Youth Football Revolt?


Jon Gruden has always impressed me with the way he sees the game of football. Gruden tells it how it is and doesn’t really care what people think of it. Gruden loves the toughness, anger, and violence that is the game of football. He also took our Buccaneers to a Superbowl victory. The big idea of football anymore is safety. But how do we make the game safer and less violent?

It started by taking the big hits off the air. The NFL doesn’t show replays anymore of the guy who gets his clock cleaned by a defensive back or linebacker. The quarterbacks can literally not be hit anymore unless your name is Cam Newton. And the referees have thrown more flags than ever before making the game hard to watch at times because of all the flags. Most fans do not know what a penalty is or even what is a fair game, but apparently, the NFL has made it safer for all.

Gruden was one of the guest speakers during the USA Football’s annual convention in Orlando last weekend that took place near the Pro Bowl. They were talking football and the NFL’s new version of the sport that will be tried at the youth levels. Gruden did not bite his tongue and said what he felt. It seems he feels that there are too many so called geniuses out in the world and they are diminishing the game of football. And not just football, but all sports. Even down to the level of school recess.

The number of kids, from the ages of 6 to 12, is rapidly decreasing due to parents not wanting their children to get hurt. Parents afraid of injuries or believing in what the media says is about the sport to be absolutely true.

Is football perfect? Not even close, but you tell me something that is.

Injuries are part of the game and everyone involved knows this. There is a new idea going around that would shorten the field, allow six players on the field instead of eleven, and punt/kick returns are eliminated. With all due respect to whoever came up with these ideas, it still will not eliminate injury.

This writer believes the key to preventing injuries is to make coaches better informed and even add more coaches to the staff, so, that they can teach more and better techniques to their players. If we add more coaches that know what they are doing, rather than collecting a check, proper guidance could be given to our younger generation.

Flag football is not the answer and if we don’t teach children how to properly tackle, at a young age, by the time they get to high school, they will be lost. There will be more injuries due to lack of knowledge and coaching expertise. Parents don’t take your children out of the game because you are scared,  let them be part of a team and learn all the great things that come with it. There is nothing wrong with football. It is a great game. We just have to be aware and continue to learn.