NFL and Players Have Equal Share of Blame for Rash of Injuries
However, you would be very hard pressed to find anyone who covers the league or is simply a fan to not agree that it surely seems like there are a lot more injuries this year.
Perhaps the league is to blame. We are now in the second full year of having regular season games played on Thursdays. Previously, Thursday games were a Thanksgiving Special. Then, seeing all the money to be made, and having to justify its own network, the NFL decided to add Thursday games starting about Week 8. Fast forward a few seasons, and we have what we enjoy now, regular season Thursday games Weeks 2 through 17.
Previous players who are now analysts contend 'the average fan wouldn't believe' the amount of punishment the body takes in playing this game of tackle football. That it virtually takes the entire week from Sunday night to Saturday night to feel mostly recovered and ready to play again. Why then, in the so-called era of player safety, are we asking these players to strap it on for such a violent game just four days after their previous contest?
Perhaps the players are to blame.
We're now in the third full year of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). One of the main points the players negotiated during negotiations was the manner in which practices are run. The players got their wish. Now there are fewer total practices, fewer practices in pads (with hitting and tackling), and the teams are no longer allowed to run the two-a-days in training camp.
Many coaches and ex-coaches have complained about these concessions, saying that there are simply not enough practices and not enough time to get the players ready for the rigors of a season.
It seems whether it's hamstrings, quads or achilles; knees, shoulders, or heads; blame for the recent increase in injuries can be placed in one of these two camps.
It all just makes you wonder if anyone in the league office or the Players Association stopped and thought that perhaps those who came before knew what they were doing. That perhaps a couple of seasons of asking players to play more than once a week would have a cumulative effect.
Combine the more frequent pace of playing with less strength, conditioning, and preperation time, and it's easy to infer how it was a bad idea.