College Football

Lane Kiffin – Mr Incompetent

kiffinThis world has a very weird way of rewarding hard work sometimes, and you can often see the most undeserving people with the most gratifying jobs. In this case, I am referring to the one and only Lane Kiffin.

Kiffin was fortunate to be born into a big football family, with his dad being a long time defensive coordinator in the National Football League. For some reason, people felt that these were enough credentials to give him big time coaching jobs.

He spent a lot of his early coaching career as an assistant coach so its hard to really discuss his success there but his last 3 coaching jobs were as a head coach for the Oakland Raiders, University of Tennesse, and the University of Southern California.

The Oakland Raiders hired him in 2007, making him the youngest head coach in the NFL. Al Davis thought he was hiring some football genius who would turn around his football team. Instead he hired a coach that went 5-15 in a season and a bit. Not surprisingly he was fired but many thought that maybe he wasn’t an NFL coach but more of a college football coach.

In 2009 he was hired by the Tennessee volunteers and ended the season with a 7-6 record. A very impressive record for such a strong football program like Tennessee’s!!!! For some reason though, the University of Southern California was so impressed with his coaching abilities that they decided to hire him for their football team.

In his 4 years in USC he went 28-15, which is not good enough for a program of that caliber. In 2012, USC was ranked #1 in the country going into the season, but Lane Kiffin managed to lead his team to a 7-6 record. Everyone in the country believed that he had the most talented team in the entire country, but he somehow manages to lose almost half his games. 2013, was when everything finally fell apart. After a 62-41 loss to Arizona State, USC had seen enough from Lane Kiffin.

After his tenure in Southern California ended, I thought that maybe people would finally realize that Lane Kiffin was not the coach that many thought he was. But today, I read that Nick Saban invited Kiffin to Alabama to discuss “football”. Why would the most successful coach in college football want to hear from this clown? What has Lane Kiffin ever done that would make Saban feel like he has some great ideas.

Maybe Saban is just inviting him to have a good laugh and listen to Kiffin’s nonsense. I just hope I don’t see Kiffin with a head coaching job any time soon.

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NFL

Less Head Injuries but more Knee Injuries? Is this what the NFL wants?

Over the last few years, the NFL has been fining players almost every week for high tackles. They have become increasingly worried about player concussions and the long-term effects that these cause. The league started fining players with the belief that they would protect defenseless receivers from defenders that were flying in with their helmets.

Playing by the Rules

Rob Gronkowski wheeled off after receiving a knee injury.This past week in New England, Rob Gronkowski suffered a season ending knee injury from a low tackle by Browns’ TJ Ward. Ward’s hit was legal and had no malicious intents but was an indirect result of the NFL’s strict policies. After the game, Ward said:

“My intention is never to hurt anyone. That’s not what this game is about. That’s not how I play. I hate to see guys go down with any kind of injury. I just wanted him to know, whether he accepted it or not, it wasn’t an intentional hit. We have to play this game. We have to play the way they force us to.”

Concussions have been very well documented over recent years as many researchers have tried to show the long-term effects of concussions and the struggle of retired players. The NFL also recently reached a $756 million settlement with the NFLPA in a concussion lawsuit. Its pretty clear that the NFL are actively trying to eliminate any possibility of concussions occurring during a game.

This aggressive approach that the NFL has taken, has replaced concussions with serious knee injuries. Ask most players and they will tell you that they would rather miss 2 games because of a concussion rather than miss an entire season because of a torn ACL. Many players can recover after having multiple concussions and continue to have a productive career, but recovering from two or more knee injuries is a different question. Some players can’t even recover from one torn ACL.

Earlier this season, Rodney Harrison had a few words to say about this.

“As a player you have a warrior mentality” Harrison said. “Players would rather take a shot high. I get hit in the head and I miss a game or two. But if you take out my knees, my career is done”.

The Players’ Responsibility

Another one of my biggest issues with the NFL’s approach towards preventing concussions is their focus on defenders. Many offensive players lead with their head just as much as some defenders but they get away with it all the time. But, what really bothers me is that many players who have a serious history of concussions continue to play football despite doctors advising them not to.

Defenders will continue to be the targets of extravagant NFL fines. Austin Collie is a young and talented Wide Receiver who has seen his career impacted by very serious concussions. Since being in the league, he has experienced 3 concussions, one that left him motionless for 10 minutes. Many doctors have told him that it might be time to walk away from the game even though that’s not what his heart is telling him. The NFL is trying to make rules to protect players from concussions but concussions will always remain a big part of the game which is why players need to protect themselves too. It is for players to know when its time to walk away from the game instead of pointing the finger at the NFL once its too late. If Collie gets a few more concussions and has serious brain trauma later in his life, is the NFL to blame? Unfortunately, retired players suffering from brain trauma are causing the NFL to take this approach.

The NFL is protecting players from concussions, but are players protecting themselves?

Will low hits become a bigger part of the game as the NFL keeps fining players for high hits?

Will we see players’ careers being ended by low hits to the knee?

Player safety is one the main focuses of the league, but the NFL’s current approach has worsened the problem and better policies will need to be introduced. Hits like the one Gronkowski took this past weekend, will make the NFL take another look at the rule book.

One thing for sure, is that no one wants to see these season/career ending knee injuries on a weekly basis.

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