Reaction from the North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora’s fantastic rant at ACC Media Days, in the Daily Cavalcade.
Daily Cavalcade of Whimsy
Sorry if this take sucks, it’s not my fault …
I’m a wee bit disheveled after Larry Fedora interrupted my reading of “The Pet Goat” with his revelation that football was under attack.
I wanted something interesting at one of these media days things, and for my sins, the ACC gave me one.
1) Before diving into this shallow pond head first, it’s all going to be okay. Football isn’t leaving you. I promise.
2) Seriously. It’s as if the sports media types – especially the parts that cover football for a living – have never talked to a football coach. And …
3) I have the answer that will save our sport. That comes later.
And now, I present to you North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora, who would like to welcome you to the official start of the 2018 football season.
If you haven’t seen it by now, Fedora went next-level awesome at ACC Media Days with a rant and response following a question about a few rule changes.
As a warning to those at home with small children, I’m going to be that guy who embeds his own tweet, mainly because I’m too lazy to find someone else’s with the exact same quote.
The ravenous media types were all too happy to pounce on the raw meat, making for a wildly entertaining afternoon on social media. But here’s the really crazy part about this.
No, no, no, not that America will go down the tubes – considering #NationalHotDogDay was trending at a time when we’re being repeatedly told that our nation was/is/will be under attack, it might not take ten years for that happen – but yes, in ten years, football really will be unrecognizable from the way we know it now.
And that will be a really, really good thing. Here’s why.
“I don’t think it’s been proven that the game of football causes CTE. We don’t really know that. Are there chances for concussions? Of course. There are collisions. But the game is safer than it’s ever been.” – Larry Fedora
Not all football coaches think the way Fedora does on all of the topics he went off about, like being a CTE denier, but enough of them do. They have to.
If you’re a football coach, and this is what your life’s calling is; and by nature, you’re a superfreak in a world of control freaks; and everything you’ve worked for and dreamed of is being – according to what you perceive – threatened or changed; then there’s a giant part of you that has to repress the reality of what playing and coaching the sport does to a human brain.
Really, though, it’s okay to love football enough – and people enough – to want and welcome the inevitable changes.
Football isn’t going anywhere, and neither is the science or outrage over what the sport currently does to the body. Both sides will come together, because they have to.
The NFL – even with all of the controversies and catch rules and occasional ugliness – is printing money, with the teams getting richer than ever. Meanwhile, the big-time football schools are swimming in cash, popularity, ratings and publicity.
Football is too big to fail.
But yes, there might be a time a decade from now when we’ll wonder why players were ever able to hit each other in the head.
Yes, there might be a time a decade from now when football isn’t two-hand touch, but tackling and blocking techniques change enough so that the bip-bip-bip that build up the proteins in the brain are minimized.
Yes, there might be a time a decade from now when the technology is advanced enough that the star quarterback really does have to come out in the final minute of a comeback drive, because the data comes across that his brain is in danger.
Yes, there might be a time a decade from now when power football goes the way of the Wing-T formation. Take a wild guess what will happen next – people will like it better, because football will be even more about the wide open passing game.
Yes, there might be a time a decade from now when tackling becomes more of an art that rarely involves the head.
Football has been more than fine and more than profitable with the abolition of the old school kill shot on an open target. A whole new generation of fans are growing up loving the sport, even if there isn’t a Ronnie Lott-like bomb going off on a full-bore helmet-to-helmet collision.
Yes, there might be a time a decade from now when football looks more like seven-on-seven passing drills, with the toughness, the strategy, and the speed all still a part of the fun.
And yes, even with all of those changes and more, there might be a time a decade from now when football is more popular than ever. And why?
Once legalized gambling becomes as normal a part of our daily lives as going to Starbucks, or having all our meals delivered by someone who’s texting and driving, no one will give a plump poop about whether or not helmets are colliding or if the sport has changed several key parts. Everyone will be too busy on their phones betting on whether or not Bill Snyder – who’ll still be at Kansas State ten years from now, of course – will go for two.
And for those – like Fedora, who also went off about how football ties into having a great military – who suggest that you’re not man enough or tough enough if you don’t do football the old school way it was supposedly meant to be played, two words: child birth.
For the time being, as long as we’re all in agreement that there’s always full transparency when it comes to the risks – and those who deny and attempt to repress the facts have to be shouted down – then, if you choose to play football, you know what you’re getting into and we can be allowed to enjoy watching it all.
So let Larry Fedora be the moment when we all come together and understand that football will change, and it really will be much safer, and eventually, much better.
And so will our country.