Friday, October 27, 2006

Obesity and Football

And while we're talking about Mcdonalds, it seems to me that obesity is changing many different areas of our culture. In fact, it is my position that the weight gain on most teenage boys (and college guys) is going to cause the end of football as we know it. Granted, the best football players work out and most of that bulk is muscle, but you can't expect most high school football players to be all muscle.

One of the commentators on ESPN gave an opinion on the high number of defensive games that have been occurring in the NFL and in college this year. There is nothing worse than watching an entire half of a football game and have the score be 6-0. No long bombs, no trick plays, just heavy defensive players knocking the stuffing out of the offensive line. No offensive line or TE's or WR's can survive hitting the brick wall defenses that are appearing all over the place. And some people would think that a good defense is necessary to win, and it is, but you have to score points, too. The Bears found that out last year. ND found out last year that without an offense, sooner or later you're going to lose a game.

What is the reason, then, for the decline in offense in football games. I contend that boys in high school, especially ones that are a little overweight and not the fastest in the world, want to knock the stuffing out of someone, and the only legal way of doing that is becoming a Defensive Back in football. It's more than this, though. It's a mental state, where no one wants to catch the ball, or throw it, they just want to hit somebody. In such a violent world, the defensive line can legally knock somebody down and feel good about it. I taught many Defensive players at George Walton Academy, and one of them, Danny Murren, told me that he couldn't wait for the first game because he felt a build up of this desire to hit someone with all his being. That the release of that emotion was the biggest high he could feel.

So you have a combination of the lessening of athleticism in American High Schools because of weight gain, as well as a building need for violence in boys (video games, TV, ??? who knows,). And it permutates upward into college, and eventually (I think it's gotten there now, alas) to the NFL. Games are just no fun to watch anymore. And the play by play commentators have to essentially entertain America while they wait for someone to make a play over three yards. Drives me nuts. Thank goodness for those few athletes out there that are fast enough to run around Grimace and make plays. Thank goodness for Michael Vick or Slayton and White at West Virginia, or Adrian Petersen at Oklahoma (or wherever he goes in the NFL). And thank goodness for the Mannings and Brett Farve who still know how to throw the long bomb.

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