The NFL is broken, maybe not as much as the federal government, but it is stuck at a major impasse. For those who love the game, recent changes in the area of safety precautions have been more than concerning. While I am not advocating a route that would lead more players to face debilitating injuries, I think there is a way out that would not put the spirit of the game in jeopardy. My idea is as easy as a bill introduced in Washington. Without a fancy name lets just call it The Waiver.
To start things off, nobody in their right mind plays the game of football without the knowledge that they will be injured in some way, shape or form. This is a fact that players have accepted in return for the promise of fame and fortune. Even recent polls show that a majority of NFL players will still play the game even knowing what type of physical ailments they will face once they are done playing. This line of thinking more that implies consent. It is that line of thinking that led me to this conclusion. Make players sign a waiver before they step on the field.
There is more to the waiver idea than just signing up. The way that it would work would be similar to the healthcare mandate. Before a player can step on the field for practice, workouts or a game, they would need to sign the waiver. In return for signing the waiver, the player would receive a life insurance like policy that would provide for healthcare after their playing days were over. This insurance would only cost them maybe one percent of their paychecks and would only cover life alerting disabilities. The money that is contributed would be matched or even doubled by the NFL. This would ensure that there was enough money to cover injured players for years to come.
So how does the waiver change the game? It doesn’t, it will preserve the game we know and love. The idea of taking away kickoffs due to the risk of injury tears at the fabric of the game. Those who advocate this only like the game and do not understand the history, the rules of the game or even love the game. There is also the crowd that wants to protect wide receivers and quarterbacks. If this crowd understood football it would have started with linemen. They are the one’s who endure the most repeated physical trauma. I hate to say it, but when Matt Schaub gets hurt it’s a tragedy, when Ryan Clady gets hurt you do a Yahoo search to see who he is. At the end of the day if you have the waiver rule all players will be treated and covered equally.
I know what the reaction will be to this idea. The NFL has already burnt many bridges with the players union so they will not want to even come to the table and discuss this idea. But for any strong union to not look into this idea it would be a questionable move at best. Also, the idea that I am purposing will make the fans happy, speed up the games and ensure those who need help will always get it. In the long run the NFL will lose fans if it becomes to much of a bureaucracy. Americans deal with enough rules and regulations from the government each day, that is why they choose to watch football as a release each Sunday. My two cents to all parties involved is to figure this out before the game that we love turns into the nightmare that we know as politics.