Sep. 15, 2015

NFL v. Rollerball: We've Seen This Coming For Awhile

"Corporate society takes care of everything. And all it asks of anyone, all it's ever asked of anyone ever, is not to interfere with management decisions."                                   (Rollerball, 1975)

Commentary by
Marc Platt

I know there are a slew of articles coming out about all the concussions and health problems being suffered by NFL players. There have been suicides (due to brain injuries) and even shorter careers than the past.

The American and even fans in other countries thirst for the kind of violence the NFL offers the comsumers in 2015, but didn't we see this coming years ago.

Year round training, better diets and vitamin supplement programs developed as early as grade school have changed the face of all levels of football.

In the 1960's, the Chicago Bears Dick Butkus was the most feared hard-hitting linebacker of the decade and maybe for all time. He played nine seasons and is entrenched in the Hall of Fame. Butkus stood at 6'3" and weighed 245.

Fast forward to 2015 and defensive end JJ Watt is Butkus's equivalent in today's game. Watt is 6'5" and 285 pounds. The way the game is played in 2015,  Watt has the same impact in his position. Watt is bigger, faster and feared the same way Butkus was.

You know that Watt hits hard and has the same skillset as Butkus, but with everyone else in the sport just as big and fast, he is one bad hit away from a career-ending injury.

Rollerball is the classic tale of corporate-run cities, states and sports franchises. The way things are headed in the NFL, college and even high school football, we are not too far off the story of Rollerball.

The only question left to be answered is whether they will eventually eliminate rules and time limits. Will we see on-field deaths? Will we see corporations become even more prevelant like in Rollerball? Will executives call all the shots?

Stay tuned...