Strong opinions, weakly held

Get rid of the football helmet

Last month I suggested in a post about concussions in football that it’s football helmets that are the biggest problem. Helmets are ostensibly protective gear, but they’re what enable football players to use their bodies as weapons. Most concussions are caused by helmet to helmet collisions, and those that aren’t are usually caused by the fact that players where enough protective gear to stay out of control. Now Reed Albergotti and Shirley Wang have a story in the Wall Street Journal asking the same kinds of questions. Football with different protective gear would be a different sport, but that may not be so bad.


  1. I wonder how football injury statistics stack up against professional rugby.

  2. @Yaov: Union or League? The two codes are really separate, but similar, sports. For the record, Rugby League is the closest to American and Canadian football, so you’d want to use the Rugby League injury statistics for a decent analysis.

    @Rafe: I’d go further – I’d get rid of all the body padding too, though you do that, and the only pracical things that separate American and Canadian football from Rugby League are the ability to forward pass, a different scrum/scrimmage formation, and the constant stopping and starting, which, for those of us who enjoy League and Union, is a constant irritation.

  3. While you’re at it, why not get rid of special teams and the whole offensive/defensive concept?

    In the “good old days” of leather helmets and Knute Rockne players stayed on the field until they were injured or tired out. Once a player left the field, he was not allowed to return.

  4. I think it would be fun if players still had to play both ways.

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