Is it worth the headache?

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Over the years, the number of concussions in the NFL has increased massively.  Between 2014 and 2015, the concussion percent rose over 30%.  The most common reason for concussions in the NFL is head on head contact, which is why they banned “head slaps” for good.  The NFL continues to think of new rules and policies that could possibly decrease the amount of concussions.  For example, they’ve advanced the “roughing the passer” penalty to make it more strict and inclusive, as well as the “unnecessary roughness” penalty.  So the question is, what are more effective ways the NFL could further prevent concussions?

 
In my opinion, the only reason NFL players still occasionally “bump heads” intentionally is because the consequence is bearable and not intimidating. The highest penalty for “unsportsmanlike conduct” is 15 yards in the current game.  I think the consequence should be more lasting and punishing.  I believe if a player is clearly headbutting on purpose and continuously, there should be talk of a possible suspension.  The only thing 15 yards accomplishes is maybe a yell from the coach, but a short 1, maybe 2 game suspension will surely prevent players from making the same mistake.  Also, most players keep quiet if they notice double vision, blurriness, or other symptoms of a concussion.  They would rather play in the game and not miss any opportunity to compete.  If players told someone right away if they were experiencing any symptoms, it would prevent their concussion from getting even worse.  Even if this strategy won’t technically prevent concussions, it would stop the players from making the injury even worse.  If a player notices any concerning symptoms, they should tell their coach immediately.  Lastly, there are some ways players could prevent concussions by just being more aware on the field and knowing some strategies during play.  All in all, even though the NFL has managed to decrease concussion numbers over the years, I think with these strategies, they could really put NFL concussions in the past.

~Sarah

Broncos Upset Panthers In Super Bowl 50

Nov 11, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) is hit as he throws a pass by Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe (95) and defensive end Robert Ayers (91) in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE ORG XMIT: USPW-82002 ORIG FILE ID: 20121111_bsd_sd2_626.JPG

After gaining a 31-0 lead on the Seahawks in the divisional round and blowing out the Cardinal’s high octane offense 49-15, no one was giving the Broncos a chance in last week’s Super Bowl. The Panthers were hot, finishing 18-1 in the regular and postseason behind league MVP Cam Newton who not only scored with his arm, but his legs as well, gaining 50 total touchdowns despite being held back by the loss of his number 1 WR from the year before, Kelvin Benjamin. The defense was a formidable unit as well, lead by Josh Norman, who week after week shut down the best receivers the NFL had to offer, and Luke Kuechly, who had 118 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and had scored a touchdown the week prior to the Super Bowl against the Cardinals. The Panthers final opponent of the year, the Broncos, were written off as to be the final win the Panthers would get before they could claim the Lombardi. The Broncos starting QB in Peyton Manning had looked bad all season, throwing the 2nd most interceptions in the league this season, despite missing half of it, and throwing an abysmal 9 touchdowns. Despite everything the Panthers had going for them, the Broncos shocked the sporting world, leaving Levi’s Stadium with the Lombardi Trophy, and here’s the 3 reasons why.

The first reason the Broncos upset the 5.5 point favorites in the Panthers was that they limited Peyton Manning’s mistakes. After being put back into the lineup in week 17 versus the Chargers, Gary Kubiak realized that Manning couldn’t make the throws that he used to be able to, so he changed his offense. The Broncos switched to a run oriented offense, focusing on pounding opponents with Ronnie Hillman and CJ Anderson, and when Peyton had to make throws, they were short and quick, as to minimize the damage he could create. While Peyton still threw a pick on Sunday, it was made up for by the Broncos defense.

The second reason the Broncos were able to topple the Panthers on Sunday was that their running game came through for them. Facing the league’s 2nd best run defense didn’t phase the Broncos offense, as they rushed the ball 28 times notching 90 yards and 1 CJ Anderson touchdown that sealed the Broncos’ victory late in the fourth quarter.

The third and the most important reason the Broncos beat the Panthers was their amazing defensive performance. 2 weeks after harassing Tom Brady’s Patriots, the Denver pass rush made swiss cheese out of the Carolina offensive line, getting a Super Bowl record 7 sacks, 2.5 of which coming from Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. The Denver D also forced 3 turnovers, 1 returned for a TD and another giving the Broncos the ball near the goaline which CJ Anderson would turn into a touchdown a few plays later. Thanks to Peyton limiting mistakes, the running game coming through, and Denver’s magnificent play on defense, the Broncos were able to upset the Panthers 24-10 to win Super Bowl 50.

~ Sean

Concussions in Football

I play football. I have also suffered a concussion from it. Concussions are a huge part of the sport. If you have watched more than one game, at any level, you have probably witnessed a concussion. Over the past two seasons, there has been 306 players who have suffered 323 concussions. That means multiple concussions for multiple people. Diseases like Alzheimer’s have been proven to be 35 times greater in past NFL players than everyday people. Most of this is due to concussions suffered in their career. Lots of times the player will go back into the game after suffering the head injury. And the most dangerous time after a concussion is within 10 days. This means they may suffer another one minutes after their first. This can cause the diseases.

Personally, I think their has to be better awareness if a player looks like they may have suffered a concussion. After they are diagnosed, they should still go through protocol to make sure they are ready to play the next week. When I played, I went to the doctors, and got approved to play then my coach had to make sure I was ready by increasing the amount of running and hitting I do each day. I was back playing again in less than two weeks. But most of the time players lie and say they feel fine, but really they don’t. This leads to more concussions within the same time frame, and diseases after their career. This is even bigger in youth football because children’s brains are still developing and can acquire these diseases even earlier.

~Frank

The College Football Playoff: A Trial Run For the Ages

 

For many years, NCAA Division I college football fans have been begging for a playoff system in the “postseason,” and this year, their wish is being granted. Starting this season, Division I FBS college football will have a mini “playoff” at the end of the year, with the four best teams in the nation (as voted upon by a selection committee made up of experienced officials) playing in a semifinal, followed by the championship game for the two winners. Leading up to the playoff, starting on October 28th, weekly rankings will be created by the same committee, listing the best 25 teams in the country in order. The old system, which was made up of one championship game in which the two teams were selected by a computer program, is different from the new system, in which the selection committee does it all without any help from computers. They only use necessary data and  their own personal observations/opinions to make their decisions. I have called this a “trial run for the ages” because if this new system doesn’t pan out well, it will most likely be reverted back to the previous method, much to the dismay of pretty much everyone.

I am a big fan of the college football playoff for most of the same reasons as everyone; it is more fair, exciting, and we get to watch more football. As I previously stated, unlike the old championship scenario, the teams involved in the playoff will be selected by real, experienced people, not computers. This allows unimportant and irrelevant information to be excluded from the decision, which wouldn’t be possible with computers. For us, we just get to watch more great, high-powered football as well. The semifinal games will be played on New Year’s Eve and New Years’ Day, and I don’t know one college football fan that wouldn’t like to end the old year and kick off the new one with exciting and well-matched football. Plus, this new popular system will increase revenue for the NCAA and all of the schools involved. For example, schools that make the playoff will be able to make merchandise for making the semifinal, possibly moving on the championship game, and then potentially winning it all.

Personally, I feel that this new, intriguing system will be a great thing for college football, and it will only continue to grow in these coming years.

~Mark

Swimming: The Forgotten Sport

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein. Only swimmers would truly understand this. Every single day, we drag ourselves to the freezing pool where we swim back and forth for hours and hours upon end, hoping for success all the while. Depending on the day of the week, we’ll pull ourselves out of the water, change, and head home. On other days, we’ll stay to lift weights, run, and complete physically demanding exercises. We do all of this after a two hour long, hard core swim practice. The next day, we do it all over again. But, there is a method to our madness. The old saying, practice makes perfect, applies to swimmers more than any other athlete in the world. We bust our bottoms day in and day out, following the same routine, staring at the same black line on the bottom of the pool, and completing the same sets over and over again. As crazy as it may seem, this cycle makes us better. Our practices may be ruthless and torturous, but they pay off in the long run. In competition, we sometimes achieve times we never thought possible for ourselves, but no one, other than family and close friends, is there to watch us. We may work this hard, but we’re the only ones who know it. The rest of the world is convinced that swimming is not a sport, and even if they think it is a sport, they’ll most likely believe that it’s strictly a wimp sport.

I’m here to inform you that it’s not, and that swimmers are tired of being ignored. We train for one of the most physically demanding sports on Earth, and when people tell me that swimming is easy, I do not let them get away with it. I tell them to join me at a practice, as I want to see how long they’d actually last. I predict around fifteen minutes, thirty at the most, but people still don’t get it. I dare you to go to a high school football game, and then a high school swim meet. At the football game, the whole town will be there. Kids who aren’t even in high school yet will be there. Parents, friends, adults, children, and anyone who has some spare time will show up. The game will be on the front page of the newspaper the next day, and everyone will be talking about the outcome. On the other hand, nobody even pays attention to the swim meets. The only people who show up are family. Maybe if a friend is extremely bored, they’ll come, and eighth graders who plan on swimming in high school may make an appearance as well. Other than that, the pool deck is empty. We as swimmers don’t get enough credit, but we’re going to start standing up for ourselves. We’re going to be so great that people can’t help but be intrigued by us. After all our lifestyle is much harder than a football player’s. We don’t get time-outs, or substitutions in the middle of a race. We have to dig deep down and find the energy to keep moving, which is more work than a football player will ever have to do. Swimming is the real sport here, and should be recognized. Next time you see a swim meet on your high school’s sport calendar, I suggest you attend it. Who knows what could happen? You could end up loving it, and writing about it, and going to every single event held by that team. You could even be the person to finally make swimming famous. I suggest that everyone gives this a try, because you might just end up changing the swimming world forever.

~Haley

 

Can’t Forget the Titans

Football. Enraged coaches. Loud boys. Sounds like the typical go-to movie for middle school and high school boys, right? The answer couldn’t be any further from no. Remember the Titans, although being about the popular sport of football, has an incredibly deep plot, with too many important lessons and themes to count weaved in between the pleasantly fulfilled scenes. This past Monday, I had the chance to watch the movie in class and to reflect on the qualities demonstrated by the characters. By the end of the movie it was evidently apparent that there was not a single person in the classroom who was not moved and touched by the viewing in one way or another.

The plot starts off in Virginia of 1971, during the time of when integrated races was just being introduced. One town in particular was having to mix their high school with students who were both black and white. This idea was considered outrageous at the time, for segregation between the two skin colors was distinctly defined as prohibited prior to this. However, with new rules beginning to become enforced, the town has to learn to cooperate. The story is focussed on the high school’s football team, the Titans, and how they overcame their differences and learned to work together as a team. Although encountering numerous difficulties, their coach Herman Boone not only whips them into immaculous shape, but forces them to treat each other as equals. At one point he says, “I don’t care if you like each other right now, but you will respect each other”. However, at the end, it becomes clear that they more than respect each other. Referring to each other as “brothers”, their tight, unbreakable bond is what leads them to victory in the end, in both life and football.

Overall, Remember the Titans demonstrated the capability of successfully setting aside our differences in culture and race to work together to reach one goal. Whether this goal be something as big and broad as making the world a better place, or as small as winning a football game, they are all relevant and share equal importance. Personally I believe that even in today’s world, years and years after equal rights laws and the end of segregation, our tendency of making accepting uniqueness a difficult task is what separates us as a good nation from a great nation. If our world took a close look at this inspiring movie, there is no doubt in my mind that it would become a significantly better place than it exists as today.

~Liz

Cheshire 8th grade football team

 

This year will probably be my last year with my football team or other known as my family. Next year I might be attending Notre Dame High School. Its been hard to except the fact that this might be it but I guess sometimes its just time to move on. My highlights of my team has been “My Play” also known as “207”.   This play is designed for me, the tight end, to go out on a simple 5 yard sideline pass that I have scored multiple times with. Another highlight has been the coaching staff including coach Sansone, coach Graikowski, coach Lamadeline, coach Nelson and coach Whalen.  With are record being 4-2 we are most likely in the playoffs already but with are 2 hardest games all season coming up next we have our work cut out for us.

My opinion on the rest of the season depends on are opponents in the playoffs.  For the past 2 years we have been kicked out of the playoffs by the same team (east haven) in the first round.  But since the easties (east haven) lost Mike Tonero their best player last year there should be no problems this year.  Hopefully we will take a long ride in the playoffs.  With three new formations we should catch are opponents off guard.  The more we keep the other teams offense off the field the better chance we have to get in the championship.

~Will

RGIII’s Road To Recovery

Last year Robert Griffin III tore his ACL. It was a devastating injury that was hard for all Redskins fans to hear. But now RGIII has recovered and made it back for the beginning of the 2013 season. First game though he had a bad first half acting timid under pressure and missing passes. It’s also not hard to see that he’s not running like he used to either. Last year before the injury, RGIII was one of the best rushing quarterbacks in the NFL. So my question is will RGIII comeback to be the RGIII all Redskins fans knew and grew to love?

I believe RGIII can make it back to a full recovery. I don’t think it’s going to be very soon though. Without any preseason games he came back timid. But on top of that he, in my eyes, is not fully recovered. RGIII will be back to his full capability by the middle of the season. Yes, I don’t believe he will run like he did until then. I know some people will disagree and say he’s fine now but think about it. First and second game of the season he was not doing what he did last year. He’s running but trying to avoid contact, he’s throwing but off balance. It’s the little things that make a difference of a 5 yard run and a 15 yard run or an incomplete pass and a 20 – 30 yard pass. So my look is that RGIII is not back yet and when he is. You’ll know.

~Michael Sansone

The Final Showdown

Every year the two best teams in college football battle it out in the final game of the season. Since 1998 the BCS title game has decided who is the best team in the nation. This year the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will be playing the Alabama Crimson Tide in Miami Florida on January 7th. The two best defences will be up against each other as both offences will have to find a way to get something going. Bama is looking to collect their second straight title but the undefeated Irish are the only team in their way who are trying to earn their first since 1988. Both teams strategies are to stop each others running game but on offence to pound the ball up the middle so the turnout will be decided by execution. Also turnovers will greatly impact the results of the 2013 NCAA BCS title game. Notre Dame’s key player is Heisman candidate Manti Te’o who plays left back. He will need to have a great performance to give his team a victory. On the other side of things Alabamas key player is center Barrett Jones. To give the Crimson Tide the edge he will need to protect his quarterback from Notre Dames tough front 7.

Personally I believe Notre Dame will come out with the win against number 2 Alabama. I think this because Alabama just gave up  384 yards and 28 points to Georgia in the SEC title game and the last few games Everett Goldston and the Notre Dame offence has been clicking gaining 439 yards and 22 points against a good USC team. Also Notre Dame went undefeated this season beating number 6 Stanford , number 11 Oklahoma and number 18 Michigan while Alabama only beat number  8 LSU ,number 7 Georgia and number 18 Michigan but they lost to  number 9 Texas A&M. The reason they lost this game was because they couldn’t contain the  pass and run player that AJ McCarron is and Everett Goldstone is exactly that type of player.

Another reason why I think Notre Dame will win is that they have  an extra week of preparing and Alabama had to play a tough Georgia team so they could be a little beaten up. Notre Dame has one of the top defences in the nation against the run. This is not good news for Alabama because most of their offence comes out of the running game. They are going to have a tough time scoring if they can’t generate the run gain. Lastly Notre Dame’s defense is first in defensive points so if Notre Dame can cause these turnovers and score like they’ve been doing then they will definitely come up with a victory.

~Robert Pellegrino

Concussions

Only over the past few years the NFL has really started to learn more about the lasting effects of concussions. The game of professional football is a very physical sport. Athletes collide with each other at full speed and take blows equivalent to the force of a 30 mph car to the head and body throughout the game. Many times they can develop concussions without even knowing about them and play the rest of the game with them. Last season there were a total of 190 concussions reported in the NFL. Over time these concussions can take effect on the brain and lead to chronic brain injuries. The NFL is facing lawsuits from former players that are claiming that the NFL covered up research about concussions in 1994. I personally think the NFL knew about concussions but didn’t care much for them until they got sued.

The NFL has taken action in order to cut down on the risk of concussions.  In 2011 they implemented new guidelines about concussions. If a player is suspected of having a concussion they will be given a test and if they fail that test then they cannot play. They must pass the test before they are able to play again. This is a good rule on the leagues part because before stars would be pressured to play with concussions because their teams depended on them in order to win. Also the fans want to see them play, but playing with a concussion can only make it worse. Another rule is that if a player’s helmet gets knocked off he must come out of the game for one play. And finally the manufacturer of the helmets for the NFL has taken action in helping to make the helmets safer for the players. The NFL has even donated $30 million dollars to research about brain related injuries. I personally think the only reason the NFL is taken action is because of the lawsuit but atleast they are doing these things to make the sport of football more safe.

~Matt Bonito