Monday, September 24, 2018

Dan Holtz

Future of football in America is strong

There appears to be growing opinions from some people that the future of our great American sport of football is in trouble.

The opinions stem from the concern over concussions and the long-term health impacts they have on former players as they get older.

Then there’s the decision being made by more school districts and communities, including Eau Claire, to limit children to flag football until the eighth grade, when they are allowed to begin playing tackle football.

Football will not die in America. More concern over concussions and limiting contact on growing bodies until they reach a certain age will only make the sport stronger.

Football has grown safer over the past 20 years.

Improvements in equipment, particularly helmets, has benefited players.

I have been officiating high school football for 25 years. Changes in helmet technology over that period of time have been tremendous. Helmets are definitely safer than they were in the 1990s.

Couple that with rules changes at the professional, college and high school levels that limit helmet contact in games.

The game is safer than it’s ever been and the emphasis on safety continues to be a top priority for football powers-that-be at the professional, college and high school levels.

For anyone to suggest that football is dying in America, just consider this.

It is the end of April.

Baseball season is well underway and the Milwaukee Brewers are off to a great start.

The Milwaukee Bucks made the playoffs for the second straight year and have had an engaging seven-game playoff series with the Boston Celtics.

But what’s dominating the sports landscape? The National Football League.

It started a week ago when the NFL announced its 2018 schedule. No other schedule release of the other sports match the anticipation of the NFL schedule release.

And it all came to a head with this weekend’s NFL draft.

Even with professional basketball and hockey playoffs in full swing, the NFL draft has ruled sports discussion.

Green Bay Packers fans were riveted Thursday night when the Packers traded their spot to the New Orleans Saints, only to get a first-round pick four spots later by engineering another trade with the Seattle Seahawks.

The end result was the drafting of talented cornerback Jaire Alexander from the University of Louisville and the addition of a second first-round pick they will get from the Saints in the 2019 NFL draft.

All this talk for a season that won’t even begin for another four months.

Football is not dying in America. It’s getting stronger. 

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