Many times in professional sports, specifically in football, you'll hear that the old timers were much tougher and the newer players have it much easier, in terms of being hit or tackled. So one might be surprised to hear legendary quarterback Joe Namath talk about football being a hard game to play, especially for kids.
In fact, Broadway Joe said that he understands why some parents don't want their children to play. "I can't blame them. I can't blame them," said Namath, in an interview with the Associated Press. "If it was my boy or my daughter, I wouldn't like to see them run into people."
Over the past few years, the NFL has tried to step up its efforts to protect its current players, and there's been a re-shifted focus on playing the game safer to avoid a host of long-lasting head injuries. And the league's commissioner, Roger Goodell, said the NFL is focusing on better ways to tackle for its players, and hopes the safer methods will trickle down to youth football and ultimately change the entire culture of defensive play.
And Goodell says that everyone should start tackling with their shoulder and not their head. The technique is called "Heads Up" football. "We want them getting back to using the shoulder," said Goodell. "You're supposed to use the shoulder. You're not supposed to use the head."
Namath said he feels bad that a lot of the old timers weren't taught this technique, and he's thankful that his current injuries aren't more severe. "I am so sound," he said. "I pray, I hope to God that people that weren't dealt a full deck from the get go feel better getting healthy. What I have is nothing, man, nothing that is going to put me away or send on."
Plus, the former Jets quarterback said he loves what the NFL is doing for its current players when it comes to safety, and he thinks it'll eventually make a huge difference in the game.
"The NFL is doing everything they can to make it a safer game," he stated. "However, Americans and people around the world love American football because it is a game of contact. The good news about it today, the last few years is we're teaching better techniques. We are making the game safer for everyone who wants to play."
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