Throughout this football season, a debate has raged over the savageness of America's most popular sport, says Buzz Bissinger in The Daily Beast. Responding to numerous studies and articles linking concussions to mental deterioriation in later life — and to a series of brutal early-season collisions — the NFL banned helmet-to-helmet hits, in an effort to prevent the most crippling injuries. Still, last weekend, two players were battered in bone-shattering plays that could have sent them to the hospital. Yet there's no reason to "feel the least bit upset or concerned," says Bissinger. Football can't be tamed — it is by nature "animalistic" and "raw." The sport isn't just violent, it's a "celebration" of violence. Take away the "savagery" and "the game will be nothing." Here, an excerpt:
"I realized over the weekend how much I actually relish the speeding blur of the game and the possibility on every play of a hellacious hit. I realized how much I liked the clear derangement of the defensive backs, human sacrifices for a bone-splitting tackle.
Every player in the NFL knows the possible risks down the road, whether it is Alzheimer's or the well-known realities of crippling arthritis and being able to walk only with a cane. I venture that not one of these well-paid performers has any regret about his chosen profession. I also venture that the vast majority would like helmet-to-helmet hits reinstated, because until this season they were a part of the game."