Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



One Blow Too Many: Why We Should Ban College Football…. 22

Posted on May 18, 2012 by JA Allen

Most of us relish the spectacle of college football on crisp Saturday afternoons, sitting in the stands at a mammoth football stadium in the heart of the Big Ten or the SEC.

We love the marching bands, the half-time entertainment and the spontaneous camaraderie in the stands. On game day, whether Division I or II, or III, college football remains as much a part of post-secondary academia as libraries, classrooms and puny-sized dorm rooms.

It comes from our rich heritage—the love we have for our respective alma mater. All this enhanced by football hoopla, beer foam, and online bets with bookies. These incentives—along with the added bounty of bone crushing hits—make us all look forward to the gridiron experience each and every Saturday after Labor Day.

College football IS America in 2012.  It is what we have evolved to since the 1950s.  Athletes have become bigger, stronger, and faster. Effective training has shaved seconds off scoring dashes down field while increased duration and strength training make the player from 60 years ago to seem almost comical by comparison.

We are assured by experts that modern equipment plus critical changes in football rules provide the modern player with adequate protection on the playing field. Yet, because of the current size and speed of college athletes, the brute force inherent in being tackled or tackling remain exponentially greater than they were even 20 years ago.

Still the thought of banning college football seems—well—it seems preposterous.  It would be like banning Little League or the Pinewood Derby.  Life just would not be the same. How could it be?

But consider this. According to Malcolm Gladwell, well-known author and columnist for the New Yorker magazine, the most compelling reason for banning college football is the number of head injuries college football players sustain in the course of a game, compounded over a season—additionally many seasons.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

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