Ex-Vikings coach Bud Grant wants NFL to scrap fair holds

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Bud Grant yearns for an NFL without the new security measures.

Bud Grant yearns for an NFL without the new security measures.
Picture: Getty Images

Cue the ‘Old Man Shouts Cloud’ title from The Simpsons – Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant, who turned 95 yesterday, Told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he thinks the “boring” parts of football, including fair holds, knees to end the game, and touchbacks, should be removed from the game. Now, to you and me, these things are best known as measures that prevent unnecessary and dangerous injuries and improve player safety, but to be fair to Grant, they were still playing with leather helmets when he was in university. Change is difficult.

The nonagenarian coach, who coached the Vikings between 1967 and 1983 and again in 1985, suggested giving punt returners five yards and throwing out the good catch, moving the touchback to the 5-yard line and d ‘requiring the clock to stop if an offensive team doesn’t move at least a yard on a play (which opens up a whole different Pandora’s box for clock stopping, but I don’t away from the subject). Beloved as Grant may be, it’s a bad take – especially given what we now know about chronic traumatic brain disease and its effects on former members of Grant’s Viking teams.

In 2017, a Boston University study of the brains of former NFL players found the degenerative disease CTE in 99% of the brains studied. It marked a major step in the journey of groundbreaking research that changed the way many Americans view sports. And four of the 111 brains in the study belonged to former Vikings players who played under Grant while in Minnesota.

The players were Wally Hilgenberg, Gerald Huth, Grant Feasel and Fred McNeill, the latter being one of the best known names in the CTE sphere. His dementia praecox and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) which led to his untimely death at 63 were brought on by CTE, and he was the first patient to be diagnosed with the disease while still in life and the first to have it confirmed on his death.

But you also have to remember the rest. Hilgenberg died of ALS brought on by CTE at age 66. Huth died aged 77 after severe cognitive problems forced him to leave his insurance job at 57 and suffer permanent disability. Feasel died at age 52 after suffering from years of drug addiction. And while those tragedies of their career in the 1960s and 1970s were certainly not Grant’s fault, the choice to publicly state that the game should be more physical and risk more head injuries is an insult to memory. , legacy and family of these players.

In 2017, Hilgenberg’s widow, Mary, say it Tribune of the Stars:

Head injuries in football are such a serious problem. But speaking against football is like speaking against someone’s religion. But how can parents today allow their children to play football? They strap them in with a seatbelt, but then they drive them to a football field? It makes no sense to me.

Just in February, in fact, an NFL study found that punt returns and kickoffs cause more injuries and more serious injuries than other plays. While I’d like to give Grant the benefit of the doubt here, there really was no reason to call After of these types of high-risk games that endanger the health and safety of athletes. It turned out that there was a “disproportionate number of concussions” as well as lower body injuries during those games. Given how many of his former players have suffered from CTE, he should be more sensitive to the issue.

So maybe I’m the old man pointing his fist to the clouds here, but with the deaths of his former players from degenerative brain damage in mind, maybe Bud Grant should keep this genre thoughts for him in the future rather than complaining that he no longer sees enough concussions live on TV.

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