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Lombardi Never Tolerated Head to Head Hits

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by 13 Times Champs, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. 13 Times Champs

    13 Times Champs Cheesehead

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  2. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    Seems like there's been a few stories where Lombardi's stance on a somewhat controversial topic has been lauded recently, such as homosexuality, now head-to-head hits...

    I happen to agree with Vince on these things (apparently), but it seems a bit convenient nonetheless.
     
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  3. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

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    All Packers fans should read "Lombardi's Left Side" written by Herb Adderly and a ghost writer (Royce, I believe). Very interesting tidbits about Lombardi, Bengtson (not a good guy), and Tom Landry (also not a good guy). Lombardi was ahead of his coaching society, and society in general with his thinking.
     
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  4. realcaliforniacheese

    realcaliforniacheese A-Rods Boss

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    The fact that Lombardi was a victim of decriminalizing in the NFL because of his ethnicity may have played a role in his thinking.
     
  5. weeds

    weeds Cheesehead

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    Truthfully, I don't put a whole lot stock in what the players of that era, recollect 45-50 years after the fact. Not that it may or may not be true ... or, that I'm questioning the player's honesty or integrity ... nothing like that.

    I'm just saying... 35 years ago, I was a D1 caliber MLB in my mind. ;) In reality I was a slow, white farm- boy who got the livin' snot kicked out of him in his one year of D3 football. ;) I don't recall if the division system was in place then, or what it was called, I'm just saying that my memory of those days is a helluva lot rosier than it was in reality. Every now and again, I have moments of lucidity...like when my left knee locks up while walking down a staircase. :)
     
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  6. 13 Times Champs

    13 Times Champs Cheesehead

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    The NFL suit says that the League knew as early as the 1920's the dangers of concussions and head injuries. Back 35 years ago the players were more apt to take a licking and keep on ticking. They were less likely to bring up that they had a concussion back then. Did Deacon Jones ever talk about the concussions he received?
     
  7. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    Common sense says the league has been aware of head injuries for quite some time (since the introduction of the helmet) but I'm not sure the severity and extent of the danger was fully understood. Nonetheless, the NFL was very slow to acknowledge this danger once scientific information began to surface in the mid to late nineties, literally taking steps to discredit such reports. IMO, there's some culpability there.

    The rise in performance enhancing drugs during the eighties really compounded the danger. Players keep getting bigger, faster and stronger...

    Won't happen, but I still think the league should take away the helmets or go back to the old soft leather models: play will sober up. You won't see guys leading with the head, launching. The hard-shelled helmet creates a false sense of security for the wearer and a far greater danger for the others on the field.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. 13 Times Champs

    13 Times Champs Cheesehead

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  9. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    I agree 100%, but the NFL won't do it because ratings would drop significantly. There wouldn't be highlight reels of hits and "bonecrushing" tackles.
     
  10. realcaliforniacheese

    realcaliforniacheese A-Rods Boss

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    Just take off the face masks.
     
  11. 13 Times Champs

    13 Times Champs Cheesehead

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    But then you get this!:eek:

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. realcaliforniacheese

    realcaliforniacheese A-Rods Boss

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    HEY!! Where did you get that picture of me.
     
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  13. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

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    I used to think going to a rugby style helmet might help, but then spent some time reading about the early 1900s when football was nearly outlawed. There were 80 college football deaths in the 4 seasons from 1905 to 1909--40% of them caused by head and neck injury. The helmet, and improved medical care, have brought down the number of deaths, but rules changes are needed now, no different than the need for rules changes at that time when the game had become too violent.

    ( "The 1905 Gridiron Crisis" in the Journal of Sport, vol. 27, no. 2)
     
  14. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    That's an interesting point. Without having a chance to read the Gridiron Crisis, I can't speak effectively for or against the correlation. However, it my ignorant state I'll throw out that there also were likely other differences than just the helmet, such as the style of play of the game, established tackling techniques, medical advances (your point), and other differences that may or may not have made the game less safe back then.

    Maybe they should take the chimps once used for medical testing and put the leather helmets on them to study the football effects!
     
  15. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    In the early 1900s, the college game was the pro game. Colleges were literally paying ringers, usually young men that were not students (often shady characters), to suit up for the school and the games drew big regional interest. At that time, the sport more closely resembled rugby than modern football (no forward pass, fewer rules, little if any refereeing) and the sport evolved for good reason. I think the 80 deaths cited above had less to do with the soft helmets and more to do with the fact that in 1905 football was basically organized thuggery.

    I agree that rule changes are necessary- I just think these should happen in conjunction with a soft helmet. Outside of AstroTurf (which has gotten better), I can't think of a single factor more directly responsible for ending careers and causing- yes, causing- head injuries than hard-shelled helmet of the modern game...

    P.S.: Compared to ten years ago, it's obvious to me that the media has really dialed back its reverence for bone-crushing hits. Seems like now I'm more likely to hear analysts debate whether a hit was dirty or deserves to be fined than see it celebrated with multiple replays. The attitude has become one of greater concern for the players. I think this marks a definite culture shift in the sport and that it's somewhat outdated to say the NFL continues to "promote" big hits- that's the last thing the league wants to do right now with these lawsuits going on.
     
  16. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

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    Helmet to helmet hits were outlawed by the NCAA in 1976 but concussions and neck injuries continue, so the problem is not going to be solved purely by rules changes. Estimates are that 3.8 million concussions occur yearly in all sports. More occur in biking than in football, but I don't thin it would make sense to outlaw a bike helmet. I crashed on my bike a couple of weeks ago and certainly would have had more risk of a head injury without my helmet, which took the brunt of the fall.
    Brain injury occurs more because of rotational forces than direct linear force, so simply adding more padding does not eliminate the risks of rotational force. There is a device out there developed in Sweden called MIPS (Multidirectional Impact Protection System) that does act to decrease rotational forces by putting a thin slippery layer between the head and the padding. It fits in any current helmet. Tests show it can reduce rotational forces in all directions. Would it decrease brain injury? It needs to be tested in game situations.

    IMO, the only way eliminating helmets would increase safety in football would be to also outlaw blocking and tackling in the game. Now you've got soccer. Nobody wants that.
     
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  17. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    Yeah, I don't believe it's reasonable to think that any combination of rule changes/safety equipment can eradicate the risk of injury and concussions. From a practical standpoint, it's more a matter of reducing the risk such that the sport isn't destroyed by its reputation for long-term negative health affects.

    I don't think the bike helmet analogy is a good one: I would recommend a helmet to anyone riding a skateboard, bike, or motorcycle. The helmet primarily protects wearers from fracturing their skulls. The NFL's problem right now is concussion from repeated head trauma, not skull fracture. That's an important difference.

    Unlike riding or cycling, football is a contact sport involving repeated head trauma and when a player "puts on his armor," there's a psychological impact: when you've got your equipment on and you're jacked up for a game, you start thinking you're invincible and that sense of invincibility begins with the helmet.

    Regardless of what the rules might say, I'll tell you from experience that the helmet is often used by offensive and defensive players alike as a tool for applying a force. Smaller tacklers will lead with the helmet when attempting to bring down a larger player, just like smaller ball-carriers often try to give larger defenders a shot before going down. The helmet masks the impact of these hits on the player delivering the shot and it magnifies the force on the player struck because the exterior surface is hard and unforgiving. That's just how it is on the field: hard-shelled helmets invites dangerous play. Players understand this.

    Interesting stuff but I don't share your conclusions.

    My layman's understanding of concussions is that they are basically the result of one's brain striking the inside of the skull with too much force or velocity. I can imagine how rotational force would contribute to the problem and Physicists seem to think that that the problem is pretty baked into the nature of the sport.

    I'm not sure how many folks (outside of Hines Ward- see first link above) would seriously advocate for the elimination of helmets tomorrow. I just question the utility of today's hard-shelled designs. They're swell for preventing skull fractures but if the goal is to prevent force from affecting the brain inside the skull, then the hard exterior surface doesn't seem to accomplish much except to diffuse force across a wider surface area. The problem, as described above, is that players tend to use helmets' hard exteriors aggressively.

    In terms of concussion prevention, it seems like the padding within helmets is what actually does the important work of quickly reducing the force of football collisions and protecting the brain from concussion...

    ...Many of the recent rule changes have been targeted at reducing the number and severity of collisions on the field and these rule changes are probably more important than helmet technologies in fixing the sport's problem. But I believe replacing hard-shelled helmets with soft-exterior models would effectively nip the tendency amongst players to use the helmet as a dangerous implement on the field.

    FWIW, the sport of rugby is just as physical as football. Rugby players wear far less padding and headgear is optional, yet the rate of injury is significantly lower than football. This isn't because the sport is less physical. Rather the nature of the contact is different: less about getting a running start in order to smash into one another and more about tackling with proper form. IMO, the absence of padding has a significant impact on the psychology of players in learning and practicing proper form.

    (If anyone is still reading at this point) Do you remember those bulbous-looking, over-sized helmets worn by a few players the last couple years? What's the story on those?
     
  18. realcaliforniacheese

    realcaliforniacheese A-Rods Boss

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    Ok, quit wasting company time and get back to work.
     
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  19. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    jaybadger, LLC can afford it. ;)

    Besides, who else else is going to change the sport of football with their stupid message board essays?
     
  20. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

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  21. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    Interesting stuff. Looks like rugby is much rougher than I thought.

    My only quibble is that the data in your links is over ten years old. The Sports Injury Bulletin bibliography does not contain a single source produced in the last 11 years (one source dates back to 1989!). The football concussion data relied on by the author came from a 1998 study and the International Journal of Epidemiology study was published back in 2002. Scientifically speaking, not the most current stuff.

    Also, within the context of head injuries, lacerations (cuts) and contusions (bruises) need to be distinguished from concussions. They're different injuries with very different consequences. Lacerations and contusions are surface (or near-surface) injuries to the body. I don't mean to write them off, but the long-term implications of these tend to be pretty insignificant compared to the long-term implications of concussions. And, with many rugby players opting not to wear any kind of headgear, the observation that they suffer more cuts and bumps to the head isn't exactly groundbreaking stuff.

    What I found really interesting about your links is that they indicate a similar rate of concussions between the sports at a time (late '90s/early '00s) when football was rather blind to its concussion problem at all levels (especially the more credible Journal of Epidemiology study). Back then there were no concussion protocols and the "play through it" ethos was very widespread in the sport. In the past few years awareness about head injuries has grown significantly in America and I believe that many concussions that would have probably gone overlooked ten years ago are no longer being missed/unreported. The football concussion data relied on by these articles is probably a bit dubious and I suspect current data would show a marked increase in the concussion rate amongst footballers.

    Either way, the similarity in concussion rates between a sport requiring helmets and another where head protection is optional (and is usually the exception to the rule) ten plus years ago, speaks volumes about the type of collisions occurring in football v. those occurring in rugby.

    It's those kind of collisions that will continue to be targeted by NFL rule changes and I think a soft-shelled helmet makes sense if because it underscores such rule changes by discouraging dangerous tackling. As long as league-wide shift to soft-shelled helmets isn't shown to increase the rate of concussions, I think a switch over from the current hard-shelled models is a no-brainer (bad pun, I know). But that's just me and opinions might differ.

    *Note, edited for clarity.
     
  22. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

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    Very good, Jaybadger, and I don't argue with much of what you say.

    Much of the current criticism of soft helmets--either alone or as additional padding on the hard helmet (ala Ohio State in the early 60s) is that they result in a surface with a higher coefficient of friction, which increases the risk of neck injuries (and brain injury) with the rotational forces that have been discussed. From what I've read, a more friction-free, slippery surface is what's needed.

    It's not an easy problem to solve without eliminating blocking and tackling. As things currently stand, I love football; but there's no way I'd allow a child of mine to play the game today.
     
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