The season is almost halfway over, and like a Led Zeppelin ballad or Britney Spears’ rebirth, it just gets better as it rolls on. Is it possible for teams left for dead to be the league darlings in just a few weeks? Is the quarterback depth chart so poor that a 43 year old could be lured out of retirement? And can a trip to an out of town football game really trump a romantic weekend in Barbados for bonding with your man? This week, you get the answers to these pressing questions, as well as a serious look into the plague of injuries in the NFL this year.
With all of the 24/7 media coverage around the league right now, there is lots of flip flopping to be had. Teams are counted out quickly, and then come roaring back into the good graces of the press. Lesson to be learned? Don’t give up on your team. Steeler fans, your team was once 0-4, but now they’ve won their last two and are very much in the mix in the AFC North. You wave that Terrible Towel! And the Panthers are roaring back, from 1-3 to 4-3 and only a game behind the Saints for first in the NFC South. Even the Washington (insert more politically correct team name heres) have won their last two in a row and RGIII seems poised to pull them back in the race in the very weak NFC East. Although, if I have to see Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder sitting in luxury boxes drinking Chardonnay and eating pate one more game during the playoffs, I swear I’ll up chuck my Pabst Blue Ribbon.
This week’s important piece of advice is this – the couple who watches together, stays together. And this weekend, the hubby and I ditched the kids, left work behind and embarked on a romantic weekend to…Indianapolis. That’s right, the heartland of America is a great place to watch football. Especially when our team is the Colts. And especially when they’re playing the Broncos. And what a game it was. We cheered #18, then watched 60 minutes of incredible football in which we came out victorious. There’s nothing like walking the streets downtown after a win in your team’s jersey, interlocking foam fingers with your man, giving him a peck on the face-painted cheek. That, my friends, is love.
Now, are you ready to impress your male accountant friends with your aptitude for statistics and ability to rattle off useless facts? Then perk up and start paying attention.
Seems like we can’t go a week without hearing how much worse injuries are getting in the NFL this year. Is this really true? Turns out, according to the numbers, it is. Despite the steps being taken to make the game safer, according to a recent report by Scott Kacsmar at Bleacher Report, injuries are increasing at double digit rates since 2011. And although injuries tend to trend downward at the end of the season (better conditioning, fewer pulled muscles, etc.) head injuries are actually up, perhaps signaling harder play when more is at stake.
This year, we’re seeing some of the best players in the league go out for the season, and according to Bleacher Report, more than 200 players (about 10% of the NFL) is currently out on injured reserve (IR). Only 20 of these have a designation to return, so that leaves a full 180 out of the year. Add in the injured players expected to play, and the number totals 425 for week eight.
What in the world is contributing to this? In a word, competition. The tempo of the game is speeding up, providing for more plays in a game which equals changes for injury. The dreaded “torn ACL”, a knee injury that is famously hard to recover from, is more prevalent than ever, particularly with all of these fast-flying offenses. Even practices are more competitive. Guys trying to make the team and coaches trying to save their jobs run a tight ship and even formerly walk through practices are rougher than ever.
With some key quarterbacks – Jay Cutler, Sam Bradford – out for the season, and even more coming back from injuries, the market for the position is at an all time high. And while Tebow still sits awaiting a call, probably doing a lot of praying, rumor has it that the St. Louis Rams did place a call to a certain middle-aged Wrangler pitch man who never did seem content in retirement. Will Farve come back? Hail Mary indeed!