NFL: Concussions Are Down 50 Percent on Kickoffs, but More Needs to Be Done

Brendan O'HareContributor IFebruary 16, 2012

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18: Nick Miller #89 of the Oakland Raiders runs back a kickoff return during an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The data is in, and the NFL's master plan to eliminate head injuries appears to be an internal success, as it was announced at an NFL Health and Safety Forum on Wednesday that there were 50 percent fewer concussions resulting from kickoffs during the previous season.

As you may recall, the NFL chose to move kickoffs up five yards to the 35-yard line, angering football purists and drooling trilobites who turn into masochists while watching football.  

So this new rule will probably be sticking around, which I suppose is a good thing, and it will definitely be spun that way by the league. Then again, kickoffs are football at an extremely primal level—full-grown men sprinting at other full-grown men, causing a collision that, if rocks were involved, would end up in a dust cloud. It's insane, and the fact that more people aren't calling for a Gladwellian society sans kickoffs is kind of shocking.

One would have to think a coalition of moms had to have been formed by now. But it hasn't and doesn't appear to be happening for the foreseeable future as long as the NFL puts on a facade where they are pretending to get their act together. The commercial that was played during the Super Bowl also helped the NFL's grand mirage, making the viewer believe the NFL is doing all it can to stop the concussion scourge.

It is good the NFL was willing to go after a traditionalist aspect of the game, but will they be willing to do this again? If the NFL really wants to end the concussion issue, that is something they'll have to do.

Until that day, meaningless "victories" like these will continue to be spun into something greater than they actually are.