History Lesson

It has been a rough couple of weeks for the sport I… WE … love.

  • A study just released showed participation in youth football leagues across the country was down 10% last year… a significant hit (pun intended) and is attributed to fear of injury … specifically head injuries… on the parents part.
  • You can see the posturing for litigation beginning as former NFL stars test, and show signs, of CTE … chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
  • The “Locker Room” culture in the NFL, from hazing and bullying to overall bad behavior on some NFL teams, has been exposed and laid bare.

It’s not the first time football has been under siege, but it might be the most critical battle since our sport was almost banished in 1905 after 18 people died playing football.  A few things that happened in that year (1905) that saved the sport:

teddy-roosevelt-fb_4

There were several rule changes that were implemented that made the game inherently safer. These included …

  • Creating a neutral zone at the line of scrimmage
  • Increasing the yards to gain for a first down from 5 to 10
  • Legalizing the forward pass.

A prominent spokesperson stood up and defended the value of the sport – Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt believed that participating in sports “had an excellent effect in increased manliness.” He spoke specifically about football

“In short, in life, as in a football game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard!”

Roosevelt also convened a group that would eventually become the NCAA.

Fast-forward nearly 110 years…  Let’s learn from History.

New rules have recently been implemented that will, in the long run, make football safer.

There are currently some prominent people that are stepping up to address the virtues of our sport.   Tom Brady during an interview on MNF last week spoke about why football is such a great sport…

“That’s what football is all about… that’s why it’s such a great sport… it’s so much more than just athleticism.. It’s mental toughness, it’s discipline… it’s doing the right thing… it’s being selfless… it’s being part of a team”

Hall of Fame quarterback, and three-time Super Bowl champion Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers addressed the locker room culture in the NFL.  He said, without hesitation, that there is no room for it (hazing) in the sport.  He said when Bill Walsh came to the 49ers in 1979-80 he told his players that there would not be any “hazing” of the rookies… that they (the veterans) were to welcome and give them every opportunity to succeed, make the squad, and make our team better.  His legacy, record, and three Super Bowl titles speaks to the success of that attitude.

We need not wait for a prominent spokesperson to step up and save football in 2013…. It is up to us as coaches … as the most knowledgeable and important advocates regarding the benefits of our sport.  We know, can, and should articulate everything that is great about football.  We need to be at the forefront of this discussion, proactively promoting the values of participating in our sport.

Without a doubt it is a risk/ reward decision that has to be made regarding participation in football.  I believe, and always will, that the rewards far outweigh the risks associated with playing.

If you want to read more about how Teddy Roosevelt saved football, John Miller has written a book about it – The Big Scrum – How Teddy Roosevelt saved football
or you can read about it on the History Channel site here – How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football.

Thanks again to PrepsKC for running this column both online and in their weekly print magazine. If you get a chance to go and visit their site and “Like” this post, I would appreciate it!

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you.. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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8 thoughts on “History Lesson

  1. Honest Question….DO you feel/think/know back in the day of the ol’ leather helmet…..Concussions? More? Less? I feel less…my thoughts…you know your head is not protected by a hard shell so incase you will learn to tackle without your head. I have played many…MANY backyard tackle football games and NO head injuries, wrapped up and tackled…never used the head..none of us did! just a thought I wanted to throw out there…

  2. Reblogged this on Coach and Coordinator and commented:
    This post by Coach Jeff Floyd was written nearly a year ago. He starts by saying “It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the sport we love.” Well since that time it hasn’t become any easier. The season started amid controversy with famous NFL players. Last year’s Heismann trophy winner found more trouble for himself and was suspended. High school seasons were ended abruptly by hazing incidents. Furthermore, an ever increasing focus on the concussion problem threatens the future of football. Our game isn’t necessarily painted in a positive light.

    To this point, the game has been framed as of one of strength and brutality. It’s played by tough guys who are willing to endure the physical nature of the sport. Now many see the negative incidents highlighted almost weekly on the news as part of the culture of our game. As coaches, we need to help reset the image to showcase all of the positive aspects. Football really has become a thinking man’s game. Gone are the days of three yards and a could of dust. The top teams in the country at any level produce 500 yards a game of offense regularly. It’s no longer done with brute force. It’s execution of specific technique and strategy. Players need to read and react pre snap and post snap. Success on the field is reliant upon studying and understanding strategy and scheme.

    I’ve been able to put together a team of coaches willing to share the details of what helps them be on the cutting edge of strategy, scheme, and technique. We will be releasing their work early in the off season and continue to find the best coaches with the best content and make it interactive. Check out a few early releases here: https://coachesedgetechnologies.com/store/.

    In regard to what you can do to help our game, I’ve started a research project of my own asking coaches to send any plays where a concussion has occurred. The video will be used to help identify some solutions to help us with teaching blocking, tackling and other techniques in a way which we can make the game safer. Details on how to send video can be found here.

    Thanks for your help. Please contact me if you want to get involved with Coaches Edge Technologies. grabkj@gmail.com

  3. Pingback: Saving Our Sport | You Can Do More!

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