This week was an interesting test case for the NFL in this era of increased scrutiny and public skepticism. The league news was mostly clear of the kinds of self-inflicted embarrassments and setbacks that have become so routine during the Roger Goodell era. For the first time in what seems like a long time, the NFL stayed out of its own way, and football was the story.
And, inevitably, sobering reminders of the sheer destructive violence of football edged into the spotlight. Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly’s terrifying injury, confirmed now as his second concussion in two seasons, drew enough attention to overshadow another NFL player reportedly suffering a punctured lung in a game, probably during a particularly hard, clean tackle. A punctured lung is the more uncommon injury and sounds more brutal, but the visual of a person in a state of obvious panic is a hard one to ignore or forget. Either way, these are the kinds of things that are happening to the bodies of the people playing the game, and no part of the NFL getting its house in order is likely to change that.