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Titanic Voices: Brad Hopkins on 'The New NFL'

Posted Feb 4, 2013

Former Titans offensive lineman Brad Hopkins offers his personal opinions and perspective in "Titanic Voices."

Announcer: "It's opening day here at LP Field and we're set for another season of NFL action in 2023!"  Oh but the difference is this is the (N)ational (F)ederation of (L)acrosse!" 

That's right, concerns about safety and quality of life could affect families' decisions to let their youngsters participate in football as we know it today.

Today's greats will continue to leave the game to uncertain futures, their stories of chronic pain and debilitation becoming tomorrow's headlines. 

Being embroiled in litigation with the NFL over health issues could also contribute to the development someday of the, wait for it... the NFL.

Mom's meatloaf is but a prelim to debates that will be waged at dinner tables across America, "...is it safe for little Tyrone to play or will he not remember our GRANDKIDS when he's 45?" 

"Is it worth the risk?" 

What would YOU do for a million bucks?! (Wasn't that a game show?)

In my opinion, the culprits ARE the equipment manufacturers, but not why you would think.  They are guilty of making TOO good a product, lulling it's wearers into a false sense of security.  From air-helmets to 30-pound shoulder pads, today’s equipment gives the players a feeling of invincibility!

I would contend Red Grange and Doak Walker did not have concussion issues.  Equipment then could not secure the enamel on one’s tooth, let alone protect the brain.  But I would also argue players back then never led with their heads or launched themselves when making contact. 

Maybe a "goalie-type" helmet would suffice in football.  Not nearly as durable or protective as a football helmet, thus training players to perform differently.  

While the element of violence is tabled a bit in lacrosse, comparatively speaking there is fast-paced action in a slightly safer environment.

Now I'm not saying drop your pigskins and grab the nearest lacrosse stick, but as two "popular-options" the choices could become interesting in the future, especially if lacrosse can produce an endorsable league and players.

The naysayers will try and use the MLS' lack of popularity to torpedo the NFL.  The NBA came up with the "flop-rule" because they resembled soccer players!  Enough said. 

Either way, change is coming and it may or may not affect the NFL's product.  But imagining athletes like Usain Bolt and LeBron James clearing and leading the break during a lacrosse game would make Subway, Nike, Bridgestone and the likes drool all over themselves.

Let me be the first to propose the demolition of the Bellevue Mall for their future stadium sight!

Don't laugh folks the NFL could happen!  

A first-round draft pick by the Houston Oilers in 1993, Brad Hopkins established himself as one of the NFL’s most dominant offensive linemen from 1993-2005, starting 188 of 194 games with a pair of Pro Bowls. He blocked for franchise rushing leader Eddie George and helped the Titans make it to Super Bowl XXXIV in the 1999 season. You can follow him on Twitter at B_Hop72.

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