Like most of you, I’m going to watch, too.
Watch 100 or so men gather Thursday night to play a game they presumably love for a paycheck they understandably covet for the sake of entertaining the rest of us who won’t die early because of football.
The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs christen another NFL season that promises to be wildly enjoyable, just as long as we’re willing to set aside the threat of life-stunting trauma in order to properly celebrate the violence.
It is a spectacular sport, no question, the precision, power and grace so easy to appreciate when performed by some of the finest athletes on Earth.
The problem, of course, is how their heads keep getting in the way.
This has become an annual dilemma for observers of these games, as predictable an occurrence as the opening kickoff itself. Is it OK to be a fan of something medically proven to be fatal?
You’re right, nobody is forcing these guys to play. They’re the ones choosing to invite the danger, and, in most cases, they’re being well compensated for making that choice.
Why should we care as long as our brains aren’t the ones being bashed?
It’s just seems that it shouldn’t be so easy to separate the player from the human being also under that helmet, to blindly enable with our money, time and attention a league that for so long approached this problem the very same way: blindly.
There are no simple answers, naturally. Football’s biggest obstacle is still overcoming the fact it’s football, a game based on the ability of 11 players to physically punish 11 opponents trying to physically punish them.
Not even the questions are simple when it comes to NFL concussions, the issues of blame and liability alone complex enough to knot our legal system for years.
Then there’s perhaps the most complicated hurdle of all, one encountered ironically in a world where so much can be broken down and expressed in undeniable statistics: what is reality anyway?
Just on Wednesday, the NFL determined that Tom Brady didn’t suffer a concussion last season, despite claims to the contrary by a source close to the Patriots quarterback.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to tend to believe someone who shares a bed with Brady before I’m going to accept as the unequivocal truth the words of a football lifer trained to ignore pain to the point of refusing to acknowledge it.
Gisele Bündchen, Brady’s wife, was the one who told CBS that her husband “has concussions…