. Oh, boy...this is one more chance for me to promote my longtime suggestion that punting on 4th down be eliminated once the offense has passed their own 30-yard line; after that, they must either run a play or attempt a field goal on 4th down. This would arguably speed up the game (not having to bring in punting unit constantly), make the game immeasurably more interesting (changes the entire strategy for third downs), and EXCITING (what a new concept for an increasingly-boring game), and supposedly most importantly, can reduce injuries (percentage of injuries on punt returns is high). If the NFL would do this, I might even watch the games.

  116. If you want to lengthen the field and have other CFL-type rules for reducing head injuries, you might include a wider distance between players at the line of scrimmage.

  117. Review the injury rate of a quick play team like Oregon against the traditional
    style of full slow huddle run it up the middle. The experimental laboratory for the NFL is presently available through their farm system of college teams. Use it. If the NFL want to test an anti injury theory, pay a small college conference to try it out. (If you choose to play football for the Whitworth University Pirates, the game may look very different from your high school experience.) But as pointed out, it is what happens to these young men after football that is at least as devastating as what happens within the game. Like returning combat veterans, many suffer. ESPN can't be expected to provide jobs for all of them.

  118. The author does not recognize that American Football is the simulation of War. Speeding up the game and employing less thought, is increasing barbarism.

  119. I don't think the readers of this piece know the difference between the play clock and game clock. But that doesn't prevent them from bashing football again with illogical ideas. A faster play clock has nothing to do with the length of the game. These readers apparently don't know how much longer a college game is than a pro game. The NFL has shortened the game in recent years by changing when the game clock starts after out of bounds plays. The commenters need to learn more about how the game is timed. As for the author. don't get me started.

  120. Getting rid of all of the armor of "battle" (helmets, shoulder pads, etc.) would do much more towards making the game safer. Rugby players don't need all of that stuff to play just as rough a game as football and they learn at an early age to tackle safely or they get penalized.

  121. Basketball is a sport where the players are in constant motion. Is it more entertaining? That depends on the fan. Soccer is a sport where the players are also in constant motion. Is soccer more entertaining? That depends on whether the fans prefer a sport in which a 1-0 is considered a high scoring game.

    I'll stick to football, but I do hope technology improves the equipment in such a way as to eventually eliminate all injuries. The goal should be zero injuries, much like the goals of modern manufacturing. That was once viewed as an impossible goal, but now anything less is considered failure. All that is needed is more pressure from the players and the fans. It can be done. And it must not be ignored.

  122. Basketball has become the province of the violent and the over-grown.

    Sorry. Basketball has become boring...

    It's also the reason why great players like Larry Bird and Bob Cousy are no longer being produced.

  123. Touch football’s “two hands below the belt” rule could be incorporated into the NFL game so that all tackles would be from slightly above the waist to just above the knees. The problem with shoulder area and chest tackles is simply that the heads of both players are on a “collision course” with nothing between them but air. Two helmeted heads and are, in effect, freely moving objects travelling in space (an example of Newton’s first rule of motion, where an object in motion remains in motion until acted upon by an outside force). When two chests collide, heads slam directly into each other.

    Violence aficionados would scream that such would make football an unwatchable sport. But the game could truly become more interesting… higher scores, more yards gained. We would witness the development of sophisticated methods of tackling.

    The obvious resulting benefits of a more injury-free game would enable players to have longer playing times and enjoy better lives after their careers have ended. The game would further improve with great players playing longer resulting refining the talent to levels never before seen in the sport of professional football. Imagine if, similar to older players still active in pro golf, the likes of Aikman or Montana or LT were still around instead of having to retire prematurely. Instead of only the lucky (and often not so talented) surviving, primarily it would be greats still playing and competing with similar amazing super stars.

    Sam Redman

  124. First, to those who think speeding up the game would lessen the number of commercials - ain't gonna work. The networks would figure a way around that, maybe show more of the game on "tape", then live. Maybe lengthen the halftime commercial assault, start more ad scrolling during the game, add more announcer advert-copy - "That pass was brought to you by the good folks at Crunchy Fatty snacks." No matter, they'd figure a way to keep their ad-dollars strong.

    Second, I like the idea of speeding up the game only IF it could be shown to lessen injuries of all sorts. My guess is other injuries would rise. Like twisted ankles, wrists, fingers, torn ligaments, sprains, etc, that all add up to cause major injuries - especially when fatigue sets in. There would be an increase in offside penalties (slowing the game down) and maybe even more sacks due to miss-cues on the line. Defensive players bursting thru and sacking the QB in a state of being unawares would cause more QB injuries.

    Speeding up the game would also demand a new paradigm on the field. The need for real "Field Marshals" would be necessary on both sides at all times to rally the troops. Offensively, the QB is the likely guy, but not all QB's are gifted at being the play caller for each play - especially after a few rough sacks. Some QBs rise to it, most dont.

    As a fan, I'm all for tweaks that lessen injuries and/or increase the energy of the game, but they have to be truly effective towards their alleged goals.

  125. Juvenile analysis. For one thing, more plays would be run, increasing the chances for someone to get hurt. They will also be less prepared as the correct personnel will not be on the field for blocking etc... Here's a better idea: how about you progressive know-it-alls just leave football alone?

  126. Ok...Then let's increase the play clock to 1 minute 20.

    That should halve the opportunity for crushing injuries and allow a full minute for a commercial after every play.

  127. Well, perhaps. But make every offensive position eligible to receive a forward pass and the game would become infinitely better, and safer in the process.

  128. That would put a premium on smart and fast like Beckham, and make fat dumb ones like Suh obsolete.

    One might also want to take those gloves away from the receivers and quarterbacks...Far too many stick fingers at play, far beyond the capability of the human hand, especially when it is either cold or wet.

  129. I would disagree with this perceptive and articulate analysis.

    football is far more beautiful than soccer because of the complexity that planning, organization and starting all over, gives it. which is all provided by the time between plays.

    there is no getting around its violence without revolutionizing the game. and nobody is likely to make major changes to football's success until failure becomes likely.

    Afterall, it is ritualized war

    and there will always be big rewards -- and casualties.

  130. This would increase the number of plays run in a game, and therefore increase the chances for injury.
    Additionally there would need to be a change in how the play clock is run then, as the 40 second clock starts as soon as the previous play is dead. High schools average roughly 160 snaps a game with 12 minute quarters and a 25 second play clock, the NFL is about 180 with 15 minute quarters and a 40 second play clock.
    I agree that the NFL, and really the 'football industrial complex' was slow to grasp the head injury problem, but there are now massive protections in place at every level of the game. Give these programs a chance.

  131. This makes no sense. As a coach, I would swap out players on every play and end up in the same place as before having rested players who can hit hard.

  132. You would not have time to swap out players without tiring them out by running on and off the field every play.

  133. I am not sure this would have the intended effect of reducing head injuries on a given play, but I am sure it would increase the total number of plays run. If you want a case study, look at the until recently head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles Chip Kelly's teams. Did offensive players on the Eagles and Oregon Ducks sustain more or less injuries?

    If you want to reduce overall impact to an individual player, reduce the total number of plays run for that player. Obviously the NFL does not want to reduce the number of games, so I suggest expanding the roster size. This allows for more substitutions and dedicated special team players. To me, this is the simplest way to mitigate total head trauma each player receives.

    Of course, it does spread the head trauma across a larger population, which may not be a palatable trade off, but it would likely reduce the severity in the worst cases.

  134. Major major money making complex, called the NFL. Major major fan support ,and everything that goes with it. Then look to our Northern neighbor and a sport , very violent, that is their culture, NHL.

  135. But, but, but, speeding up the play would leave less time for commercials. Not gonna happen.

  136. What about keeping the 40 sec play clock after first downs, the rest 25 seconds?

    But generally, the sheer volume of commercials makes watching a full game excruciating. I can only watch half a game in real-time as it is.

  137. The players know what they sign up for when they go into the NFL; football is a rough game. Reducing the play clock would simply take away the NFL's ability to play advertisements( make money) during those breaks. Why would a company choose to make less money when there is no evidence that a shorter play clock would benefit the players heath?

  138. There are many things that could be done. I like these ideas.

    I used to watch football. I don't anymore. The game is too long. a 60 minute game stretched to 3 1/2 to 4 hours becomes a drag. It is boring because of it. The concussion discussion. The NFL isn't as serious as it should be. How about doing away with helmets? They are used more as a weapon than protection. get serious about fining and firing players that use the helmet as a weapon. A recent egregious

    I don't like the fact that the owners enjoy tax free status. I don't and so as a matter of conscious, I will not watch anymore. If they don't pay taxes while I do, there is something horribly wrong and I will not be part of it.

    And I hate that local municipalities are strapped with bonds to pay for the playgrounds of these rich people. Would not live in a place where that debt is heaped on the general population.

    Eliminate the run back. Many horrible injuries happen at that point. It could be eliminated without much problem. And it would make the game safer. Shorten the game by eliminating comercials. Tax the billionaire and millionaire owners and their teams, pay for their own stadiums. I won't be back but maybe my husband would enjoy the experience more. I'm saying this for his sake.

  139. I'm unsure that more tired players would be safer players. It's entirely possible that a tired player would initiate more helmet-helmet contact.

  140. This makes no sense. I would like a shortened play clock, it would make the game more fun to see more plays run. But just because you are carefully choosing the next play instead of a more ad lib approach won't do anything to make it safer. Indeed, it could make it less safe.

  141. Go back to two way players. You would see players losing weight and even offensive linemen getting fit. The game would slow down noticeably as the game went on.

  142. Makes sense. Something else that would reduce concussions and other injuries would be to eliminate helmets.

  143. I would like to see the NFL look towards its rugby roots to answer this problem. In rugby, if a defender tackles someone but is not holding them on the ground, the offensive player can get up and run. Instituting something similar would eliminate the incentive for full speed hits where the players involved are both lying on the ground afterword.

    It would be interesting to compare concussion rates and playcalling rates (i.e., did the Chip Kelly-led Eagles have a lower concussion rate than a grind-it-out, pro-style offense).

    Many thanks for the interesting piece. Something must be done beyond the "Heads Up Football" approach, which appears to be little more than a public relations campaign.

  144. The surest instrument to reduce commercial breaks is at your finger tips. Record the game and spend an hour with your kids or watching Law and Order reruns. No commercials, no replays, no slow-mo hype of ordinary catches as "great effort by..." Of course this will require us to defer gratification which is not likely for some.

  145. No need to speculate. The results are in. The Canadian Football League has been operating for over 100 years and it has a 20 second play clock. The time starts to run after the refs have placed the ball back at the next line of scrimmage. There are still huddles and plays are sent in by radio to the QB. Unfortunately there are still a sickening number of serious injuries and many as a result of shots to the head and helmet to helmet hits. Sorry. (as Canadians are famous for always saying)

    I would like to add that even though the NFL has the better players, the experience of the Canadian game is superior because of the shortened play clock. There are many more plays, the lead changes hands much more often, there are unlikely comebacks. It's so much faster and less boring. And all plays must be run. Don't you just hate it in the NFL when the teams walk off the field with 30 seconds left? THE NFL should follow the recommendation in the article, not with hope of reducing injuries, but to field a better product.

  146. Speed kills! Rookies in NFL camps say the crucial adjustment they must make is keeping up with the speed of the game. It makes college ball seem like a Merry-Go-Round. The bodies are more massive and much quicker than the beefcakes waddling around on Saturday afternoon.

    Trying to make the game safer by adjusting the play clock is strictly pro forma. There might be less concussions but more heat strokes.

    Do you really want to reduce injuries like concussions in the NFL? Tell your kids to forget about football. Let them take up golf!

  147. The idea of a more fluid free flowing football game is appealing as one of the biggest critiques I have is the large amount of time spent between each play. On the other hand a it gives players less time for them to assess the damage done to their body during the last play and accurately say if they need further medical attention of not. I believe the this idea may reduce the amount of injuries on both fronts in theory but in a practical use it would make no real changes to the amount of head trauma suffered in the sport as a whole.

  148. Not sure about the shorter time limit between plays. But why not a time limit on reviews? If it's not clear in, say, 60 seconds, the play stands as called on the field. After all, the players do not move in slow motion or stop action. Obvious blown calls should be, well, obvious on review. If the play has to be reviewed over and over in sloth time, we are definitely in nerdville.

    Maybe no helmets would reduce spearing and thus concussions. But then, back in 1905 when there were no helmets, 18 college players died as the result of head injuries on the field. And players were much smaller in those days.

  149. This argument neglects a major point. A 25 second play clock would increase the number of plays in any given game - as we see with all teams that run a hurry up offense. More plays inevitably leads to more injuries - concussions included. The author clearly lacks a solid standing in putting this forward...

  150. If the NRA were defending the football status quo, they would say that equipment doesn't cause concussions - players do.

  151. Since the advent of the 350-lb lineman and the 250-lb running back with the imposition of weight-trained bodies, the severities of the injuries has increased to the point where entire corps of "skill players" are sidelined.

    That surely doesn't make for an exciting game.

    A 25-second rule is a good idea as long as it is coupled by a reduction in the encouragement of he-man bodies that improve the flexibilties of the athletes as they play the game.

    The special preparation of playing fields to prevent the player's footwear from sliding under excessive force would save the knees and ankles of many, and would add interest to the game.

    Time for the NFL to take the lead in assuring the safety and health of their players instead of in assuring the bank accounts of 31 owners and a closed corporation (Green Bay) aren't continually being enhanced.

    And while they are at it, they my want to reduce the salaries of players and the ticket prices and the truly ridiculous amounts that they charge for a soda and a hot dog...and a watery soda an a cold hot dog they are, too.

  152. Here's my new gripe about pro football. We viewers see less and less of the game and its players, while being deluged with more and more commercial time. There seem to be commercials between every football play. What's said to be great about automobile X stops barely before the next snap from center. Bah!!!

  153. American football is ponderous (Canadian football is a bit faster). It takes about three hours to play a nominal hour game where (according to studies cited in the Wall Street Journal some years back) the ball is actually live, in-play maybe 10 minutes. Think of NFL and team revenues and player salaries per second of actual play!

    In rugby union the ball remains "live" and contested even after a tackle. In rugby league (a related sport a bit closer to our football with "tackles" equivalent to "downs") a tackled player immediately gets up and "plays the ball" (equivalent to the center's snap) to a team mate, hoping to advance the ball before the defense has time to organize itself (defending players in an offside position have to stay out of the play until back onside). No time wasted on placing the ball, substitutions (limited numbers are allowed), huddles, etc. and many fewer penalties (offsides, false starts, illegal formation, etc.)

    To be sure, both rugby forms are rough, players wear little protective gear, and there are injuries. There are penalties for unsafe conduct. I don't know if concussions and severe injuries are more or less frequent than with North American football. But they're faster paced sports that I'd bet Americans would enjoy if they were exposed to it.

  154. Apologies but American 'Football' is not sport. You should watch real football.

  155. And this is published 1 week to the day after Chip Kelly was fired? Kelly went 26 wins and 22 losses or 54% during his three years as a new NFL coach, actually quite good compared to many others. and the year before the Eagles had gone 4 wins, 10 losses. He will be back.

    Kelly ran his offense at exactly the pace the author suggests, yet three things led to his 6-9 record this year. One, according to many analysts, was that other teams figured his hurry-up out. (I disagree.) Another was player management decisions during the off-season. But the most important was injuries.

    Yes, every team has injuries, but over three seasons Kelly coached there is no evidence that the chaos and exhaustion seen in other team's defenses when the Eagles were playing their hurry-up well reduced injuries or concussions for either team on the field. Ask Jason Peters, their all-pro O-lineman, who missed the game that cost the Eagles a playoff spot and Kelly his job.

    Look at the data. It does not support the author's conjecture.

  156. Agree with a 25-second play clock. No huddle offense is far more entertaining for fans. Approaching the pace and excitement of #Ultimate. (While you're at it, put the officials on a shorter clock to resolve challenges. That's a killer.) BUT, a shorter play clock will not improve the prevalence of concussions. There are no grand pauses in hockey and concussions continue to plague the sport. Athletic people, money, hard surfaces and protective equipment will always yield concussions.

  157. I think that the article misses a significant point, while making it in part as well. A shorter play clock would lead to more player fatigue, and while this might reduce the single incident hard hits slightly due to fatigue, or reduce their impact, it would also lead to more overall injuries. Fatigue is a major cause of injury in all sports, why would football be different? Whether you have limited hard hits, or more soft ones on a fatigued and vulnerable body more likely to be injured on a player with judgement impaired by fatigue so that they cannot protect themselves as well, you have not solved the problem. You have merely changed it. Ruined joints and muscles may be less dramatic than concussions, but they are just as destructive to the players and their lives.

    There may not be a good way to totally reduce injuries, but technology can help, as can rules changes. Exhausting players, and removing the ability to have time for substitutions to protect players and keep minor injuries from becoming major is NOT the way in my opinion.

  158. The League is now proposing yet more rules - but - who are they trying to convince that player safety is one of their concerns? It is all about the $$$$ for Goodell and the team owners. Why would they add an extra game to the player's schedule? Also, why would they allow Ndamukong Suh to play in the league, when according to Suh his claim to fame will be harming NFL quarterbacks: As in a “kick” is not a “kick” or “jumping” on a quarterback’s ankle is not an attempt to break an ankle. Suh weighs more than 300 pounds and the ugliness of Suh’s threats and on-field behavior ought to be enough to get him permanently off the field: But abnormal aggression is ignored by the l zebras, team owners, coaches and Commissioner Goodell. Coaches and owners are desperate to have their teams in the Superbowl and if harming quarterbacks is required - then - jump on the quarterback, put the man out of the game and change the dynamics of having the best teams compete for the Superbowl. When NFL players like Suh, are paid big bucks to harm the opposition it displays the lack of credibility and any shred of integrity within the league’s administration.

  159. Anyone entering college or professional football knows the risks involved. You are betting hauling in a ton of money against the future or your brain. If later in life the material inside your skull is little better that lime Jello, you lost the bet. No sympathy for you.