Giants owner John Mara nodded along last week when NFL senior vice president for health and safety Jeff Miller acknowledged a link between repeated concussions and CTE.
And while he admitted it was a concern, Mara said he didn’t view that admission during a congressional hearing as a bombshell.
“I don’t think what he said was anything new,” Mara said, stopping for a group of reporters at the owners meetings in Boca Raton, Fla.
But while he might not have thought the admission was the smoking gun some viewed it as, he did admit alarm at the fact there were 271 reported concussions last year compared to 206 the year before.
“I think it’s the number one issue we have as a league,” he said. “This year was a setback. Hopefully it’s a one year aberration.”
Mara said the league’s competition committee looked at nearly every concussion from last year (other than ones which were hard to pin down, such as offensive linemen who take multiple shots during the course of play). And he talked about the lengths the league was going to to try to make the game safer, from equipment improvements to trying to incentivize teams taking touchbacks to the 25 to eliminate kickoff returns.
But it’s clear last year’s spike in concussions after a positive trend had him worried, as it probably should.