Arians hopes to convince mothers that football is safe to play

A generation ago, Bobby Boucher’s mother dubbed “foosball” the devil. Now, plenty of other moms believe the same thing.

And Cardinals coach Bruce Arians plans to do something about it.

Little more than two weeks after Arians dubbed parents who won’t let their kids play football as “fools,” Arians made a more direct plea toward undoing the damage that has been done to the hearts and minds of mothers based on reasonable concerns about the potential impact of head trauma.

We feel like this is our sport,” Arians said Friday at the Arizona Cardinals High School Football Coaches Clinic, via FOX Sports 910 in Phoenix. “It’s being attacked, and we got to stop it at the grass roots. It’s the best game that’s ever been f–king invented, and we got to make sure that moms get the message; because that’s who’s afraid of our game right now. It’s not dads, it’s moms.”

Moms are afraid of the game for good reason, even though thousands of moms have been afraid of football for decades. More and more knowledge and information regarding head injuries has created a level of fear that at times dances on the line that separates rational from irrational.

That said, more than a handful of high school players die every year due to injuries suffered while playing or practicing, which makes the worst fears realized by those parents anything but irrational. Still, as FOX’s Jay Glazer recently said on the Bill Simmons podcast, a mother recently brought her son to Glazer’s gym, explaining that she wanted her boy to take up MMA because she’s looking for a sport safer than football.

The bigger challenge continues to be making the game of football safer than it is. While some will focus only on the arguably cartoonish remarks from Arians about the “attack” on the sport, Arians also said things that speak directly to improvements football is trying to make.

“Our job is to make sure the game is safe, at all levels, the head really has no business being in the game,” Arians said. “There’s a lot of different teachers, but when I was taught how to tackle, and block, it was on a two-man sled, and you did it with your shoulder pads. That’s still the best way to do it. There’s really isn’t any place for your face in the game. I would beg all of you to continue to learn more about what they’re now calling rugby style tackling.”

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has been one of the leaders in this regard, and the sooner the method trickles down to lower levels of the sport, the better. Along with other ways to make the game safer by minimizing the involvement of the head.

“There are a lot of good innovations as far as sleds, and drill work. I just spoke at the University of Georgia clinic two weeks ago, and saw a moving dummy that you could tackle. I thought it was one of the best inventions I’ve ever seen.”

Other inventions and innovations are needed. Arians at one point bemoaned the fact that plenty of offensive linemen get to the NFL without ever playing in a three-point stance. Maybe, as Hall of Fame coach John Madden has previously argued, the alignment that encourages linemen to lead with their heads needs to disappear from the NFL, too.

UPDATE 3:28 p.m. ET: Earlier this hour, Arians posted the following message on Twitter. “Just to be clear about kids playing football, my point is that moms are often the ones making those decisions in a family. We have to make sure that they’re getting the message about everything being done to make the game as safe as possible. They’re the ones we have to influence. It’s a great game and it’s even greater when it’s played, coached and taught the right way. Everybody involved with the sport has a responsibility to make that happen.”

15 responses to “Arians hopes to convince mothers that football is safe to play

  1. Arians seem like a decent guy and certainly he loves football but not sure takin on the moms is a smart strategy

    Good luck with this one Bruce

  2. I don’t get why people care? When I have kids I will let them play football with or without changes. I hope without changes. Football was the most fun of all the sports I played in high school. There is no way I would rob my kids of the experience. In conclusion there will always be people willing to play football for money. The NFL should quit worrying about CTE.

  3. Better they play football than sit in front of the computer and die of obesity, diabetes etc etc. Better they are playing football than out on the street doing drugs or getting involved in gangs.

    But.. Your head is for thinking, not tackling. And if you get dizzy because of a knock on the head. Leave the game and don’t play for a week to let your brain heal up.

    Getting a concussion and then another one in the same game increases the risk of lasting effects on the brain exponentially. That was the big problem older players are paying for. Going back into the game after a concussion and getting concussed again.

  4. According to the CDC over 2100 teenagers were killed in car accidents involving a teen age driver in 2013. But football is the problem. In the same year, over 220,000 teenagers were treated in hospitals because of injuries suffered in car accidents when a teen is driving – same year. Football is a major problem.

    The reality is that head injuries should be taken seriously and proper blocking and tackling technique taught at young ages and enforced in high school and beyond will go a long way to keeping football safer than teen driving which moat parents allow on an almost daily basis with less concern.

  5. 1 you cannot take a week off for your brain to heal. Your brain never heals from a concussion. I feel it’s a personal decision on a parents part. As long as there are full ride scholarships out there parents will let their kids play football Nya entonsay though, Arians is barking up the wrong tree here in an attempt to change the minds of Moms that do not want their sons to play football.

  6. This sounds so sexist.. Moms are afraid of football but dads aren’t? Playing football should be a concern of any parent because of head injury risk. You can’t just scream about how its the best game ever and make very legitimate and serious concerns over safety to the players go away.

  7. Maybe Arians has taken a few too many to the head. After everything that’s come out about CTE and concussions in general it’s ludicrous to promote this sport as safe to mothers of kids contemplating playing the sport. Hell, even pros are retiring early because they know just how violent football really is. To try to downplay that is irresponsible on Arians’ part.

  8. “a mother recently brought her son to Glazer’s gym, explaining that she wanted her boy to take up MMA because she’s looking for a sport safer than football.”

    Arians should use her as the poster mom for mom’s who don’t know what they’re talking about.

    I believe football is dangerous, but if this is where most mom’s are taking their kids for safety, then maybe Arians has a pretty good point about moms not really knowing anything.

  9. At this point I can’t believe anyone questions that multiple blows to the head causes CTE which causes early death and brain damage. It is exaggerated for young kids. I love watching football but there is no way my sons are going to play, there are plenty of other sports. If grown men want to take a chance on dying or doing irreversible damage to their brain they can have at it. The NFL, as a corporation, could care less about the players unless it starts affecting their bottom line.

    Arians is an idiot if he thinks only moms are worried about the potential damage football can cause.

  10. torebear says:
    Apr 10, 2016 5:57 PM
    Better they play football than sit in front of the computer and die of obesity, diabetes etc etc. Better they are playing football than out on the street doing drugs or getting involved in gangs.

    But.. Your head is for thinking, not tackling. And if you get dizzy because of a knock on the head. Leave the game and don’t play for a week to let your brain heal up.

    Getting a concussion and then another one in the same game increases the risk of lasting effects on the brain exponentially. That was the big problem older players are paying for. Going back into the game after a concussion and getting concussed again.
    ________________

    Your brain does not just “heal up” in a week after a concussion. A concussion causes bruises and tears. As it repairs, it produces scarring. I suppose you could call that healing. Much the way your skin heals after a cut, producing a scar. However, the skin simply needs to heal enough to fulfill it’s job as a barrier. It has no responsibilities for movement, thought, judgement, or autonomic regulation. If the outside of the body looked like the inside, there would be little debate on the effects. It would be like those photo records of the degeneration of people using meth over time.

    And sitting in front of a computer, dying of obesity and diabetes or being out on the street involved in drugs or gangs are not the only alternatives to football. There are many choices. Football is a beloved sport. It comes with very real risks and they should not be minimized. And wherever you come down on this issue, there is no wrong position except the one that judges someone else’s position as wrong. Mothers aren’t the problem and nobody needs to “make sure they get the message”.

  11. Football is just like any other HIGH risk Job/Hobby, you will always have thrill seekers (even more so due to money) that thrive on edgy and dangerous activities. I would guarantee Americans would still play Football, even for free, most males are hardwired for thrill. Do not believe me? Look at the Navy Seals (all volunteers ) and the job they do compared to pay of NFL player. The Navy Seals are never in need of recruits…reason? men love thrill and danger…

  12. want to make a primary and lasting change to the game?

    want to make it healthier and safer?

    want to lessen the number and severity of impacts in each contest?

    simple…

    1. take out ALL blocking above the chest and below the knees

    2. eliminate any and all plays/techniques that deliberately involve or lead with the head (referee’s discretion);

    3. bring in more female referees oil they comprise at least 40% of the total number of refs;

    4. MOST IMPORTANTLY, WIDEN AND LENGTHEN ALL FIELD, PRACTICE AND GAME;

    the latter is the most important, as it virtually eliminates 340 lb. behemoths by dint of the need of higher cardiovascular conditioning while reducing the severity of separate impacts since the current level of physical force brought to bear in those collisions simply cannot be maintained over 30-50 yards that can be brought over 10-20 yards;

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