May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will leave the world a little better for your having been here. -- Ronald Reagan

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Some Intersting Football History for Super Bowl Sunday

Here’s some interesting information I’ve come across about the history of football. I hadn’t paid much attention to football until 1972. I was a track guy, and could give you stats on lap breakdowns and distances jumped and thrown, sprint times etc. of world class track athletes. What happened in 1972 was the Miami Dolphins. A perfect season. (I lament my New England Patriots had a longer winning streak than the Dolphins, have more games in a season, but didn’t win the Big One that year.)

A perfect season. No loses and winning the Super Bowl. Here’s an interesting tidbit. The average offensive lineman for the Dolphins then was 260 pounds. The national all-star high school team average for offensive linemen is 310 pounds.  Damn.

The concussion issue is being dealt with, and I think with good results. There are, I think, 2,000 NFL players. They’re all super well compensated and have the highest quality medical care both on and off the field. There are about 3 million kids playing the game, and there are somewhere between 50,000 to 60,000 concussions a year. From various sports articles I’ve read, it seems this is being addressed, though I can’t determine effectiveness.

A little history I just learned is pretty stunning. At the beginning of the 20th century there was a move to get the game outlawed. Players were allowed to punch each other. Fighting was pretty much allowed. Broken noses, broken arms, and in 1905 nineteen players died.

College football was a nasty business too. Didn’t know this either, but there were players called “ringers” that were professional football players that would suit up and play on college teams. Turns out Theodore Roosevelt called several football officials to the White House and told them they need to clean up their act. They did, and that pretty much launched the modern era of the game. 

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