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SBD/February 12, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Bill Polian Says NFL Should Consider Widening Field For Safety Precautions
Published February 12, 2013
FEWER CONCUSSIONS IN CFL: In Sacramento, Victor Contreras writes while the CFL "has had its share of concussions, studies report fewer in our neighboring league, and one of the reasons cited is the wider field." If there is "a change, it's believed the NFL will keep its 100-yard-long field and 10-yard end zones." But still, the "advantages would belong to offenses with more room to run and pass." Player safety is "important, but is it worth it at the expense of changing the dynamics of the game?" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/12). ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan said, "If it shows any evidence at all that it’s going to prevent concussions or more injuries, I’m all for it. But I want to see the study first.” But Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said with “more room to run around, I think you get more violent collisions." Cowlishaw: "I don’t think looking at the type of players they have in the CFL would tell you, ‘Well, this is going to reduce concussions in the NFL.’” ESPN’s J.A. Adande said, “I’m selling it. If one of the means to avoid injury is by running out of bounds, now you’re going to increase distance that it takes to get out of bounds. I don’t see how that’s going to help” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 2/11). Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said, "What it would do as a practical matter is put a weight limit on the NFL, because you widen the field and you move guys out and you spread guys around. You need players who can move more quickly” ("PFT," NBC Sports Network, 2/11).
IS FOOTBALL WORTH IT? In Boston, Bob Ryan wrote, "I would argue that football today is more strategically complex and fascinating than at any point in its existence." Is football, as "entertaining as it can be, worth it?" Or would we "as a society be better off without it?" Ryan: "I believe that millions of American football fans live in denial." Football "maims people" and can "cause severe neurological damage." Ryan wrote, "I speak not of theory. I speak of fact." This being "true, how can any serious person support such an activity?" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/10)