A few years ago, during an interview, Dave Pear, a former defensive lineman with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, suddenly, without warning, grabbed me, his huge thumb and forefinger pinching my poor neck. It was only for a few seconds, but my knees started to buckle and the pain shot through me. Calmly then, Dave said, “That’s how I used to feel all day long.”
The point of that little episode is not just to show how painful football can be and how it can leave players like Dave Pear wounded for life. Does each of us need to suffer agony to understand how brutal our gridiron entertainment is? Surely, seeing is believing enough. So, what is football doing to us as a people? How do we explain an America that alone in the world so loves this savage sport?
Click the audio to hear Frank Deford’s full commentary on this issue.