Football is about as popular as a sport can be.
Attendance at the games is great, TV viewership is off the charts, and interest in the game has never been higher.
However, while football may have usurped baseball as “America’s Pastime,” there are some nagging issues surrounding the game that have been getting quite a bit of attention.
The biggest issue is CTE, or “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy,” which is essentially a disease that leads to the deterioration of the brain and has been linked to football.
A violent game, it’s really no surprise that there are some medical issues that arise from playing the sport.
The NFL recently acknowledged the connection between its sport and CTE, and even prior to that, there has been plenty of discussion about whether or not the sport will begin to die a slow death as more parents refuse to let their children play.
Really, would you blame anyone for trying to push their child to another, less-dangerous sport in order to shield them from the violence of football?
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, actually, would.
“It’s the greatest game in the world; I think it teaches more values than any other game that you play,” Arians told MMQB’s Peter King Wednesday. “Toughness, get up and fight.
“When you have things that happen in your life that aren’t going to be good, if you play football you know how to handle them. It doesn’t necessarily equate in track and other things.”
King asked Arians if he was referring to individual sports, and Arians said yes while adding the nature of the sport makes a difference, too.
“And some other team sports that aren’t the same because they’re not as physical and you don’t grow as a man or woman if you play the game like you should in other sports,” he said. “We have this fear of concussion that is real, but not all of those –I think statistics can prove anything; we’ve got new helmets coming out, we’ve got safety issues.”
Arians pointed out that there are more concussions in women’s soccer in youth sports than in football, and said no one is calling for the end of women’s soccer. Whether or not that claim is accurate is a matter of discussion, as reporting of such injuries is very much an inexact science. However, the coach’s main point is that football is not the only sport in which a child can get hurt, yet it seems to be the one in everyone’s crosshairs.
“It’s the same thing with knee injuries. There are more knee injuries at eight to 12 in soccer than in football,” he added. “You can find all the statistics you want if you want to crucify something.
“Our game is great, people that say I won’t let my son play it are fools because there are DNA tests now and I can give your kid and tell you the chances of your child having a concussion or if they should play a contact sport of any kind. It’s only $400, go get one.”
The coach’s defense of the game is understandable given that the 63-year-old has spent more than half of his life involved with it. That said, there is no doubt the league is trying to make its game safer, as many of its rule changes over the last handful of seasons have been made in an effort to cut down on violent hits and collisions.