Part of the game in the NFL
THUMBS DOWN: Shame on you, National Football League. In an effort to protect its players, the NFL is considering suspending players for violent and malicious hits and blows to the head. Excuse us? Isn't that kind of part of the game? As the players will say, no one wants to see athletes get carted off the field wearing a stabilizer around their neck, but does the league really think it can prevent it from happening? As powerful as it is, the NFL can't change the laws of physics. When a receiver goes over the middle, jumps and is on his way back down to earth while a defensive back is heading in full steam to make a tackle - because that is, after all, what he gets paid millions of dollars to do - is that defensive back really expected to pull up and stop? The ironic thing is, the NFL sells the very malicious hits it's now trying to prevent. Employees of its own network - the NFL?Network - can hardly hold back their excitement when they see these big hits on film and show them over, and over, and over again. ESPN, a major promoter of the NFL, even used to have a "Jacked Up" segment on its highlight show, showing the previous weekend's most violent hits. The players themselves know what they've signed up for, they know big hits and big injuries are part of the game. This is the way they've been taught to play. Some hits might look worse than others and could result in serious injury, but that shouldn't lead anyone to assume that these defensive players really want to end someone's career. Sure, today's players are bigger, faster, and stronger, but that's exactly what the NFL wants - the biggest, fastest, and strongest players running around on the field for three hours. That's what the fans want. What's next, two-hand touch below the waist? The new helmets worn by players are designed with safety in mind - perhaps the NFL should take it a step further and make the helmets softer. C'mon, NFL, let 'em play.
Dipping into reserves
THUMBS?DOWN: In an effort to keep a proposed levy at a reasonable number, it looks like the Lincoln County Board will be turning to its reserves, estimating that taking $125,000 from reserves will keep the levy at around 6 percent as opposed to near 10. The thumbs down isn't for the decision itself, but for how that decision speaks to the condition rural counties are in financially. The three gubernatorial candidates all agree that cities and counties need help, whether through Local Government Aid or County Program Aid, but actually implementing a plan that will work is a pretty big next step.