Mark Anthony DiBello's Blog

I love the NFL and appreciate and respect Mr. Roger Goodell and believe he is another in a line of great NFL Commissioners.

With a safer NFL, especially regarding concussions on everyone's mind; I would like to offer some thoughts and solutions.

To begin, suicide is a spiritual problem; it may stem from physical imperfections or injuries; but not as the NFL or humans likely think. Again, suicide is a spiritual issue and all athletes and humans alike need to improve spiritually.

Now, regarding a safer and healthier game on a more tangible front; here are some suggestions on how the NFL can improve safety.

Primarily, as noted many years ago, the NFL should confer and consult with former Super Bowl coach Joe Gibbs and NASCAR and develop a helmet which is more like a racing helmet; one which would lose the facemask and add an eye shield. The human brain and the eyes are surely unbelievably valuable assets to athletes and humans.

I would then refer to the human heart; in which case look immediately to drug testing and the training table. Most every drug on earth and pain-killer is detrimental to human health and even aspirin has its ill effects. While I am a big believer in playing with pain and wanting to play actually to the point of death; this may sound odd, but it needs to be done naturally. Masking pain with medication may seem like a temporary solution during a game, week, or season; but in the end, it is completely detrimental. Pain is a great warning sign and an indicator of greater injury to come. The human body itself will produce the best and most natural drugs that will best serve the human body. For example; chemical reactions which produce adrenaline and testosterone do so when there is a need for performance energy, recovery or rehabilitation.

At the training table, I would delete high concentrations of sugar, especially in sport drinks and some "health" bars. In addition, I would substitute highly-prized proteins found in meat; and replace those protein requirements with soy foods and products or "imitation" meats commonly found in many markets; and increase milk and eggs dramatically.

Thirdly, I would address the ever-injured knees of a football player. I would require all players to wear knee braces which protect the ACL and MCL. I suspect, such oft-considered cumbersome braces would also slow down the game which is also a dynamic benefit. Keep in mind, speed is relative; meaning the faster players will still be faster. In fact, to increase their speed, such braces would likely compel players to further develop the muscles of the leg; but they will also be increasing a greater protection factor to the human body which only muscles can naturally provide.

Keep in mind; the forceful impacts of the game are gauged in the equation of size, strength and speed; and anytime any one is reduced, especially speed; the damage from forceful collisions will also be naturally reduced.

To that end, apart from artificial turfs; a requirement ordaining a higher or thicker grass should also curtail speed and also naturally produce more cushion. I wouldn't however, at this time, work to develop other synthetic surfaces as I am of the mindset that the game was made to be played on natural grass. In addition, I would institute a shorter maximum on the length of spikes. It would surely slow down the game; but also likely lead to less negative and forceful torque on the leg joints and muscles.

Furthermore, regarding the nature of the game and the rules changes and culture regarding tackling; the goal, in a game where turnovers are the most decisive factor in a game apart from touchdowns and points; the goal should always have been to tackle or attack the ball; more so, even more-so than the man. Not only will a turnover likely be forced; but the ball itself will, more-times-than-not, cushion or protect the runner, receiver, or passer from the impact of the tackle or hit.

In fact, the word "violence" so readily used and referred to by everyone from the fan, to the media, and the men who play or coach the game; is a word of character or action with a mindset which is obviously violent and the connotation is the infliction of injury or pain. The game will have a different nature if words, techniques, and training would incorporate alternative wording, thoughts, and mindsets like aggressiveness, force and power. This will serve everyone better than the sinful mindset of "violence" or being a "violent" player in a "violent" game.

Lastly, the only other pro football league which I think could survive in this modern sports marketplace; will be the one which was evolving before this latest referendum on safety and will be the one which revolutionary develops from further safety-first implementations; this being an "extreme" league which puts a premium on violence and basically seeks to increase speed and impacts and forsake face-masks and other equipment which may be analogous as the UFC or MMA is to boxing; and will ultimately be a bloodbath (and maybe of death) not witnessed since the ancient days of the great gladiators.



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