Decades ago, this column lightheartedly called football a mistake because it combines two of the worst features of American life — violence, punctuated by committee meetings, which football calls huddles. Now, however, accumulating evidence about new understandings of the human body — the brain, especially, but not exclusively — compel the conclusion that football is a mistake because the body is not built to absorb, and cannot be adequately modified by training or protected by equipment to absorb, the game's kinetic energies.
After 18 people died playing football in 1905, even President Theodore Roosevelt, who loved war and gore generally, flinched and forced some rules changes. Today, however, the problem is not the rules; it is the fiction that football can be fixed and still resemble the game fans relish.
George Will's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jay Evensen's column will resume next week.
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