Mike Freeman, BLEACHER REPORT
(BleacherReport.com) – Look anywhere in the NFL world, and you see gloss. You see shine. You see hype.
During an NFL game, among the many dozens of commercials, there are the beer ads that tell us the world is an awesome place, so go have a beer and smile. Because awesome. Because beer.
Fantasy and gambling are presented as a pleasant fantasy. Only thing missing is a promise that if you set the right lineup, you’ll get laid.
There are pools in the stadium used by the Jaguars. Actual damn pools. Nothing represents distance from the violent reality of what happens on a football field quite like going for a swim during a game. What’s next? Pedicures in the concourse?
The sports world, the media, the fans—we rarely, if ever, discuss the sport’s reality, which is this: No matter how much we gloss, we shine, we hype, it is injuries and pain that remain the central feature of football. No amount of shine or showmanship can erase that fact.
I’m sorry to interrupt the discussion about who you should start at the flex position, but we all need to, on occasion, stop and take stock of what we are actually watching. I don’t mean to depress you. No, wait, I do. Because we all need to remember this compelling statistic.
Through two weeks of the NFL season, 15 percent of players have suffered injuries, according to thinkprogress.org. Fifteen percent.
I’ve talked to people around the sport and asked if this number is unusual or normal, and the answer I get is that it’s high. That fact coincides with data from last season, when there were slightly more than 1,300 injuries total.