Sporting News Examines How Concussion Dangers Will Shape Future Of NFL
With the NFL "facing lawsuits and intense public scrutiny, the league has no choice but to be proactive regarding safety," according to Clifton Brown in the fourth part of a weeklong feature on the impact of NFL concussions for SPORTING NEWS. The fourth entry in Sporting News' special report is titled, "Changes Coming In Quest For More Perfect Violence." NFL Competition Committee Chair Rich McKay "insists the league has always made player safety a priority." McKay said, “If we have to do something from a safety perspective, we’re going to do it, and we’re not going to worry about the blowback from the public, former players, or current players that always come out when we make a change.” A study authorized by the NFLPA indicated that "the number of concussions on kickoffs decreased" 43% from '10 to '11. McKay "wants the competition committee to monitor the impact of the new kickoff rule for several more seasons before considering more potential changes." McKay: "Would we ever eliminate kickoffs? I don’t know what the future holds. Kickoffs are part of the game’s tradition, and we’re very hesitant to change tradition unless we need to. But if we need to, we will.” Steelers LB James Harrison said, "Believe it or not, some of the changes being made are good. But I believe they are trying to make a rule for every incident, and you can’t do that. There are things that happen on a football field that you can’t control." In addition to on-field rule changes, the feature examines the likelihood of an increased regular season schedule, how NFL equipment "will look much different 10 years from now," and the potential of leaguewide mandates for independent neurologists and post-concussion waiting periods (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 8/23).