The violence of the NFL is a crisis that must be addressed sooner rather than later.
Mike Mitchell seems to play with a chip on his shoulder whenever he walks onto Heinz Field with the rest of the tough, stout Pittsburgh Steelers defense.
Mitchell’s hard-hitting, physical play style can be dated back to his time in Athens. From his time at Ohio to his play in Pittsburgh, Mitchell has made a name for himself by becoming a force at the safety position.
On Sunday afternoon, Mitchell and the Steelers found themselves in the midst of a defensive football game with the Cincinnati Bengals — a rivalry encapsulated by tough, physical games.
During the second quarter, Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones ran a route toward the middle of the field in the direction of Mitchell.
As the ball was thrown to Jones, Mitchell delivered a crushing hit to Jones, resulting in the wide receiver griping in pain on the field. Mitchell was seen cheering with his teammates as the Bengals' sideline grimaced from the hit.
After seeing this play, I began to wonder what the game of football has become. Maybe it is too violent.
Week eight in the NFL saw 43 players get injured during games. This is a rise from the 32 injuries in week seven, according to Sports Illustrated.
Though there are injuries every week in the NFL, week eight saw a variety of more serious injuries. Pro Bowlers like Cameron Wake and Le’Veon Bell are both done for the year after suffering a torn Achilles and a torn MCL respectively on Sunday. Running backs Khiry Robinson, Reggie Bush and wide receiver Keenan Allen are also out for the year after suffering injuries Sunday.
The alarming amount of injuries in week eight was hard to watch as an NFL fan. The more players get injured, the more it impacts their future play and their lives after football.
Fans of the NFL are naturally drawn to the violent nature of the game, however. The leveling tackles of Luke Kuechly combined with trucking ability of running backs like Marshawn Lynch have become common place in the NFL. Some fans are attracted to this brutality because it adds another level of excitement to the game.
With that, fan viewership also becomes an issue.
NFL football is broadcasted across the country on major networks such as CBS, NBC and FOX. Though this violence occurs on the field, is the younger generation also more inclined to replicate the play on the field? This seems to be a dangerous thought considering some of the antics NFL players deliver on a weekly basis. The cycle of violent football will seemingly never end if the play on the field is being viewed by generation after generation.
Though the big hits are indeed thrilling, I find myself watching the same thing every NFL Sunday. Each week, injury after injury seem to pile up, and soon enough, the proclaimed “stars” of the NFL are watching the games from the sideline.
Why tune into the NFL games if you can’t watch stars such as Jamaal Charles or Bell take the field? It’s a shame that these injuries happen to players with such great potential, but at some point action must be taken in order to reverse the trend seen today.
The NFL has taken strides to prevent devastating injuries by making knee/thigh pads mandatory and by clarifying defenseless player rules. However, it still doesn’t change the fact that major injuries are occurring each week in the NFL.
A potential solution to the issue could include higher training regimes for players in the offseason, or even just a heavier emphasis on medical research within the NFL. It’s time the NFL looks into the cause of all of these severe injuries, and how these injuries can be prevented from occurring or at least reduced in number.