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Thread: Starkey: Football needs a timeout

      
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    Default Starkey: Football needs a timeout

    Starkey: Football needs a timeout

    By Joe Starkey, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Sunday, May 30, 2010





    LaMarr Woodley
    Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review file





    I like football as much as the next guy, but this is getting ridiculous.

    It's beyond ridiculous, actually.

    It's abusive.

    I'm talking about the proliferation of games and practices on all levels, from pee-wees to the pros.

    Let's start at the top. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell claims to be deeply concerned about long-term health issues facing players, including the persistent concussion problem. Yet, the Commish continues to endorse the idea of expanding an already brutal 16-game regular season, perhaps to 18 games.

    If adding two games seems insignificant, consider that it would be the equivalent of adding 10 games to the NHL season or 20 to the Major League Baseball season. It's two more days of car-wreck collisions, any one of which could end a career.

    Players, of course, will listen if it means more money, but as Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley told me: "It ain't about the money if you get hurt."

    Think about this: Players must play three seasons plus three games to become vested, and that only guarantees five years of post-career health insurance. As players' union excutive director DeMaurice Smith told The Charlotte Observer: "Adding two more games will now add eight more barriers to a guy being able to get just five years of health care."

    Goodell and his bosses - the team owners - should be ashamed. This would be nothing more than a money grab, owners raking in cash from fans and television networks at the expense of player welfare.

    Laughably, Goodell says the whole thing would be about rewarding fans with a better product. Two preseason games, the thinking goes, might be dropped in favor of the two additional regular-season games - as if the exhibitions are any worse than meaningless late-season games where teams rest starters for the playoffs.

    Won't it be fun to see the Colts start 14-0 and rest their starters for four games instead of two?

    And how about the prospect of wearing down the work force to the point where the playoffs become a lesser product?

    It's no better in college football, where the NCAA claims to be so concerned about the academic welfare of its "student-athletes" that it won't endorse a major-college playoff, yet it voted to add a 12th regular-season game four years ago. That meant some teams would play 14 games, including a conference championship and a bowl game.

    More league championships are on the way, to a bloated conference near you.

    Don't even get me started on the sick joke that is spring football. As I watched Pitt's spring game last month, I couldn't help but think, why is Dion Lewis on a football field shedding tacklers in the middle of April?

    Last we'd seen of Lewis, he was carrying the ball a combined 73 times in the final two games of the season. Does he really need to be absorbing hits in April? Does any college running back?

    The pros don't hit during the spring. Why should the colleges?

    Local high school teams would be smashing each other silly for no reason every spring, too, if the coaches had their way. The Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association wants to add spring football to a year-round docket that already includes, you know, a season that runs from August into December.

    Thankfully, PIAA executive director Brad Cashman and the state board won't even put the issue of spring football to a vote. Cashman says it's a non-starter because it would rob other spring sports of athletes.

    I asked Cashman if he would still be opposed to the idea if it didn't interfere with other sports. He said less so. But he also said he wouldn't like the notion of holding spring football after all those sports had completed their seasons because "you'd be taking away from kids' vacations."

    Vacations? Who has a time for a vacation?

    I say we start the season in June and play twice a week 'til May.

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_683719.html

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    Default Re: Starkey: Football needs a timeout

    Congratulations, Joe Starkey - you've missed part of the point and joined Ron "Dark Side" Cook.
    'I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ***-kickers, ****-kickers and Methodists.'

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    Default Re: Starkey: Football needs a timeout

    You can never have enough football. Dropping two preseason games for two more regular season games makes sense.
    At the collegiate level, a playoff format would greatly improve the landscape. I like watching spring games, they get me ready for college football.
    At the High School level, spring practice might be a bit much because of all the sports kids play.
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