A week after watching its MVP take at least four shots to the head in the second half of the opener (three unflagged and one negated by intentional grounding), the NFL wants to do something about concussions.
Specifically, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, they want to throw $100 million at the problem.
The league’s newest initiative will devote $60 million to technological development (build a better helmet), and $40 million toward funding medical research into the effects of head injuries.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the $100 million “builds on what we’ve done the last few years but it takes it to another level in a variety of areas. … It’s all about protecting our players. … We’ve seen some very positive things. But we’re not satisfied. We’re not comfortable. There are still things for us to do to make our game safer for our players and make it better for our players, and that’s what we’re gonna do.”
Cam Newton would have taken a few flags being thrown, after he took repeated shots during last week’s season-opening spectacle (which was about a thumb and a lion from being a different kind of spectacle).
Goodell has acknowledged officials missed “at least one” penalty, and the league is looking at whether the Panthers followed the league’s concussion protocol.
They’re calling their new shiny object “Play Smart. Play Safe” and Goodell said the NFL needs to do a better job explaining itself in these situations.
“All of this is important work,” Goodell said. “But we recognize it hasn’t always been clear how connected these initiatives are to player health and safety. Moving forward, we will do a better job explaining all of these changes and the reasons behind them to our players and our fans.”
And acknowledging the potential for skepticism (sorry, cough, dog hair in the coffee, I’ll be OK), Goodell promised “an independent scientific advisory board of doctors, scientists, and clinicians” to research the long-term effects of brain injuries.
(After their independent investigation of Tom Brady, the greater New England branch of his business will be particularly skeptical.)
He also offered that possible rule changes could be in the offing. Cam Newton would have been happy with just calling the ones on the books, so future opponents don’t target his head the way the Broncos did.