Concussions, as they should be, are front and center in the mind of football players, administrators and media.
What is being lost in that discussion is how debilitating the game is for the rest of the body. This is not a new discussion, certainly, but it’s one that’s quietly gaining a lot of momentum. Look at South Carolina’s football team. Quarterback Connor Shaw is sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury he suffered when 600 pounds of Tennessee defensive lineman jumped on his back Saturday. Defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, himself a 300-pounder, also suffered a knee injury. Quarles has regularly limped off the field this season, only to gather himself and come back on the field. Every Saturday he’s asking his body to do something that his joints, ligaments, etc., were not designed to do.
Now look at the SEC East. Florida and Georgia have been leveled by injury. Four teams in the division – the Gamecocks, Gators, Missouri and Vanderbilt – could be finishing their regular season without their starting quarterback. The NFL lost another rash of stars for the season this weekend.
The physics of football, as bodies get bigger and the bigger bodies get faster, are winning the battle with the human body, and it’s becoming a blowout. Take The Hit. ESPN’s Sports Science program estimated Jadeveon Clowney’s tackle of Michigan’s Vincent Smith created 3,300 pounds of force at the point of impact. Football is moving past the point where toughness is enough to survive. In fact, it’s moving past the point where the human body can be expected to survive long term in any sort of reasonable shape at all.
Around the SEC:
Les Miles jumped straight on his sword Monday as he diagnosed the reasons for LSU’s loss to Ole Miss. “There's a number of reasons why we don't win that game, but in my opinion it's me,” Miles said in his opening statement.
On the other end of the spectrum this week is Tennessee’s Butch Jones, who is the toast of Knoxville. This story looks at Jones admittedly “corny” motivational tactics.
Also, the SEC continues to defend the targeting rule.