NFL Evolution – Smarter, Stronger and Safer
We have all seen the evolution of the quarterback. Remember when we were kids, the quarterback stayed in the pocket. Handoffs and short passes were what we expected. The big passing plays or the occasional “quarterback sneak” brought you to your feet and caused excitement. Now, QB’s are expected to be precise at throwing, able to run like a running back, block and coach their receivers.
Modern training and recovery techniques are also changing the game. Gone are the days where the lineman is simply eating like crazy to get bigger. They are in the weight room getting stronger, learning about nutrition and expected to be able to run a ball down the field in the event of a turnover. Not to mention the incredibly fine tuned bodies of receivers who can fly through the air and catch a football with their fingertips while having the presence of mind to sacrifice their body while putting both feet down inside the white line.
Watching these incredible athletes make these amazing plays is what makes football the most exciting spectator sport in the world. So, with millions of people watching these guys torture their bodies for our delight in true gladiator fashion one might think, what’s next?
What’s next is the evolution of the gear that protects these super heroes. Right now, new helmet designs are being researched and tested. New pads rules are being introduced and debated. And what I think will be one of the most important and game changing new trends is the NFL’s new protection tour. Thousands of kids (including mine) play in the NFL’s USA Flag Football program. This year the new trend has been teaching the kids how to play without getting hurt. It started with “heads up” football to minimize concussions and spine injuries. Now, they are going around the country on a “protection tour”. This tour is sponsored by Riddell and according to their website the tour “educates youth football players, parents, coaches and administrators on the importance of proper equipment fitting, tackling fundamentals and concussion awareness”.
With a whole new generation of kids learning how to play smarter and safer they can focus on being stronger. Without as much worrying about causing a career ending injury or possible permanent brain damage. While this program is still in its infancy I am very excited to see what it will bring to the future of football.