People all over the world will watch Super Bowl XLVIII for different reasons.
Some are fans of the team participating.
Some want to see the commercials.
Some are looking for a potential mate.
Ultimately, everyone watching will see the world’s most violent and entertaining sport.
Football is the closest thing we have to gladiators of Ancient Rome. Remember what Russell Crowe’s character, Maximus, said in the movie “Gladiator?”
"Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained?! Is this not why you are here?!"
When Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman makes a tackle, some of us might say “Great hit.” The morbid part of all of this is that he might be slowly eroding what’s left of his mental health.
American football as we know it is under assault. After all of the deaths due to long term health effects, the NFL has closed ranks. Have you noticed the NFL never says CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy? Just concussions. The NFL knows that the “They knew what they were getting themselves into” argument no longer has any legs to stand on. Especially since the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants to extend the season two games along with inconsistent fines for player misconduct.
According to the Napa Valley Register, at least 18 former NFL players have been identified as suffering from CTE since the University of Pittsburgh and Boston University began studying the brains of deceased players over a decade ago.
Knowing this, some questions must be raised. Should we watch? Should football be done away with altogether? Would you let your sons play the game?
America’s most watched sporting event is the Super Bowl-- the latest installment, Super Bowl XLVIII.
As someone who played the sport and now follows it as a sportswriter, I have mixed feelings about the game. Back when I played, I probably had a concussion or two and didn’t even know it. In those days, any weakness shown did not reflect well in the eyes of coaches and teammates.
Football is a sport where channeled aggression is needed for survival. The NFL is the most cutthroat of the four major American sports league in terms of player contracts. The average NFL career is roughly three years. An NFL player may sign a six, seven -year deal but it is simply a series of one-year contracts.
Most fans have no idea what goes on with most football players. Remember how some Bears fans reacted when they heard about the number of years Jay Cutler had on his contract? In that situation, emotion trumped logic. The fans saw the numbers of years instead of what Cutler will actually play. This is another four, five season at the most.
Today’s NFL player knows what the long-term effects of playing the game are. Some may not be able to remember where they parked their car but the fact that they were able to achieve generational wealth for themselves and their families makes the tradeoff worth it. That may not sound like a sound judgment call to most, but the thought process is prevalent in the NFL.
According to a study done by ESPN.com, 85 percent of the NFL players polled said they would play in the Super Bowl if even they had a concussion. The overwhelming amount of players tells us that football is more than a game to these guys. They have bills to pay and families to feed.
Tennessee Titans defensive back Bernard Pollard, who played in last year Super Bowl with Baltimore Ravens, echoed the sentiments of the majority of the players polled.
“We are competitors. We want to go out there and entertain. That's all we are. We're entertainers. Guys want to go out there,” Pollard told ESPN.com.” They don't want to let themselves down. They don't want to let their teammates down.”
The game is a barbaric sport.
Most people who will watch Sunday night’s game couldn’t care less about the mental health of the players on the field. It is all about entertainment like Pollard said.
Maybe that ought to change.