Back when I was watching the Bills and Texans game with my wife, she asked me if I’d ever let our child play football.
I’m pretty sure I said “no” before she’d even finished asking. It’s a weird way for someone who is admittedly a football fan to not even consider letting their child play the game, but fuck it; there’s no way I’m letting my kid play football. Playing football sucks. If I can help it, my kid will never play a down of football. There’s other sports.
The NFL season started with Andrew Luck announcing his surprise retirement, admitting to himself and the world that he couldn’t deal with the constant pain on trying to rehab to play football. The season will end with Luke Kuechly, one of the best linebackers in football, retiring before his 30th birthday, for pretty much the same reasons.
Kuechly once got a concussion so bad that he burst into tears on the field; I don’t blame him a bit for not wanting to play anymore, especially for a league that’s been notoriously iffy about taking even the slightest amount of responsibility for the pain they put their players in.
It’s way too early to start crowing about football having a “crisis”; it’s the biggest sport in America, and I can’t imagine that would stop anytime soon. Football has at least two more generations before the number of parents willing to subject their children to a lifetime of pain and CTE.
Still, it does beg the question; how many guys are going to start to feel like playing football, for all the fun and love they have with the game, is no longer worth it? If it can happen for guys like Luck and Kuechly, who are bonafide All-Pro players who, with lengthy careers, probably would’ve been Hall of Famers just based on generally being well liked, why shouldn’t more players consider it?
At any rate, we here at DeadSplinter wish LUUUUUUUUUUUUKKKEEE a fun, restful and (hopefully) pain-free retirement. Good on ya for getting out while you can still do the things that truly make life worth living.