As I approach 40 years old I sometimes find myself debating myself whether I should be a football fan. Every week we see player after player go down with season ending ACL injuries and similar. We have come to accept that these are season ending injuries and the player will get surgery and be back good as new next year. I try to stop and think about how those knees will really be in 20 – 30 years. Not as frequent, but just as significant are the career ending and life changing injuries. I was afraid that we witnessed one of these injuries yesterday afternoon. I was greatly relieved that this was not the case. Because of the inherited danger of the sport, I have often considered not following or supporting it, not that anyone would notice.
Despite the above, I AM a huge fan. The passion side of me usually ends up rationalizing away these boycott thoughts by considering that these players are playing because they love the game, they love the thrill, and would probably be engaging in something equally or more destructive if they were not playing football. I also acknowledge that high school and college football has been a life saver for many athletes by allowing them to escape from less than desirable non-football lives.
When a player (Adam Bellamy comes to mind) decides to leave the game for any reason at all, he has my full support. It is just too dangerous to play without full personal buy in.
I am also a fan of Urban Meyer and I am glad we no longer have to suffer the heartburn of Tressleball (a little sarcasm there). I was ecstatic with the rumors of Meyer’s potential hiring and would not let myself buy in because I was sure that somehow it would fall through. I like almost everything he has brought to Ohio State. Almost.
Okay, enough background. The one aspect that I just don’t get is the kickoff philosophy. A rule was changed this year that moves the kickoff up to the 35 yard line, but gives possession at the 25 yard line for kickoff touchbacks. The stated goal of this rule change was to create more touchbacks in the interest of player safety. Meyer has explicitly stated that Basil could kick it through the end zone regularly if he was instructed too but Meyer prefers that his “Freak Show” try to kick it high and pin the opponents inside the twenty or better. I believe this as Basil has consistently put the ball in same place all year long. It has also been extremely successful at times (see Nebraska). I would be interested in the overall success of this philosophy from a numbers standpoint, but I’m not going to spend any effort on it because it really isn’t my point.
My point is that a rule was changed to create touchbacks and increase player safety and we have a coach going Robbie Alomar in the face of said rule and trying to exploit the rule for a strategic advantage. How can a fan base condemn Dantonio for playing Gholston after
sustaining a concussion getting the wind knocked out of him but condone Meyer for laughing at the spirit of a player safety rule change for competitive advantage?