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Chion Wolf

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the epidemic of injury in the game of football - concussions and traumatic brain injuries… but have you ever asked yourself why football helmets are designed the way they are? And how better helmet design might actually have made the game more dangerous? And while you’re at it, have you considered “the divine randomness of prolate spheroid?” That’s science talk for the unlikely evolution for the shape of the football.  

Nicholas Dawidoff's Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football may be the best book I've ever read about football. It is certainly the most detailed account of the players inside the helmets and the coaches obscured from an enthralled public by large, laminated playsheets.

In his first interview since the Miami Dolphins suspended him, Richie Incognito says his words to Jonathan Martin sound harsh, but that's not the way he meant them.

"My actions were coming from a place of love," he told Fox NFL Sunday. "No matter how bad and how vulgar it sounds, that's how we communicate, that's how our friendship was, and those are the facts and that's what I'm accountable for."

Genghis Smith / Wikimedia Commons

By the looks of things, you, the Connecticut Taxpayer, will soon own a failing tennis tournament. You already own a really bad college football program, and you recently agreed to pay a man $750,000 to stop coaching it

The NFL adopted a new rule this season that makes it illegal for players to hit with the crown of their helmet. In other words, ramming your head into someone.

Flickr Creative Commons, janie.hernandez55

At the heart of a new Frontline documentary is a simple question - does playing football expose you to life-threatening brain damage?

It's a question putting America's most popular sport on notice - raising concerns for moms, players' wives, and all of us who love football. Today we talk with Jim Gilmore, producer for Frontline's new documentary "A League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis."

When the Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls in the 1970s, you could argue that no one played a bigger role than Mike Webster. Webster was the Steelers' center, snapping the ball to the quarterback, then waging war in the trenches, slamming his body and helmet into defensive players to halt their rush.

He was a local hero, which is why the city was stunned when his life fell apart. He lost all his money, and his marriage, and ended up spending nights in the bus terminal in Pittsburgh. Webster died of a heart attack, and on Sept. 28, 2002, came the autopsy.

University of Connecticut

Paul Pasqualoni was fired earlier today as the University of Connecticut's head football coach. Offensive coordinator T.J. Weist will serve as the interim head coach for the rest of the season.

In may ways, the writing was on the wall for Pasqualoni. After two lackluster seasons, the Huskies are off to an 0-4 start, including a loss to division 1-AA Towson.

The Worldwide Leader in Cable

Aug 26, 2013
Tommy Gilligan/Pointer View (Flickr Creative Commons)

Concussions in football may be the biggest threat to America’s biggest game. For 15 months, ESPN teamed up with PBS’ Frontline for a film called “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis.”

About a month and a half before the film premieres, ESPN has announced they are pulling out of the project.

Harriet Jones

Athletes and concussion. There's barely a hotter topic in all levels of sports right now as more coaches and players start to recognize the long-term debilitating effects of repeated head trauma.

rich701 on Flickr Creative Commons

How insane does the world of sports uniforms get?

The Fall Of Aaron Hernandez And Off-Field Violence

Jun 27, 2013
Jeffrey Beall

In the modern NFL era, a position called tight end has risen to a new degree of importance. Tight ends are hybrid offensive players. The best ones are big, powerful, fearless and fleet of foot. They're able to a block huge a linebacker on a running play and, one play later, run a sharp, quick pass route.  Aaron Hernandez was one of the best.

Jeffrey Beall

In the modern NFL era, a position called tight end has risen to a new degree of importance. Tight ends are hybrid offensive players. The best ones are big, powerful, fearless and fleet of foot. They're able to a block huge a linebacker on a running play and, one play later, run a sharp, quick pass route.  Aaron Hernandez was one of the best.

Flickr Creative Commons, ensceptico

The person with the best take on the death of Christopher Hitchens would have to be Christopher Hitchens.

Here he is:

"The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more."

Courtesy of Joe Cahn

I was in the parking area next to Yale Bowl two Saturdays ago as word spread around the clumps of tailgaters that there had been a fatality in one of the lots. Details were sketchy, but everyone seemed to know that people had been hit by a motor vehicle. And for a lot of us, the shadow of that tragedy hung over the whole day. My son was with me, and he has a knack for summing things up. "Imagine dying because you decided to go to a football game," he said sadly.

gongus, wfyurasko, andrechinn, Flickr Creative Commons

Even though I deplore what he said about President Obama on Fox & Friends and even though he seems, in general, like kind of a deplorable person, I kinda wish everybody would reconsider the idea of dropping Hank Williams Jr. from Monday Night Football's opening. There's some ethos of excess and yahooism that Hank captures perfectly, and, really, here at NPR, we've learned some hard lessons abou tossing people named Williams aside just because they said something stupid on television.

Flickr Creative Commons, 104Muttons

What are we watching when we watch (and cheer about) a college game?

Historian Taylor Branch disputes the notion that we are watching a logical, natural outgrowth of the college's academic identity. If you're a student, are those your fellow students playing football? If you're an alumnus, are those people on the basketball court extensions of what you used to be?

Photo / Jayel Aheram via Creative Commons

WANTED: Point Guard. $70K/yr. Must work weekends. Student-athletes generate billions of revenue for universities and private companies while they earn nothing. Some who’ve been badly hurt don’t get the care and coverage they’d get with workers comp. Others see their scholarship canceled after a year and find themselves on the hook for expensive tuition if they want to go further. Others object the the use of their images on licensed products long after their scholarship expire. Atlantic and Taylor Branch tackled this in a feature last week.

ElvertBarnes, Flickr Creative Commons

I don't really know how anybody knows this, jut we're told that 19 million people play Fantasy Football and that businesses lose nine billion dollars in productivity to be obsessing about their teams and picks.

We're told that the business end of Fantasy Football -- not the money the players put in the pot but the huge industry of advertising supported sites that feed their obsessions -- is worth somewhere between one and four billion dollars.

Flickr Creative Commons, phrenzee

Today we'll be analyzing the commercials from last night's Super Bowl. Why? Because, as one writer for Salon.com put it, "We all accept the Super Bowl as less of a game than a pop culture nexus point -- a place where the American self-image asserts itself with familiar rituals ... while cautiously acknowledging the present and looking to the future. The Super Bowl's expansive and awkward mix of performers, images, products and messages is a spectacle of its own."

Flickr Creative Commons, daveynin

I've been a Packer's fan since I was about 14 years old.

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