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NFL Injuries To Key Players Continue To Mount
Robert Griffin III Of The Washington Redskins
Several years ago in an effort to increase scoring in the NFL the rules committee of the league instituted rule changes that would allow offenses more latitude to score. Defenses were essentially handcuffed while offensive teams were allowed to set picks or screens using receivers which had been illegal before, use their hands to guide defensive players and given absolute freedom without contact five yards past the line of scrimmage.
The emphasis was on scoring and defenses and the game as a whole suffered. Along with those offensive changes that were instituted training regulations were changed also. Teams were restricted from the amount of contact that they could have in practice and training camp which looked good on the surface but in essence more than likely caused players to be more prone to injury.
St. Louis Rams' quarterback Sam Bradford didn't even survive the preseason and although he suffered a significant ACL injury last season the reduced contact restrictions imposed on NFL teams certainly doesn't help the situation.
For all intent and purpose rule changes have contributed to increasing injuries not the opposite.
The Cincinnati Bengals' A. J. Green
The Present Situation
Already in the 2014 NFL season Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green are out with significant injuries. Griffin suffered a dislocated ankle in the Redskins win over Jacksonville Jaguars in the second game of the season nd Green suffered tendon damage to his foot in the same week of play leaving his team without his services for at least four to five weeks.
Griffin's injury was the most devastating in that it not only removes the team's starting quarterback from play but also because he could be out for most if not all of the season.
This injury is the third significant injury in Griffin's short three year NFL career and raises questions about his durability and his ability going forward to avoid injury.
Green's injury although not as serious is equally debilitating to his team in that he is the leading receiver for the Bengals and an integral part of their passing attack.
In addition to these players several players suffered season ending injuries in the preseason which has to have fans, players, coaches and NFL organizations wondering what is causing so many injuries to players lately?
To answer that question one needs to look no further than the rule changes that have been made of late.
When the NFL rules committee starting changing the rules concerning NFL play and training they no doubt envisioned a league that would have high scoring games with key players being able to make it through an entire grueling season pretty much injury free except for the usual nicks and bumps. What they got instead was high scoring games played by many substitute players because the regulars were injured.
Everyone who has played football knows that players condition their bodies to take impact with other players by having contact in practice. practice is where a player "hardens" his body to absorb the blows it will take during the course of game and season. By reducing the amount of contact that NFL teams could have during the week the NFL put in place conditions that would allow players to become "soft" opening them up for more injuries not less.
With their bodies in a compromised position of being less toned and ready for impact NFL players were exposed to increased injury resulting in the loss of key players at key junctures of the season.
As so often happens when non-athletes are in charge of developing regulations, rules are brought about that either make no sense or infringe upon the integrity of the game.
That is exactly what has happened in this instance.
Instead of improving the game the rules committee(s) have impeded it and even prolonged the length of games due to the enormous increase in penalties called in a game. More flags are flying in a NFL game these days than on Flag Day and we have the infamous rules committee to thank for that.
There is an old saying that goes "If you don't know what you are doing get someone who does." The NFL rules committee would have done well to follow that advice.
How much more damage will the NFL game suffer before the ruling committee reverses some their decisions and restores the integrity, promise and solid play that marked decades of NFL play?
We can only hope they soon see the error of their ways and put the "F" back in NFL.