New Will Smith Movie “Concussion”

New Will Smith Movie “Concussion”

Will Smith stars in the new movie Concussion. The film focuses on Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian-born physician who first discovered the disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in football players and wrestlers. Dr. Omalu discovered the disease while performing Steeler legend Mike Webster’s autopsy in 2002. The new discovery tied Webster’s mental problems and premature death at age 50 to repetitive head trauma suffered playing football. Dr. Omalu found similar patterns in the brains of Terry Long, who committed suicide at age 45, and Andre Waters, who committed suicide at age 44. With the new movie coming out, I thought it important to repost an earlier piece regarding my talks with former NFL players about brain injuries. I’ve posted the article below the movie’s trailer. Discussing Concussions and Other Brain Injuries with NFL Players 4.86/5 ( 97% ) based on 7 ratings The Game before the Money: Voices of the Men Who Built the NFL introduced me to dozens of […]

What Would Expanded College Football Playoffs Look Like?

We’ve all heard the talk promoting an 8- or 16-team college football playoff. Commentators both celebrated the death of the BCS, and lamented the new system. The Big 12’s exclusion from the 2014 playoffs amplified calls for expanded playoffs. Arguments for Stanford rang out this year, proponents insisting the Pac-12 compiles the strongest conference schedule. Expanded playoffs grant more teams a shot at the national championship. Simple. Obvious. Why not give Baylor and TCU a chance last year? Stanford has an Outland Trophy winner and maybe a Heisman winner in 2015. Why not let them in? Wouldn’t more teams generate more excitement? In principle, playoff expansion is simple. Let’s dig a little deeper, however, and question if expanded playoffs are better for the game. EIGHT-TEAM PLAYOFF USING 2015 FINAL RANKINGS The college football playoff committee selected Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State, and Oklahoma as the 2015/2016 national championship field. An 8-team playoff in 2015 would pit Clemson against Notre Dame in the first […]

Stanford’s Garnett wins Outland Trophy

Stanford guard Joshua Garnett won the 2015 Outland Trophy. Garnett’s win marks the first time a Stanford player claimed the award, and the first time an offensive guard won the award since 1997, when Nebraska’s Aaron Taylor took the honors. Garnett helped pave lanes for Stanford Heisman Trophy candidate Christian McCaffrey. Garnett’s muscle also helped Stanford amass 30 or more points in each of their last 12 contests while leading the nation in time of possession. Noteworthy blocks like this prompted voters to check Garnett’s box for the Outland. Watch #51 as he blocks downfield: The Outland Trophy cements a tremendous NCAA football career for Garnett.  The story began with Garnett suiting up as Stanford’s first true freshman offensive line starter since 2000. He logged 14 games as a sophomore on one of the country’s top offensive lines. He made Athlon’s preseason all Pac-12 team as a junior. His senior season put him atop many preseason lists, and culminated by […]

An Appreciation: Bart Starr Part 2

(Starr painting by Robert Hurst) Bart Starr Appreciation Part 1 located here. Bart Starr remains the only quarterback to win 5 NFL championships. Tom Brady’s closing in with four, and Otto Graham might have won 5 NFL championships had the Browns started in the NFL rather than the AAFC. Regardless, Starr stands alone with 5 rings, and is also the only quarterback to win 3 straight NFL championships. Yet in the “Greatest of All-Time” discussion, many garner more attention. People often mention  Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, Terry Bradshaw, and Peyton Manning first. Even quarterbacks without championships – Dan Marino comes to mind – often find themselves introduced into the conversation before Starr. The situation isn’t unusual to Starr. Although listed in the heritage of great Alabama quarterbacks, his college career differs greatly from Tide icons like Joe Namath and Ken Stabler. Starr played a considerable amount in his freshman and sophomore years, but an injury knocked him out of his […]

An Appreciation: Bart Starr Part 1

(Painting by Robert Hurst) Before I had the privilege of meeting Bart Starr, I repeatedly heard the same things from his teammates and others who had met him. “Oh, he’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.” “Bart’s the perfect man.” “Salt of the earth.” Bart’s one of those rare people that all those good things you hear about him beforehand turn out to be true. I first met him at a Tri-Star autograph show in Houston, hoping to interview him for The Game before the Money. He didn’t have time that day to interview, but gave me a number to reach him at later. He did, however, have time to chat with everyone who wanted to meet him. He granted everyone who wanted to meet him a good amount of time, and was kind and respectful to all. He and I had a pleasant conversation about Wisconsin, the people and the weather there. I could do a post on how […]

Missouri Football Protest Shows Changes

University of Missouri players organized and threatened to boycott the remainder of the season’s games. The protest forced the resignation of Mizzou President Tim Wolfe, amid allegations of ignoring racism problems on campus. The successful protest demonstrates how much our country, college football, and universities have changed over the past decades. Student-athletes, like many young people, have a tradition of standing up for what they believe in. The Mizzou situation reminded me of a story Conrad Dobler shared with The Game before the Money. Dobler played for the University of Wyoming. The Cowboys (and this may surprise you) enjoyed a recent Sugar Bowl berth in 1968, under coach Lloyd Eaton. The unbeaten, fifth-ranked Cowboys fell to LSU 20-13, but the appearance helped in recruiting. Even Dobler decided, “Hey, why not play for the winning team?” when offered other WAC scholarships in addition to Wyoming’s offer. 1969 stood as college football’s 100th anniversary, honoring the 1869 Princeton/Rutgers matchup that’s widely accepted […]

A Brief History of… Goal Posts

We see them every game, cast in their photogenic stance. Fans love to tear them down. But what is the story behind those fabled goal posts? The information’s pretty tough to find, but I’ll put as much of it together here as I can. EARLY YEARS In football’s earliest days – and we’re talking Pudge Heffelfinger, pre-1900 days – a field goal was actually more valuable than a touchdown. Under those rules, Stephen Gostkowski’s field goals would notch 5 points, Marshawn Lynch’s TDs only 4. Soon both plays were worth 5 points, and gradually moved to modern-day scoring by 1912. In the NFL’s earliest days — days before the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles existed — the league followed the NCAA rule book. Goal posts were on the goal line. When the NCAA moved them to the end zone’s backline in 1927, the NFL followed suit. In 1933, however, the NFL adopted its own rule book and placed the goal […]

Thinking Out Loud: The 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class

SENIOR NOMINEES The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced two senior nominees for its 2016 induction class. The Seniors Committee, comprised of nine members on a rotating basis, selects the senior nominees. Nominees must be retired for at least 25 years. We’ve discussed My recent post countered Peter King of Sports Illustrated, declaring Stabler as more than worthy. King, however, has an actual vote in the process, and it will be interesting to see whom the rest of the voters agree with. Who else has three of the most iconic plays in history – the “Sea of Hands” game, the “Ghost to the Post,” and the “Holy Roller” – to his quarterbacking credit? Stabler also almost nearly won the “Immaculate Reception” game with a 30-yard scramble to put the Raiders ahead 7-6 in the fourth quarter. Most arguments against Stabler tend to be statistically based. Here’s a statistic to mull over: of the quarterbacks who rank in the Top 50 […]